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The PGA Tour’s AT&T National returns to its intended home this year after a two year hiatus due to the U.S. Open being played at the venue last year. That means two things… 1) we can throw out the results of the last two years’ events since they were in a completely different location and 2) looking at the results of the 2011 U.S. Open will give us an idea of what players in the field this week performed well at the newly redesigned Congressional in the most recent Tour event there. This event was held at Congressional from 2007-2009 so there is some history to research there, as well. At over 7500 yards, Congressional is a monster at par 71 so long players do have an advantage at the outset. However, even though the rough will not be groomed to U.S. Open conditions, missing fairways at Congressional will destroy any player’s chances of winning the title. Once again, much like U.S. Open week, total driving on a course like this is key… the combination of driving distance and accuracy. The Stimpmeter won’t be as quick as the Open but they are still difficult greens to putt so poor putters will struggle to score, as well.
1. Hunter Mahan (12/1) – Mahan holds the course record at Congressional (62) which he set the last time this event was held there in 2009. He was the runner up to Tiger Woods that year. Oh, and he just shot a 61 on Sunday at the Travelers… he’s got a great chance to win his third tournament of 2012.
2. Tiger Woods (6/1) – Even though Tiger couldn’t hold it together on the weekend at Olympic, he still held the 36 hole lead and comes into this week with a lot of confidence. He is the tournament’s host and was the champion here in 2009.
3. Jim Furyk (16/1) – In the three years this tournament was held at Congressional, Furyk finished 3rd, 3rd, and 7th. Combine that with his recent strong play at Colonial (4th), the Memorial (13th) and the U.S. Open (4th) and it promises to be a good week for the veteran.
4. Dustin Johnson (13/1) – In my St. Jude Classic preview I said I had a hunch Johnson was on the verge of contending every event and he went out and won that week. Then he missed the cut at Olympic because he couldn’t keep the ball in the fairway. I’m betting he worked on that over the past week and will be back in contention at Congressional.