Four of past five champs head AT&T National Field -- Gazette.Net


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The field for next week's AT&T National was released on Friday and it features four of the past five champions.

Included in the 120-player competition are Nick Watney (2011 winner), K.J. Choi ('07), Tiger Woods ('09), and Justin Rose ('10). Other top golfers coming to Congressional Country Club in Bethesda are Hunter Mahan; Louis Oosthuizen, the British Open victor in 2010; Adam Scott, who won the Bridgestone Invitational in 2010 with Woods' old caddy, Steve Williams, on the bag; Martin Laird; Dustin Johnson; Sean O'Hair; Jim Furyk, who gave Webb Simpson a run at the U.S. Open last weekend; and Y.E. Yang, who upended Woods to win the PGA Championship in 2009.

The tournament, which begins with Tuesday's practice round, returns to Congressional after a two-year hiatus in which it was held at Aronimink Golf Club in Philadelphia. It temporarily relocated so the course could play host to the U.S. Open last year.

Greg McLaughlin, president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation, said at the media day press conference on May 21: “We are delighted to be back here after two years in Philadelphia.”

Rory McIlroy, who fired an Open record 16-under-par to win his first major, won last year's U.S. Open in Bethesda.

“It's an amazing golf course,” said Woods, who won the tournament in 2009, at the press conference. “I know that I didn't play it last year unfortunately, but hopefully we can make it a little more difficult so the scores won't be so low.”

The players will be competing for a $6.5 million purse, upped $200,000 from last year's tournament at Aronimink. The event raises awareness and funds while paying tribute to the armed forces.

Woods' father, Earl, was in the Special Forces and served two tours in the Vietnam War.

“Trust me, I appreciate everything they do,” Woods said of those serving in the military. “Because I know by watching and living it with my father how difficult that life is, and it's so underappreciated. They put their lives on the line each and other day, and I don't think we say enough thank-yous for what they do.”

Woods won the event in 2009, and as far as taking the trophy this year, he told the media that he wants to win, “but I think me as a person, as a whole, as part of the foundation, then it's bigger than hitting a golf shot."

tmewhirter@gazette.net