The ninth edition of the Quicken Loans National will be contested at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, but it's the first time that the course has hosted a PGA TOUR event. Not that it's unfamiliar to the circuit and to a handful in the field of 120 at what is the last invitational of the 2014-15 season. RTJ served as the arena for The Presidents Cup in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2005, a U.S.-vs.-Internationals competition metaphorically contrary to the history of the nearby land as sites of Civil War battles.
As of midday Monday, there are seven golfers in the field who participated in The Presidents Cup 2005, including tournament host and two-time Quicken Loans champion Tiger Woods (at Congressional Country Club in 2009 and 2012). He and the others will be competing on a track that can stretch 7,385 yards, which is a net-50 longer than its cap in 2005.
RTJ is a par 36-35=71 for the Quicken Loans National, but it played as a par 72 in all four Presidents Cups. (The par-4 12th is down 35 yards from when it played as a par 5 at 525 yards in 2005.) The routing for in 2005 was also different as it began on the par-4 third hole; Nos. 1 and 2 served as Nos. 17 and 18, respectively.
The walk is not dissimilar to a traditional experience of links golf; that is, the general direction of the first nine holes continues away from the clubhouse. In effect, the turn back actually begins at the par-3 ninth, which is where a five-hole stretch along Lake Manassas starts.
Segmented, bentgrass greens average 6,000 square feet and are protected by sizable bunkering that contributes to the illusion of smaller targets. With room to move it off the tee, precision on approach and putting are at a premium on the 25-year-old design, but average-putting ball-strikers tend to emerge on greens on which most don't have experience.
Warm and muggy feels will add to the test. Temperatures are likely to eclipse 90 degrees every day and winds will be light, but don't rule out occasional surprises off the lake. The greatest threat of inclement weather is later on Thursday after which benign conditions take over.