Sports Outside the Beltway

Tiger Woods’ tournament to stay at Congressional for 2009

The inaugural AT&T National was played last year and won by KJ Choi. From AP-

BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour event will get an extra year at Congressional Country Club.

Congressional announced Thursday that its members have voted to host the AT&T National in 2009. The tournament will essentially replace the 2009 U.S. Amateur, which was moved because of concerns about the conditions at Congressional’s famed Blue Course.

Congressional had originally agreed to host Woods’ tournament in 2007 and 2008. The tournament had a successful debut last year, drawing large crowds during the Fourth of July week.

Woods has said he would like Congressional to be his tournament’s permanent home, but the club already had been awarded the 2009 U.S. Amateur and the 2011 U.S. Open. Ironically, it was last year’s AT&T National that spotlighted the bumpy greens and other problems that prompted the USGA to move the Amateur to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

Woods will likely have to find another venue for 2010 because course improvements will already be under way for the 2011 U.S. Open.

Congressional is one of the four or five best courses to host a PGA Tour event every year. Pebble Beach, Riviera, and Augusta National are the only courses I would rank above it.

Back in the 80′s I attended a couple of Kemper Opens played at Congressional. I’ve seen the course up close.

As for professional major championships, I think Congressional is pretty mediocre. With courses like Pebble Beach, Shinnecock, Winged Foot, Balustrol, Pinehurst, Olympic, Oakland Hills, Southern Hills, Merion, Inverness, to name just some, I have a hard time putting Congressional in the top 20 courses for majors. Hazeltine site of the 1991 US Open, 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships, once said to be only missing 88 acres of corn and a few cows, I think is a superior course compared to Congressinal when it comes to hosting a US major.

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