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There's not much we can take from last year's AT&T National since it was held at Aronomink, where Nick Watney's winning score was -13. This year the tournament moves back to Congressional, where Tom Lehman blew a US Open to Ernie Els in 1997, where Rory blistered the field in the Open last year, and where Tiger and KJ Choi have won the AT&T previously.
With the notable exception of Choi, winners and contenders here are drawers of the golf ball. It's another par 70, but this one measures 7,250 yards and has real rough with it. I think the Tour will want to make up for the shellacking the course took last year in soft conditions, so it'll be a tough test. Make sure to follow Eric Evans, golfmanna's reporter on the scene, who will weigh in with course conditions and other notes throughout the week.
In the end, this is really just an average field -- with the Irish Open happening simultaneously and with the Open Championship only a few weeks away, many of the top players have already ventured across the pond to get some tournament play in and get acclimated to links golf. But one of these guys is going to win a big check, so let's get on with it.
- Tiger. Past winner at Congressional, has something to prove this week. Does it really seem like this could be his third win of the year?
- Jim Furyk. No matter what happened at the US Open, he's Steady Eddie. Expect a good result.
- Hunter Mahan. He shot 62 at Congressional in 2009 to finish as runner-up. Hmm, he just shot a 62 at TPC River Highlands on Sunday.
- Nick Watney. Defending champ who had some moments at Olympic Club two weeks ago. Possibly playing better? We'll see.
- Adam Scott. Nothing special this year, but he has a good history here with a t3 finish last year and a win at the Kemper Open/Booz Allen back in the day. He did miss the US Open cut here in 2011.
Onto the 10-Fer, where we look for the less obvious picks. Remember to check the field before selecting your golfer in our One and Done game.
10. Ryan Palmer. He's back and has been playing some great golf, with four top-10's in his last five events, including three top-5's. He had a top-25 at the Open here last year and a t22 in 2009. Likes to hit the draw, too, and can bomb it.
9. Kevin Stadler. You know who has two thumbs and just as many top-25's as Bo Van Pelt (imagine Stadler with the 'this guy' thumb motion). That's right, NINE of them, along with three top-10's. That's pretty solid for this point in the 10-Fer, especially considering that he finished t11 here last year. He's playing the best golf of his life, so if you're going to use him, this is a good spot.
8. Rory Sabbatini. I teased it yesterday in the 'What We Learned' column, but he's been playing well recently and has a decent history here, with top-30's at last year's Open and a t24 in 2007 at Congressional. Can draw the ball like a champ.
7. Brian Davis. He is a pro's pro -- all he does is make money. He might not win, but he's about as solid a bet as there is to finish in the top-15 for a six-figure paycheck. And he likes to finish fourth.
6. Charley Hoffman. He blew it on Sunday at the Travelers Championship -- it was his tournament to win with two holes to go. Then… the collapse. But we like to look on the bright side: he still finished t2 and collected $528k. He also finished t25 here last year and hasn't MC'd at this event since 2007. This is a nod to the guy playing well -- he's putting well (well, at least in Cromwell he did), hitting it straight and far. A good combo anywhere.
5. Bo Van Pelt. Certified ATM machine. Finished t11 here last year. Pick him with confidence.
4. Ben Curtis. He's dropped off the radar screen after missing the cut at Memorial, but before that he was playing as well as anyone and has already made $2.1 million on Tour this year. He has good memories in DC, much like Adam Scott with a win at the Kemper/Booz Allen. He's also a good 'tough course' guy
3. Jeff Overton. He can be maddingly inconsistent, but when he drives it relatively straight -- like at his last event in Memphis, or last year at this event at Aronomink -- he gets results. He's got the length and putter to play anywhere, and I expect him to potentially match his third-places finishes in this event the last two years, even if they were at a different course.
2. KJ Choi. He won this event in 2007 finished second here last year. From the reports about the course playing more difficult this year -- remember, this is a course that has hosted the US Open -- it could be an even better setup for KJ. He's also finished in the top-20 in his last two events, including a t15 at the US Open.
1. Dustin Johnson. He could qualify as an obvious pick here, but he seems to be flying under the radar even after his win in Memphis three weeks ago. He's a bomber who draws it and can win any week, and he and Tiger are good friends so he'll be comfortable trying to whoop up on his buddy.
Player to avoid: Ryan Moore. He finished second at this event in 2010 (on a different course) but has been very average recently. He's a good 'hold' option for upcoming weeks.
Decent picks last week: John Rollins (t4) and Freddy Jacobson (t8) were the highlights.
Bad picks: Michael Thompson, Bud Cauley, Tom Gillis and Patrick Cantlay MC'd. And I hold a grudge.
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Photo: US Presswire