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AT&T National Preview
by Matt Fargo - 07/01/2009
The tour heads to Bethesda, MD and Congressional Country Club for the AT&T National which is hosted by none other than Tiger Woods. Tiger missed his own tournament last season because of the knee surgery that sidelined him for nearly 10 months. He is back and is the big favorite this week in what is a healthy but not overly impressive field. Only four of the OWGR Top Ten players are in action with Paul Casey (3), Vijay Singh (9) and Jim Furyk (10) joining Tiger.
Congressional, a 7,255-yard Devereut Emmet designed layout, has hosted three Majors with the last being the 1997 U.S. Open. It is also the site for the 2011 U.S. Open but there is one big change that has taken place since the last Major took place here. At the time, Congressional became the first U.S. Open course to finish with a par three and it will likely be the last as the USGA brought in Rees Jones to redesign the layout and the finishing hole is now a 466-yard par four, formerly the 17th hole.
There are 13 past Majors winners in the field including 2009 U.S. Open Winner Lucas Glover (+4000) who is making his second straight start following his championship. He is coming off an impressive T-11 at the Travelers Championship which is notable considering the tiring week he had leading up to the Thursday start. He tied for 54th last year at the AT&T following a T-12 in 2007 so with his current momentum, he cannot be counted out.
Woods (+175) is making his first start since Bethpage and his first start at the AT&T since 2007 when he finished T-6. He tied for 19th at the 1997 U.S. Open so he has played the course well in the two times he has been in an event here. He has not teed it up much this season due to his rehab but when he plays, he has not been far out. He has two wins this season and in seven stroke play events, he has placed in the top ten in all seven. We will see more of the same come Sunday.
Defending AT&T National Champion Anthony Kim (+2000) is starting to finally look like the player that won twice and had six official top three finishes in 2008. There was talk about his current work ethic regressing as he was known to be lackadaisical in the past but those rumors have been put to rest for the time being. He tied for 16th at the U.S. Open and had a T-11 at the Travelers last week so things seem to be turning around after not having a top 25 since the Masters.
One player to keep an eye on who seems to be around all the time is Hunter Mahan (+1500). He has yet to break through this season but he has four top ten finishes and his recent form bodes well. His last six tournaments have seen results of T-72, T-45, T-27, T-14, T-6 and T-4 so you can see the trend that is taking place. He seems to like the course as he finished T-8 in 2007 and T-12 in 2008 in the first two years of this tournament at Congressional.
If looking for a sleeper, look no further than K.J. Choi (+5000). He has only one top ten finish this season and that was way back in February at the Northern Trust open when he finished T-3. He went on a miserable run of four missed cuts in five events and then finished T-71 at The Players. He took a month off to regroup and came back with a solid 13th place finish at the Memorial before a T-47 at the U.S. Open. Choi won this even in 2007 prior to his T-49 last year.
Recommended plays for the AT&T National
Hunter Mahan (+1500) 2 Units
Tiger Woods (+175) 2 Units
K.J. Choi (+5000) Â½ Unit
A win by Mahan or Choi will return close to the same amount while a Woods victory works as the safety valve.