Past AT&T champs meet in return to Congressional

June 27, 2012
Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Tee times
Nick Watney, Tiger Woods, K.J. Choi Rd. 1: 12:50 p.m. ET (1st tee) Rd. 2: 7:50 a.m. ET (10th tee)

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BETHESDA, Md. -- In some ways, Tiger Woods is the defending champion here at the AT&T National, where he was the last player to win the last time the tournament was played at Congressional in 2009.

After a two-year hiatus -- while the course underwent preparations for last year's U.S. Open -- the AT&T National is back in suburban Washington, D.C.

Woods, whose foundation runs the event, has some familiar playing partners, too. K.J. Choi won the AT&T National in 2007, while Nick Watney won last year when it was played at Aronimink Golf Club just outside Philadelphia.

While Choi and Watney have struggled this season -- Watney has two top 10s and Choi just one -- Woods has won twice with victories at Bay Hill and Muirfield Village.

Woods, however, did struggle on the weekend at the U.S. Open, where he led after 36 holes but finished in a tie for 21st.

"I didn't particularly chip or putt well that week," Woods said. "I played very conservative. My game plan worked for the first couple days. I was playing away from a lot of flags, lag putting, but I didn't make anything. I need to hit the ball a little bit closer than I did that week."

That shouldn't be as much of problem here. In Woods' two starts here, he's finished no worse than sixth (he missed the 2008 tournament because of injury).

Congressional should also play just the way he likes it: Firm and fast.

Tee times
Dustin Johnson, Davis Love III, Hunter Mahan Rd. 1: 7:50 a.m. ET (10th tee) Rd. 2: 12:50 p.m. ET (1st tee)

"I like it quick, because it certainly puts a premium on shaping shots, and more than anything, keeping the ball under the hole," Woods said. "We've seen what this place can do when it gets soft and what the guys can shoot."

Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan top the list of wins by American players in their 20s with five apiece.


Two of those for Mahan have come this year, and he comes into the AT&T National fresh off a career-low final-round 61 at the Travelers Championship.

Johnson, meanwhile, won at the FedEx St. Jude Classic earlier this month.

Both will be on Davis Love III's Ryder Cup team later this year, and the captain will have a good look at both players in the first two rounds here at Congressional with three paired together.

All three have pretty good records here, too. Mahan finished second the last time the AT&T National was held at Congressional in 2009, while Love tied for 16th that year. Johnson, meanwhile, is playing in his first AT&T at Congressional, though he did tie for 23rd here at the U.S. Open last year.