Quicken Loans National
Congressional Country Club
Congressional Blue Course
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: Bentgrass; 5,500 square feet on average.
Rough: 3” fescue
Water Hazards: 5
Course Architect: Devereux Emmet (1924)
Winner’s Share: $1,170,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Bill Haas defeated Roberto Castro by three shots to win for the fifth time on TOUR.
Dates: June 26-29
Notes: 120 players will be cut to the top 70 and ties.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 23 of 32 events in 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane and Kevin Streelman have won for the USA.
Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed five victories. Matsuyama joins Seung-yul Noh as the Asian representatives and Martin Kaymer has been a one-man-gang for Europe with his two massive victories.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd and Matsuyama are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had nine in 30 events so far in 2014.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30) and Matt Jones (33), all first-timers, flew the flag before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Since the first major, Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33) and Ben Crane (38) have added to the prime-timers trophy case.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.
Australian John Senden, 42, won at Tampa Bay for the only W for the “Old Guys” this season.
Pay Attention: It’s FREE!
Quicken Loans National (QLN) replaced The International on the TOUR schedule in 2007.
Congressional Country Club (CCC) has hosted the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013 events.
Aronomink hosted the 2010 and 2011 editions as CCC was preparing to host the 2011 U.S. Open.
The first three years of this tournament were played on Poa annua greens. They were replaced for the 2011 U.S. Open.
The U.S. Open also saw multiple changes come to the Blue Course which included rerouting of holes. Course history for me this week starts in 2011 and ends in 2013. Putting on Poa annua versus Bentgrass is night and day. Remember, the U.S. Open set up also had graduated rough and weather issues so don’t put all the eggs in that basket either.
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer are the only players on TOUR with multiple victories in the 2013-14. Only Patrick Reed has a chance to match Walker on three wins this week.
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
Anthony Kim won for the second time in his career here in 2008. #missingman At the time, he was only the second player under 25 to have two wins since Woods in 2000.
Past Champions Since 2007
2007: K.J. Choi -13
2008: Anthony Kim -16*
2009: Tiger Woods -17
2010: Justin Rose**
2011: Nick Watney**
2012: Tiger Woods -8
2013: Bill Haas -12
* Not entered
** Tournament was played at Aronomink outside Philadelphia, not at CCC
Inside the Ropes
Established in the early 20’s, CCC has seen its fair share of big-time tournaments, including the U.S. Junior Amateur, Women’s Amateur, U.S. Senior Open, 1976 PGA Championship, three U.S. Opens (1964-Venturi; 1997-Els and 2011-McIlroy) and was home to the Kemper Open from 1980-1986.
Playing at almost 7,600 yards, only Torrey Pines can claim to have more distance on the card in 2014. So far. Usually when the TOUR plays on massive, classic courses like this, the ultra-talented and ultra-experienced pro comes out on top and Congressional has been no different as shown by the winners above.
This week, another wrinkle will be added to the monster at hand as Tiger Woods returns to the fold for the first time since having back surgery. If he’s not able to hit full shots his short game is going to have to be sharp. Congressional constantly ranks in the top 10 hardest courses played on TOUR and the last three events here, 2011 U.S. Open and the last two QLN have proven that theory correct.
The major issues the TOUR pros will be facing this week are very slick Bentgrass greens, lush rough surrounding the greens and bordering the fairways and the sheer length of the tee. Bill Haas wasn’t all that bothered last year as he racked up TWENTY FIVE birdies to win by three shots (-12). This also means he took time to card plenty of bogeys and a triple. But, Haas was the only player to finish on double-digits under par. Tiger Woods won the previous edition on eight-under. Yikes.
There will be value in players who can get up-and-down this week. There will also be value in players who can smash it down the fairway and shorten the course. There is also value in players who enjoy putting slick, Bentgrass greens. Tiger Woods is known for having one of the best short-games in history and it’s no wonder why he’s picked this course to host his tournament. There were only EIGHT bogey-free rounds here last year. #grinding
Since there isn’t much course history to lean on, I’ll be taking a look at players who have played the tougher courses on TOUR well and whose current form is deserving of a look.