Action on the PGA Tour returns to our Nations Capitol this weekend for ATT National hosted by Tiger Woods at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. The Blue Course was originally design in 1924 by Devereux Emmet, and redesigned for modern play in 1957 by Robert Trent Jones, and again twice by Rees Jones in 1989 and 2006.
The course is currently 7574 yards from the tips and plays to par 72 for the regulars. The par 5 6th and 11th holes are converted to par 4’s for PGA Tour events and play to a par 70 for the Pro’s with a Course Rating/Slope of 75.4/142. Since the 2009 renovation, both fairways and green were converted to bent grass. Golf Digest ranked it 86th in America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
For many years, the eighteenth hole on the Blue Course had been a source of irritation with the PGA. It was originally designed as a par 3 that played into the Club House with an amphitheater back drop.
The PGA however, looks at a par three finishing hole to be anti-climatic. They prefer to have the pro’s hitting drivers into some kind of possible trouble, especially in pressure situations like the US Open.
During the the 1964 US Open and the 1975 PGA Championship two holes from the Gold Course were used to alleviate the problem and allow the 17th hole, which is the most demanding hole on the golf course, to be used as the finishing hole. In the 1995 US Senior Open, the 18th hole was brought back in, but was played as the 10th hole.
The previous configuration produced logistical problems in the manner of long walks to the next tee. With the creation of a new tour event and in preparation for the 2011 US Open, they decided to once and for all solve the problem. Rees Jones completely designed a new par 3 to replace the old 18th hole, and the old 17th hole became the finishing hole.
The US Open has been held here three times, 1964, 1997, and 2011. Former golf announcer, Ken Venturi won the 1964 tournament, Ernie Els in 1997 and of course Rory McIlroy last summer. The PGA Championship here was played at Congressional in 1976 and won by Dave Stockton. Last but not least, the 1995 US Senior Open won by Tom Weiskopf.
Some of you older fans like myself will remember this tournament for years as The Kemper Open. It was later re-named the Booz Allen Classic, and in 2007, with Tiger Woods as the ATT National.
The Congressional Country Club, over the years has had some pretty famous members with it’s close proximity to our Nations Capitol. Former presidents who were members include:
- William Howard Taft,
- Woodrow Wilson,
- Warren G. Harding
- Calvin Coolidge
- Herbert Hoover
- Dwight Eisenhower
- Gerald Ford
Several of the top golfers have elected to skip this tournament in preparation for next month’s British Open. Some of the missing in action will be most of the European contingency of McIlroy, McDowell, Westwood and World Golf Rankings number one player Luke Donald. New US Open Champion Webb Simpson, Masters Champion Bubba Watson and Phil Mickleson will also not be there.
Amateur Beau Hossler and newly turned pro Patrick Cantalay Jr. will be in the field for Thursday’s tee times. Of course host Tiger Woods will compete .
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