PGA Golf 2012 AT&T National
Congressional Country Club (Blue Course) – Bethesda, Maryland
Par 71 – 7,529 yards
Thursday, June 28 – Sunday, July 1, 2012, TV: Golf Channel, CBS
Defending Champion: Nick Watney
All Odds courtesy of Bookmaker
The past two seasons, the AT&T National had to move to Philadelphia because Congressional was hosting the US Open in 2011. Also, Tiger Woods didn’t even play in the event he hosts every Fourth of July weekend due to injury. Tiger is healthy and the tournament returns to Congressional for the first time since 2009.
Last year, Rory McIlroy destroyed Congressional en route to his first major title at the US Open shooting -16. McIlroy is playing in the Irish Open this week. Nineteen other players also shot under par at the Open last year. During practice rounds this year, the course has played more difficult than it did last year during the Open. The greens are very firm and fast, and expected to be even more so by the end of the weekend with temps expected to be in the 90’s. The course officials have also narrowed the fairways by adding more rough.
The field includes 9 players who have won this season, 3 former winners of this event, and 11 former major winners. Tiger Woods fits into all three categories and is the biggest name in the tournament that he hosts. Here is a look at the favorites and contenders for the AT&T National and some head to head match-ups with odds courtesy of bookmaker.
Tiger Woods (21/4)
Two weeks ago, Tiger was tied for the lead after 36 holes at the US Open. He faded on the weekend at the brutal Olympic Club, and ended up tied for 21st. Tiger has won 2 tournaments this year though, and is fourth in the FedEx standings. Tiger is second in greens in regulation and the all-around He won this tournament in 2009 the last time it was held at Congressional. Tiger missed the Open last year with an injury. Tiger is a significant favorite to beat Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, and Jim Furyk. Tiger should win, if he plays his game. However, that is the problem, you never know what he will do from week to week, especially with the putter.
Hunter Mahan (11/1)
Mahan has won twice this year, and is third in the FedEx Standings. He tied for 11th last week at the Travelers despite shooting a 61 in the final round. Mahan has done well at this course with top 12’s from 2007-2009. He did miss the cut at the US Open here last year. He is fourth in GIR. Mahan is +135 to beat Tiger, and -130 against Dustin Johnson. I like him against Johnson.
Dustin Johnson (25/2)
Johnson missed 11 weeks with a back injury. He had a top 20 at the Memorial and won in Memphis the following week in the FedEx St Jude’s. He missed the cut on the number at the US Open. Johnson is 14th in the all-around. Johnson is +155 against Tiger, and Even against Mahan.
Jim Furyk (27/2)
Furyk was leading the US Open with 3 holes to play, but he faded with some late bogeys. Furyk ended tied for fourth behind the winner Webb Simpson. He has 7 top 15’s in his last 9 starts, including 2 fourths or better in the last 3. Furyk finished 7th or better in the three times the tournament was held at Congressional. He is 22nd in GIR. Furyk is +120 against Woods and -135 against Adam Scott. I like him against Scott.
Adam Scott (29/2)
Scott has only played 8 PGA events this year. He has one top 10, and 5 top 25’s. He has finished 15th or better at the Masters, the Players, and the US Open. He missed the cut at Congressional in last year’s US Open, and in the 2007 AT&T in his only times playing the course. Scott tied for third in this event when it was played in Philly. Scott is +105 against Furyk and -130 against Bo Van Pelt.
Bo Van Pelt (15/1)
Van Pelt has 5 top 10’s this season. He has 4 top 25’s in his last5 starts, and 9 on the year. However, he hasn’t finished higher than 4th this year though. Van Pelt is in the top 5 in total driving and strokes gained putting. He had a top 15 here at the US Open last year. I like Van Pelt at even money to beat Scott.
Jason Day (35/2)
Day hasn’t really been consistent this season with only 2 top tens and 5 top 25’s in 10 starts this season. He is also expecting his first child that could come any time as the due date is July 11, so that could be a distraction as well. He finished a distant second to McIlroy last year in the US Open, but lost by 8 strokes. Day is +115 against Van Pelt and and -140 against Ryan Moore. I like him against Moore.
Ryan Palmer (37/2)
Palmer has 4 top 10’s in his last 5 starts, including the last 3. He has top 25’s in his last 2 Congressional starts. Palmer could be a nice dark horse as well as he has been playing. I like Palmer at -175 to beat Robert Garrigus.
K.J. Choi (20/1)
Choi is one of three former winners of this event in the field, along with Woods and last year’s champ Nick Watney. Choi won here in 2007 in the first AT&T National. He had top 20’s at the Memorial and US Open to break a string of 7 straight 30th or worst finishes. He has 4 top 25’s this season. He does well at tough courses like Congressional. Choi is -105 against Watney. I like Choi in that match-up.
Nick Watney (45/2)
Watney won this event last year but on a different course and in a different city. He tied with Tiger for 21st at the US Open two weeks ago. The highlight of his tournament was a double eagle on the par 5 17th at Olympic.