Power Rankings: AT&T Nationaltext sizeJune 24, 2013
Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., hosts the AT&T National for the fifth time in its seven-year history. It was benched in 2010 and 2011 (in favor of Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia) when the USGA took over for the 2011 U.S. Open. When it returned last year, Congressional wasn't the kinder, gentler version that greeted the invitees the first three times around.
The Devereaux Emmett creation has proven as one of the most useful and versatile tracks along the Eastern Seaboard. Nipped and tucked over the years by a cavalcade of renown designers and architects, it played in 2012 like the USGA may have wanted it to for the season's second major the year prior.
Congressional averaged 73.046 for last year's field, or +2.046 strokes to par. That was the highest in relation to par of any non-major in 2012. The sixth hole played as a par 5 for the first time, so the course lists as a par 36-35=71 on the scorecard. At 7,569 yards, it's the second-longest host on the schedule (Torrey Pines South; 7,698 yards).
From tee to green, Congressional played its hardest in 2012, even when you compare it against the U.S. Open. Its fairways-hit percentage was 56.94, 14th-lowest on the PGA TOUR. It registered a clip of 58.90 percent in greens in regulation, good for ninth-lowest.
As if those numbers don't underscore the premium on ball-striking, consider that it ranked third-lowest in scrambling at 48.98 percent. Congressional also checked in at fourth-most difficult in putting inside 10 feet at 85.35 percent. Par-3 scoring tied for seventh-highest at 3.14. Both par-4 and par-5 scoring ranked fifth at 4.17 and 4.87, respectively.
Tiger Woods isn't able to defend his title this week due to a strained left elbow. That opened an unexpected spot in the field for which tournament organizers had already created 12 additional spots to reach 132. This tournament is the last of seven that expanded due to the compressed schedule this season.
Spectators were prohibited from attending last year's third round due to damage caused by overnight storms. Unfortunately, the threat of severe weather cannot be ruled out during any round this week. Expect winds to fluctuate at time as the sky churns. Temperatures will rise into the mid-80s, thus helping fuel the atmosphere.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The Stats Report on Wednesday.
Power Rankings: AT&T National Rank Player Comment Jason DAY He's tailored his game to fit Congressional. After a solo second at the 2011 U.S. Open, he posted a T8 at last year's AT&T National, ranking second in greens hit for the week. Tied for second in his last start at Merion two weeks ago. Brandt SNEDEKER Rested following a T17 at Merion. Six top 10s on the season. Sits 16th in fairways hit, 17th in GIR, 22nd in strokes gained-putting, 11th in adjusted scoring and T1 in par-4 scoring. Top 10s at AT&T National in 2007 and 2009. Hunter MAHAN Hasn't flashed consistency that he wants, but results suggest he's close. Placed T4 at Merion; 11 top 25s this season. Superb record at Congressional: T8 (2007), T12 (2008), second (2009), T8 (2012). Held 36-hole lead here last year. Adam SCOTT He's 3-for-3 with two top 20s since winning the Masters. Finished in third place at Congressional last year. Ranked inside top 15 in fairways and greens hit; seventh in strokes gained-putting. Currently fourth in adjusted scoring. Billy HORSCHEL Most recent of PGA TOUR-leading seven top 10s was a T4 at the U.S. Open. Ranks eighth in total driving, 25th in greens in regulation, 17th in strokes gained-putting, 10th in adjusted scoring and T4 in par-4 scoring. Graham DeLAET Matched his career-best finish on the PGA TOUR with a solo third at the Travelers. Ranked T13 in fairways hit, led the field in GIR and ranked T2 in both proximity and par-4 scoring. Four straight top 25s; 11 on the season. Bill HAAS Only cut made in his last four starts was a T4 at the Memorial. It's one of six top 10s (and nine top 25s) this season. Currently 21st in greens in regulation, 23rd in scrambling, 48th in adjusted scoring and third in par-4 scoring. Ryan PALMER Prior to missing the cut at Merion, he went 7-for-7 with four top 15s, two of which went for top fives. Shared 15th place at last year's AT&T National, ranking inside the top 10 in distance, proximity, scrambling and par-4 scoring. Rickie FOWLER In his only previous appearance at Congressional, he missed the cut at the 2011 U.S. Open, but he's played well of late. Chased a T10 at Merion with a T13 at the Travelers, closing with a 6-under 64. Sits 25th in the all-around. John HUH Tied for 17th in his debut at Congressional last year. Ranked inside the top 10 in fairways hit, greens in regulation and proximity. Currently 15th on TOUR in accuracy and T72 in GIR. Three top 20s in his last five starts. Martin LAIRD Polished off a T21 at Merion with a 2-under 68, third-lowest in the finale. Also won the Valero Texas Open and placed T5 at THE PLAYERS in the last two months. Tied for 11th at last year's AT&T National. Ranks T17 in total driving. Scott STALLINGS One of the hottest in the game over the past month with a pair of T4s and a T2 (FedEx St. Jude Classic). His game tee-to-green has remained steady during the spurt, but he's risen 46 spots in strokes gained-putting to 52nd. Bo VAN PELT Took runner-up honors here last year. Co-led the field in total driving, ranked T8 in greens hit, sixth in proximity to the hole and first in par-4 scoring. Held outright 18-hole lead after a 67. He's 13-for-16 this season with six top 25s. Kevin CHAPPELL Extended his knack for performing well on difficult tracks with a solo second at Muirfield Village four weeks ago. Shared third place at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. One of the TOUR's most accurate from 75-125 yards. Pat PEREZ Hasn't played since sharing eighth place at Memorial where he ranked T5 in greens hit. Overall, he's 23rd on TOUR in GIR, 42nd in adjusted scoring and T2 in par-3 scoring. Record at Congressional includes a T3 in 2007 and a T12 in 2008.