|AT&T National - June 30, 2008
Congressional Country Club
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,255
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $6,000,000Winner: $1,080,000)
2007 Champion: K.J. Choi (271, -9)
AT&T National Notes
Last year on the PGA TOUR, Congressional Country Club ranked as the ninth-hardest course, with a scoring average of 71.54 for the week on the par-70 layout. Four of the top-five courses on TOUR in 2007 came at major championship venues. Out of the top-10 toughest courses in 2007 seven of them were played as a par-70. The toughest hole at Congressional was the 489 yard par-4 11th hole, with a scoring average of 4.403.
Fred Funk played in his first career PGA TOUR event at Congressional Country Club in 1982. He tied for 51st and earned $947. About his first TOUR experience, Funk said: “At the time, that was like 1/20th of my yearly salary. In those days, you got into the next week’s event if you made the cut, and I played in Memphis the following week with Payne Stewart, before he wore knickers.” Twenty-six years later, Funk has played in a total of 588 PGA TOUR events and has amassed $20,913,249, 16th on the all-time list. Funk finished 62nd at last year’s AT&T National. Funk has split his time between the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour. He won the Champions Tour’s MasterCard Championship at Hualalai earlier this season.
Three players will be rewarded with positions in the 2008 British Open field upon completion of the AT&T National. The top two players, not otherwise exempt, who have earned the most PGA TOUR official money from THE PLAYERS Championship and the five co-sponsored and approved events leading up to and including the AT&T National will earn British Open invites. The leading player, not otherwise exempt, among the top-10 finishers and ties at the 2008 AT&T National also earns a spot in the field. Ties will be decided by who records the better final-round score.
Matt Gogel holds the Congressional Country Club Blue Course 18-hole record, posting a first-round 63 at the 2005 Booz Allen Classic. Gogel went on to tie for seventh. Four other players have had 64s. They are Tommy Jacobs (1964 U.S. Open), George Burns (1983 Kemper Open), and Fred Couples and Bobby Clampett (1986 Kemper Open). A year ago, Shigeki Maruyama and Hunter Mahan both had 65s to record the lowest 18-hole score at the AT&T National.
AT&T Classic Helps Iowa Flood Victims
At the conclusion of the AT&T Classic in Duluth, GA, the tournament had approximately 500 new shirts and jackets left over from the event. Tournament staff contacted PGA TOUR player Zach Johnson about donating the clothing to flood victims in Johnson’s home state of Iowa. Through Johnson’s sponsor, Aegon, the largest employer in Cedar Rapids, IA, the clothing was distributed to those in need.
“After hurricane Katrina, we donated several hundred extra volunteer shirts and jackets to hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana,” said Tournament Director Dave Kaplan. “Zach is a two-time champion of our tournament from one of the hard-hit areas by recent flooding. It seemed to be an excellent use of the apparel.”
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
- Craig Barlow began his final round last week at the Buick Open in exciting fashion. He made an eagle 3 on the opening hole. What made it particularly exciting is that he holed a 111-foot, 5-inch putt to do so. That’s easily the longest putt made this season, topping the 76-foot effort of Justin Rose.
- Kenny Perry now has 11 career wins and seven of them have come in just three events. He’s won the Memorial Tournament three times and has two wins each at the Buick Open and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
- There were several significant jumps in the FedExCup standings following last week’s Buick Open. Bob Tway made the biggest leap, going from out of the playoffs in 157th place to 116th. Bubba Watson moved from 77th to 39th and Woody Austin climbed from 63rd to 27th.
- ShotLink data includes radar readings this year that offer a host of interesting facts. For example, Robert Garrigus hits the highest tee shots of anyone on TOUR — an average of 123 feet 5 inches at its apex. At the other end of the spectrum, Shane Bertsch hits the lowest tee shots on TOUR — 63 feet 1 inch. The TOUR average is 89 feet 7 inches.
- More from ShotLink: With trouble down the left side, who do you want to drive your golf ball? That would be Billy Mayfair who misses the fairway left off the tee just 6.87% of the time. Olin Brown would be your choice if you don’t want to miss right — he does that only 6.33% of the time.
- Here’s an interesting nugget. J.B. Holmes carries his tee shots an average of 302.3 yards, the longest on TOUR. Corey Pavin carries his tee shots an average of 233.3 yards, the lowest on TOUR. That’s nearly 70 yards difference. However, there’s more than one way to get the job done. Pavin, despite giving up that yardage, has a lower Scoring Average (70.00) than Holmes (70.65).
- By the way, the average drive on TOUR is down over four yards from last year — 288.6 in 2007 to 284.4 thus far in 2008.
- With his victory last week at the Commerce Bank Championship, Loren Roberts has eight Champions Tour wins to go with eight PGA TOUR titles.
- Two more former PGA TOUR winners celebrated their 50th birthdays recently and debuted on the Champions Tour. Two weeks ago, Gary Hallberg made his first start and finished T16 at the Bank of America Championship. Last week, it was Ronnie Black who made his first career start and posted a T49 at the Commerce Bank Championship.
- Lonnie Nielsen joined the Champions Tour in 2003 and waited until the 2007 Commerce Bank Championship to finally record his first win. A year later he nearly added a second, finishing one stroke back of Loren Roberts while defending his title at the Commerce Bank Championship.
- A couple of players looking for their first wins on the Champions Tour keep knocking on the door. Nick Price finished T2 last week for his eighth Top-10 finish of the season and his 11th since joining the Tour last year. Tim Simpson was T6 last week for his fourth Top-10 of the year and his 10th overall.
- Sometimes you just have to think there’s another force at work. Justin Hicks entered last week’s Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic presented by Samsung in 160th place on the money list. He was assigned locker number 99 (Gretzky’s uniform number) and went on to win the tournament hosted by the Great One and jumped all the way to 13th and in strong position to finish among The 25.
- Greg Owen hasn’t won yet, but he’s having a standout season. The Englishman has five Top-5 finishes in nine starts and leads the All-Around category and Total Driving stats. He’s also second in Scoring Average, Driving Distance and Birdies as well as third in Putting and ninth in Sand Saves.
- Here’s a statistical oddity. Of the Top 10 players in Scoring Average, only one (Greg Chalmers) has won this year.
- The Nationwide Tour is off this week, but next week will offer its first $1 million purse when the Tour assembles in West Virginia for the Nationwide Tour Players Cup.