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AT&T National Preview
by Matt Fargo - 06/29/2010
This is one of those rare regular rotation tournaments that is being played on a different course. The AT&T National was played at Congressional Country Club the first three years but it has been moved to Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, PA due to Congressional going through renovations for next year’s U.S. Open. Aronimink has hosted several events but none since the 2003 Senior PGA Championship.
Aronimink is a Donald Ross design and with that comes a lot false fronts and subtle undulations on the greens. The track was lengthened from 6,955 to 7,237 to accommodate the PGA and that length should only add to the difficulty. That will mostly come from dangerous hazards around the greens. It is a par 70 layout that has only two par fives, one being 605 yards while featuring some very lengthy par fours.
You would think length off the tee would be the biggest asset but it is actually not a huge deal to be able to pound the ball. This is more about hitting greens and keeping the ball on the greens as those false fronts can cause havoc. If it is a case of nothing holding, scrambling is priority because birdies are likely going to be scarce throughout the week so pars will be good scores. The best news is that the weather looks perfect all week.
The field is far from great with only three players from the top ten in play this week but it always makes for good television because Tiger Woods is one of those. He used to be the host of this event, which pays tribute to the military throughout the holiday weekend, but he relinquished that title. Most of the European players opted to play the French Open this week, which is followed by the Scottish Open and then the Open Championship.
Tiger Woods (+350) is the favorite which is no surprise for the number one player in the world to be the top choice despite his year long struggles and inability to win. He is the defending champion at the AT&T after winning in 2009 by a shot over Hunter Mahan but we cannot forget however that the course was different and this will be his first look at Aronimink like everyone else.
There is some good value on Jim Furyk (+1200). First, he is playing exceptional this season with four top tens in 10 made cuts including two wins. He has finished in the top ten in all three years of the AT&T and while that means little with the track change, it is being moved to a few miles from his hometown. He has never won in his home state but this is a golden opportunity to change that. He is 10th on tour in scrambling.
Sean O’Hair (+2500) is one of the few players that actually does have experience at Aronimink. It was over 10 years ago at the U.S. Junior Amateur when he first played here but having recently moved to the area, he has been a member here the last two years. He has missed just three cuts this season in stroke play and is coming off consecutive T12 finishes at the Memorial and U.S. Open.
After a week off, Ben Crane (+3000) returns to try and start a new streak. Prior to the U.S. Open missed cut, he had posted four straight top 12 finishes including three in the top seven. He has a victory already this season and heading into Pebble, he was playing some of the best golf around so his performance there was surprising. He is eighth in putting and 28th in scrambling on tour this year.
Ryan Moore (+3000) is not a household name but he will be sooner than later. He has missed just three cuts in 14 medal play events and after missing the cut at the Colonial, he has cashed in three straight events including a T5 at the Memorial and a T13 last week at the Travelers. He is not a great scrambler but (51st) but he makes up for it in ball striking and total driving, eighth and second respectively.
With the inexperience at Aronimink by most everyone, looking at the stats becomes more important and that holds true for Fredrik Jacobson (+5000). He is having a strong season with only one missed cut in 14 starts and despite not winning, he has finished second, T6 and T10 so he has been in the hunt. He is a great iron player and most important, he is third on tour in scrambling.
Brian Gay (+6000) is considered a longshot but he has the game to succeed here. He has missed the cut in his last two events and of the six missed cuts this season, three came at the three big ones (Masters, PLAYERS, U.S. Open). He has two top tens this season including a T2 at the Nelson. He ranks fifth on tour in putting and fourth in scrambling and a successful combo of those two could spell an upset victory.
Recommended Tournament Win Six Pack at the AT&T National – All for 1 Unit
Jim Furyk (+1200)
Sean O’Hair (+2500)
Ben Crane (+3000)
Ryan Moore (+3000)
Fredrik Jacobson (+5000)
Brian Gay (+6000)