Tiger Woods Tiger Woods excited to host PGA Tour's AT&T National at Congressional

The dream Tiger Woods and his late father once shared is edging closer and closer to becoming a reality.

With a little more than a month left before Woods hosts the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, Woods stopped by the Bethesda, Md., course Tuesday to promote the July 5-8 event, which will be put on by the Tiger Woods Foundation.

"It's always been a dream of my father and I to one day host a PGA Tour event and we've been extremely lucky and very fortunate to have had an opportunity to do it here at Congressional," Woods told reporters. "This is a very historic site, and one which has hosted four major championships, and one that I did play in - didn't do very well in, but did play.

"I just found it to be just a wonderful golf course, a golf course that I always wanted to come back and play again."

Woods, whose father, Earl Woods, died last May at the age of 74 following a long battle with cancer, said he and his dad began discussing the possibility one day hosting a tournament nearly 10 years ago.

"I just wish he could have been here to see it because he would have been so proud of what we're going to put on and what we have been putting on," Woods said. "So it's something that's near and dear to my heart and something that's been ultimately very close to me."

The AT&T National will feature a $6 million purse with $1.8 million going to the winner. Proceeds will benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation and various youth programs in the Washington D.C. area.

Another aspect Woods said he's proud of is the relatively low ticket prices, which he hopes will allow entire families to attend the tournament together. There will also be 30,000 tickets distributed to active military men and women and their guests.

"I know what it's like, my father being in the military," Woods said. "I have friends who are in the military, as well. I know the level of commitment that it takes and I don't think it can be any better than having all of the various men and women coming out and have it on this golf course."

Woods and members of his foundation have had to scramble to put the PGA Tour event together in short order. Plans for the tournament were first announced in March after it was learned that The International in Colorado was backing out of its July date.

While most Tour events are planned for up to a year in advance, Woods and his foundation will have had barely more than 120 days by the time the tournament starts. The most difficult part, Woods said, is getting commitments from players on relatively short notice for the 120-player, invitation-only field.

Jim Furyk, Darren Clark, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Davis Love III, Fred Funk, Stuart Appleby and Charles Howell are among those who have committed to play. However, Woods said he doesn't think Phil Mickelson will make an appearance, Ernie Els is definitely out and the status of Vijay Singh is up in the air.

"It's hard. This time of the year, a lot of the Europeans are already over in Europe playing, getting ready for the British Open and they have a commitment to their Tour," Woods said. "Maybe the field will get better as it gets a little closer, but right now it's a little difficult."

Truth be told, Woods' very own commitment to play in the tournament could be regarded as soft. His wife, Elin, is due with the couple's first child near the time of the event.

"My intent is to play, but my wife has something to say about that," Woods said. "Everyone understands our No. 1 priority in our lives is our child.

"You only get to witness it for the first time only once and I want to be there to be with her in that moment."

The combination of impending fatherhood, hosting the AT&T National and playing in the U.S. Open June 14-17 at Oakmont Country Club has obviously left Woods a very busy man.

"My time-management skills are certainly going to be tested," Woods said. "Then again, these are all things that are very exciting: hosting your first Tour event, playing the U.S. Open, and above all, having the birth of your first child.

"These are all very exciting things."

May 30, 2007

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        Kim wrote on: May 30, 2008

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