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Tiger Woods watched the flight of his tee shot until he could see it drifting too far right, and he hung his head slightly as the ball tumbled off the green. Already with three bogeys in seven holes, it looked as though nothing was going right for him in the PGA Championship.
Congressional Country Club's Blue Course limped away from the U.S. Open at about this time last year, its claws filed down by a 22-year-old Northern Irishman named Rory McIlroy and 19 other golfers who broke par.
Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods because he can do things with a golf ball that few others can. So the gallery, which returned to Congressional Country Club in full force Sunday, buzzed when his ball came to rest at the base of a tree left of the 12th fairway during the fourth round of the AT&T National.
Professional golf tournaments, like every sporting event, have certain customs that give them life. The traditions established and upheld by fans provide the flair and so much of what makes these competitions special.
Tiger Woods stepped out of the clubhouse at Congressional and into a strange new world of quiet Saturday. No one called out his name. No one pushed against the ropes and held out a cap for him to sign. No one was there.
Bo Van Pelt's only victory in 309 PGA Tour events was almost three years ago on the same weekend as the 138th Open Championship. His moment of glory did not occur at Turnberry in Scotland, though. And, as a matter of fact, he still is the defending champion of the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. The tournament shut down operation after he won it.
Midway through the first day of the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, things are heating up. The early leader among those already finished is Vijay Singh, who posted a 3-under-par score of 68 during Thursday's round.