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Woods finished 19th at Congressional in the 1997 U.S. Open (74-67-73-72). But a decade later, he’s a far more complete and consistent tactician.

“I was actually telling [caddie Steve Williams] that today, that I wish I had the understanding I now have of how to play the game back then. Because strategically, I would have played [Congressional] much differently than I did. I just didn’t make the right moves consistently. I just didn’t quite have the knowledge or understanding of how to play. Consequently, I think if you look at the first half of my career in the majors you’ll see that either I won or didn’t come close to winning; versus the last half, I win or I have been in contention to win a lot of them.”

In his last 10 major starts, Woods has finished worse than fourth only once (2006 U.S. Open), winning four times. And while this week’s incarnation of Congressional (par-70, 7,204 yards) is a slightly kinder, gentler track than USGA-tweaked beast of 1997, both the elite field and the venerable venue give the AT&T National a semi-major feel.