This is one of those rare weeks for a non-major that serves more as a lesson than a funnel for previous knowledge. Despite Congressional Country Club hosting the AT&T National from 2007-2009 as well as the 2011 U.S. Open, too many dynamics have changed to place any measure of weight on results already recorded. Certainly, course knowledge and comfort rests with golfers making return trips, but those are intangibles largely free of quantification.
After 2009, the greens were completely replaced with bentgrass. Since the U.S. Open, the grass has had time to mature, and firm and fast conditions are fully expected this week. Congressional is scheduled to host the AT&T National through 2014. Therefore, approach proactively, using what we learn this week as a springboard for preparing for the future.
I earned my third badge in PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook for a 5-0-0 week at the Travelers Championship. It bumped my overall record to 54-44-2 with 116 points. Chris Stolle (3-2-0) still sits atop the overall leaderboard with 134. He holds a two-point margin over a trio in pursuit.
My picks for the AT&T National:
Power Rankings Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)
Group A ... Jim Furyk (1); K.J. Choi (5); Rory Sabbatini (7); Nick Watney (8)
Sleepers Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)
Group A ... none
On a Roll (Yahoo! Group)
Marc Leishman (B) ... Stormed from behind in the 14th-to-last pairing at TPC River Highlands with a bogey-free 62 to clinch his first PGA TOUR victory on Sunday. As a rule in fantasy golf, you're going to want to lay off at Congressional due to an expected letdown. The Aussie has trended toward a win since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2009, and he's been a fine complement to any roster, just give him a little time to settle into his new life as a winner.
|Rob's Yahoo! lineup|
Charley Hoffman (B) ... Acknowledged a failure to execute and control his tempo on his final two holes at TPC River Highlands, settling for a share of second place. He ranked T10 at the Travelers in greens in regulation and co-led the field in birdies (24). He's 4-for-4 at Congressional (including the 2011 U.S. Open) and also recently placed T13 at Colonial.
Seung-yul Noh (C) ... Survived eight straight cuts, posting four top 20s during the stretch including in his last two starts. The rookie has carded seven sub-70 rounds in his last eight. Ranks 37th on TOUR in total driving, 53rd in greens hit and 60th in Strokes Gained-Putting. Also finished T30 at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.
Brendon de Jonge (B) ... Fresh off a T8 at the Travelers, his best finish of the year. It extended his consecutive cuts made streak to 10, three of the last seven of which have gone for top 20s. Ranks 15th on TOUR in greens hit.
Horses for Courses (Yahoo! Group)
Adam Scott (A) ... Given his limited schedule, there's always reason to pause before hopping aboard. However, even though he missed the cut at Congressional way back in 2007 and at last year's U.S. Open, his long-term results force our hand. Since his MC here in 2011, he's 18-for-19 in stroke-play events worldwide with 13 top 15s. Fully endorsed for Yahoo! gamers.
Pat Perez (C) ... While he has just one top 10 this year, fantasy gamers have lapped up a total of eight top 25s including in his last start at the Memorial. Congressional has treated him well as he's recorded a pair of top 15s in three appearances. Thoroughly consistent and above average from tee to green. Worthy of a spot in Yahoo! lineups.
Robert Garrigus (A) ... In four starts at Congressional, including the 2011 U.S. Open when he shared third place, he hasn't finished worse than T30 (2007). He's still more valuable in long-term formats, but he's sniped three top 10s this year and ranks 15th in greens in regulation.
Rod Pampling (C) ... Placed inside the top 20 in each of the first three editions of the AT&T National at Congressional. However, with all of the modifications to the track and his recent play -- zero top 25s among five cuts made in his last 10 starts -- Yahoo! gamers are advised to invest elsewhere.
Robert Allenby (B) ... It's been a long time since he connected top 10s at the AT&T National in 2007-2008. And despite only three top 25s this season, two are top 10s -- a playoff loss at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and a T7 in Memphis just three weeks ago. Ball-strikers like the Aussie should fare well at Congressional this week, but he'll need an increasingly rare solid performance on the greens where he has always struggled. He arrives ranked 173rd in Strokes Gained-Putting.
Leaking Oil (Yahoo! Group)
Kyle Stanley (A) ... Still trying to find his way since the conclusion of the West Coast Swing. In his last 13 starts, he's made just five cuts, with nothing better than a T49 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. En route to a T60 at the Travelers, of the 70 that completed four rounds, he ranked last in Strokes Gained-Putting.
Bud Cauley (C) ... A missed cut at TPC River Highlands extended a dry spell during which his only cut made in five starts was a T52 at the Memorial.
Hunter Haas (B) ... He's missed three straight cuts and hasn't placed inside the top 55 in his last six starts overall.
Kris Blanks (B) ... Only one top 25 among 10 cuts made in 20 starts this year. In his last seven, he's missed four cuts and withdrawn once (St. Jude).
Matt Bettencourt (C) ... Zero cuts made in his last eight starts. His actual scoring average over that stretch is 74.93.
Michael Bradley (B) ... He's missed his last four cuts and hasn't posted a top 30 in a full-field event since October.
Ryuji Imada (B) ... He's missed 12 of 17 cuts and hasn't posted a top 50 all season.
Mark Anderson (B) ... Since a run of eight consecutive cuts made, the PGA TOUR rookie has missed his last five.
Danger (Yahoo! Group)
Steve Marino (B) ... Missed the cut on the number at the Travelers Championship. Still enduring expected inconsistency after sitting out for four months to allow his knee to heal.
Y.E. Yang (A) ... Tied for third at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional but he hasn't posted a top 25 in 13 stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR this season. Ranks 176th in greens in regulation at 57.78 percent. That's over eight points lower than 2009 when he won twice.
Sang-moon Bae (C) ... Since losing in a playoff at the Transitions Championship, he's gone 4-for-10 worldwide with one top-35 finish (T20, Ballantine's Championship). Recently bothered by a sore shoulder.
Medic! (Yahoo! Group)
Darren Clarke (C) ... Scheduled to compete at The Irish Open on the European Tour. Since missing the cut at the BMW PGA Championship, he's rested due to a groin injury.
Notable WDs (Yahoo! Group)
Matt Every (C) ... Withdrew on Tuesday. Since falling short of the playoff at the U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Columbus, Ohio on June 4, he's withdrawn early from all three of his commitments.
Scott Stallings (B) ... His blog cites that he learned that he has two herniated discs. Hoping to defend at next week's Greenbrier Classic, but as his blog added, "At this point we aren't sure."
Colt Knost (C) ... He's missed his last seven cuts and had taken just one week off in the last 11 (St. Jude).
Jonas Blixt (B) ... Withdrew prior to the commitment deadline due to a rib injury that is expected to keep him sidelined until after the British Open.