- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The winners of the past three tournaments at Congressional have had final scores of 16 under, 13 under and 12 under, but don’t expect to see scores that low in this week’s AT&T National.

Many players have said the course is a lot tougher this year because it’s set up similar to last year’s U.S. Open.

“I was a little surprised in the setup,” said Jim Furyk. “The mowing lines, the rough lines are usually brought in narrow for a U.S. Open, and they never pushed them back out.”

Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open-record 16-under finish last year was due in part to the playing conditions.

“The course was pretty soft last year. I think it was raining at night,” said Beau Hossler. “The fairways were really soft, we weren’t getting much roll and it played really long.”

The state of the rough also is a factor in the increased difficulty, some believe.

“The rough is up, which it seems like they have no problem growing grass here,” said defending champion Nick Watney.

Added Furyk: “The rough is, I don’t want to say the longest I’ve seen it, but it’s very, very thick and difficult to play out of.”

With temperatures expected to exceed 95 degrees during all four rounds, the fairways and greens are going to dry out, and that should cause them to play fast. The club is going to have to make sure the greens don’t start to brown.

“They’re going to have to put some water on [the fairways and greens] to try to keep it alive,” said tournament host Tiger Woods.

Furyk summed up the state of the course: “It definitely has a U.S. Open style feel to it.”

Fairfax’s Marino withdraws

Fairfax native and University of Virginia product Steve Marino has withdrawn because of an injury.

“I’m just not sure [what exactly is wrong] at this point,” said Marino. “I’m going to see a doctor.”

Marino was hoping to make just his third tournament after an injury last year. He tore his meniscus, had surgery last October and returned in time for January’s Sony Open.

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