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FENNO: Tiger Woods’ absence dampens AT&T National buzz
Question of the Day
The tournament occupies a difficult position in the PGA Tour’s schedule, resting in the awkward gap between the U.S. Open and next month’s British Open. Big-name international golfers like Rory McIlroy have returned to Europe. McIlroy, who cut through the Blue Course to win the U.S. Open by eight strokes in 2011, is entered in the Irish Open this week.
The AT&T National isn’t even a must-stop for U.S. standouts like Matt Kuchar or Steve Stricker or Bubba Watson. All are absent this week. There’s little incentive, other than the $1.1 million winner’s share, to fight the high temperatures and relentless humidity of late June in the Washington area when one can rest and refit ahead of the trip to Muirfield.
That shouldn’t be surprising. Not when the tournament hasn’t been a must-play for its own host.
Congressional’s contract to host the tournament is up after 2014. Woods retreated to “fantastic” again to describe the course and event.
“Yeah, we would love to be back here,” he said. “It’s obviously up to the members and the board whether we come back here or not. I know we would like to play.”
At the golf shop, the man and woman who speculated on Woods’ injury stepped outside.
The bite of cigars mixed with the smell of cut grass and, on occasion, too much cologne. Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies with clear earpieces and serious faces strolled through the light crowds. A few people paid $7.50 for a cheeseburger or a Stella Artois. Sunburn turned uncovered arms and legs pink. Neon polo shirts dotted the driving range. Some things don’t change.
Tiger, though, was nowhere to be found.
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