Tiger Woods has had success at Congressional before. Can he find his way to the top of the leaderboard this weekend?
Welcome back. This week we are in Bethesda, Maryland, at Congressional Country Club for the AT&T National. Nick Watney is the defending champion. The winner will take home $1,116,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points.
This will be the sixth occurrence of the AT&T National.
The tournament was held at Congressional for the first three years, before moving to a different course. The AT&T National has returned to Congressional this year, but the course has undergone significant changes since then. The last PGA Tour event to be held here was the 2011 U.S. Open.
Congressional is not an easy golf course.
In fact, it can play as borderline "unfair." Why do you think they held a U.S. Open here?
The rough is brutal, and the greens are faster than the pavement in a parking garage. As usual, we are looking for accurate players who can get it done with the flat-stick (putter) in their hands.
We're not going to worry too much about any prior history here. How a player has been performing recently should be a far better barometer for this event than any finishes here a few years ago.
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Jim Furyk (Starting)
Furyk hits almost all of the benchmarks we are looking for here.
In 2012, Furyk has finished worse than T26 (tied for 26th) in a PGA event only once, and it was in his first start back in February. His last three starts: T-fourth, T13 and fourth. Furyk ranks fourth on tour in driving accuracy and 22nd in GIR (greens in regulation percentage). He also ranks 24th in putting (strokes gained, putting).
Camilo Villegas (Bench)
It's not a good week in Group A.
Villegas is coming off of a strong T29 at the Traveler's Championship last weekend. But he's been very inconsistent in 2012, and that might be saying it kindly. But he ranks 38th on the PGA Tour in GIR and 36th in total driving.
Also worth using: Nick Watney and Adam Scott
Tiger Woods (Starting)
He's not quite "back," but Tiger Woods is playing golf as well as anybody else right now.
He faded at the U.S. Open in his last event, but won the previous tournament he had entered. He ranks 32nd on tour in driving accuracy, ninth in GIR and 26th in putting. Oh, and he's actually hosting the tournament this week.
Hunter Mahan (Starting)
Mahan has been playing very solid golf so far in 2012.
He is coming off of a T11 finish last weekend and has finished in the top 40 of his last four events. Mahan is an extremely accurate golfer, ranking fourth on the PGA Tour in GIR and 11th in driving accuracy.
Ryan Moore (Bench)
Moore is not as hot as he was a month ago, but he is still playing very solid golf.
He's not solid enough to start here, but if he rounds back into form he could be a nice option off of the bench. He ranks 26th on tour in driving accuracy and a respectable 63rd in GIR.
Dustin Johnson (Bench)
Johnson has played well since returning from his injury, despite missing the cut at the U.S. Open in his last event.
He had won his previous event and finished T19 in his tournament before that one. Statistically, Johnson is not a great fit here, but he does rank 52nd in putting, 59th in GIR and an impressive ninth in driving distance. He also ranks 25th in scrambling.
Also worth using: Ryan Palmer, Bryce Molder and Bo Van Pelt
Ben Curtis (Starting)
Curtis missed the cut in his last event (the Memorial), but he had finished in the top 13 in his previous four tour events, including a victory at the Valero Texas Open back in April. He ranks 12th on tour in driving accuracy, seventh in GIR and first in putting.
John Huh (Bench)
I went with Huh here last week, and he let me down by missing the cut. But he had finished T19 and T-fifth in his two previous events. He ranks ninth on tour in driving accuracy and 23rd in putting. I don't think I will need a bench option in Group C this week, but if I do, Huh could be a good one.
Also worth using: Martin Laird and Harris English
Picks for The Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge
Group One: Hunter Mahan
Group Two: Ben Curtis
Group Three: Bryce Molder
Group Four: Boo Weekly
Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings Leagues (Full Season)
Not a ton of options here based on who I've already used. I could use Tiger, but I'm opting to save him for a bigger purse.
I don't love Watney or Scott here, so they're out. Ryan Palmer is a possibility. I could also go with John Huh or Harris English.
Given that I don't love any of those options, I will just have to go with the best of the bunch. That means this week I am going with Ryan Palmer.
Bryce Molder, Steve Marino, Bill Haas, D.A. Points, Martin Laird, Hunter Mahan, K.J. Choi, Rory McIlroy, Jarrod Lyle, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, John Senden, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Bo Van Pelt, Fredrik Jacobson, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Ben Curtis, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Ryan Moore
Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings Leagues (Season 2)
In many leagues of this type/format, there are multiple seasons. When a new season begins, you once again can choose any golfer once, even if you already selected him. With Season 2 starting this week, we once again can take any golfer we would like.
Because seasons are shorter (and you have a full golfer pool to choose from) in this format, you should try to really focus on selecting the best player for any given week instead of trying to save players for some possible big paydays in the future.
The top options for me are pretty simple here: Tiger, Furyk and Hunter Mahan. All three of these golfers are good enough to use in any given week, so there's nothing to really hold back here.
I'm not going with Tiger, I just don't see him winning this week with everything else he will have going on as the host of the tournament. Furyk and Mahan are about as equal as can be at this point, at least in my eyes.
Mahan has had more success in closing out tournaments for victories this season, while Furyk has been better with the putter. Given how crucial putting will be on these extremely fast greens this week, I am going with Jim Furyk.
Good luck to all this week. If you have any comments or questions, please use the comments feature or reach out to me on Twitter.
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