14-time Major Champion Tiger Woods appeared on Wednesday’s Morning Drive with Tiger Woods Foundation President & CEO Greg McLaughlin. The AT&T National, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, returns to Congressional Country Club this year after being played at Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia, PA in each of the last two years. Woods won the 2009 AT&T National at Congressional Country Club.
The Tiger Woods Foundation has had a great deal of success in the Washington, D.C. with millions of dollars contributed to a pair of Tiger Woods Learning Centers in the area which has led to the improvement of the lives of so many kids in the D.C. area alone. The Foundation is very happy with the work that has been done and they look forward to doing more work in part through the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club.
Congressional Country Club is playing firm and fast this week and it will certainly play differently than it did in the 2011 U.S. Open when Rory McIlroy won with a score of 16 under par. It is very hot this week and although there will be a lot of water put on the course to keep it alive, the course will still play very firm and fast.
Since the start of the AT&T National, Tiger has not personally tried to recruit players to play in the tournament because he understands what it feels like to be put in the position of answering an invitation to play an event from a fellow player so he leaves the task of inviting players to Greg McLaughlin.
While this event is not the same as a Major Championship because they are in a class by themselves, it is certainly near and dear to his heart and the hearts of everyone involved with the Tiger Woods Foundation because of all the money that has been raised to build Learning Centers and help improve the lives of so many young people in the United States.
On the question of anchored putters, Tiger said that he is not sure what if anything the USGA or R&A will say this year based on that policy. He has stated what he thinks of anchored putters in the past and while he has his opinions, he has not spoken to officials from either organization recently so he is not sure what will ultimately be decided.
While playing in Washington, D.C. is easier than Philadelphia in terms of tournament organization, McLaughlin said that it is actually a bit more difficult in terms of attracting corporate sponsorship because of the current state of the economy and the fact that the tournament has been out of the D.C. area for the last two years. McLaughlin is optimistic that it will be easier to attract corporate sponsors for the 2013 AT&T National.
When it comes to the Major Championships, Tiger says that he has always taken the good with the bad and he tries to learn something from every experience. Whether the experience was positive or negative, he has taken something from each and every Major that he has played in and he tries to apply those lessons to future Majors.
He is making a great deal of progress with Sean Foley and it has taken some time because he has essentially had to relearn his golf swing but he is now feeling a lot more confident on the course and as a result, they do not need to spend as much time together before or after the round as they have in the past. Instead, they work together mostly to make little fixes here and there when they are needed.
A big reason why there have been nine straight first-time Major Champions is that the fields are so much deeper today than they have been in years past. Another reason is that when you look at many of the 36-hole cuts in the recent Major Championships, the number of strokes between the leader and the players in last place is much fewer than in years past so you end up having many more players in contention to win.
When looking at the young players on the PGA TOUR, there are so many who have a great deal of talent and potential but the person at the head of that class has to be Rory McIlroy not only because of his talent but also because of what he has already accomplished on the European Tour and PGA TOUR as well as his win in the 2011 U.S. Open.
Beau Hossler played so well in the 2012 U.S. Open but he also played in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. The AT&T National had an available sponsor’s exemption and after discussions with the tournament and with Tiger, everyone agreed that Hossler should be invited to play and they are very happy that he is in the field this week along with a number of other great young players including Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, and Kelly Kraft.