Tiger Woods Tiger Woods set to host inaugural AT&T National at Congressional Country Club

New father Tiger Woods might not exactly be rested, but he claims to be ready this week as he plays host to the PGA Tour's AT&T National at Congressional Country Club.

Woods will be making his first start since last month's U.S. Open and the birth of his daughter — the first child for he and his wife, Elin. Sam Alexis Woods was born the day after the season's second major, at Oakmont Country Club.

"It's been fantastic these last couple weeks to have Sam Alexis part of our life," Woods said during a pre-tournament news conference. "It was a dream come true for both Elin and myself and all of our family.

"We've been obviously working a little bit and a lot of late nights, but it's been a lot of fun. Now, to come here and play, I'm really looking forward to playing this event here at Congressional."

Woods said the way the tournament has come together has been remarkable, especially considering the AT&T National didn't exist five months ago. Now, the event features a field that includes five of the world's top six players in Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Adam Scott and Vijay Singh.

"It's hard to believe that with the help of the membership, the PGA Tour and all of our staff and AT&T to put this tournament together so quickly," Woods said. "The golf course is in phenomenal shape. It's going to be one heck of a test. I think that's something that all of us as players will be looking forward to and we've been very lucky and very blessed to have a great field this week."

Hosting the AT&T National in the Washington D.C. area over the Fourth of July weekend also has significance for Woods, whose father, the late Earl Woods, was a Green Beret in Vietnam. A total of 30,000 tickets to the event are available to be distributed to military personnel.

Essentially growing up on a military base, Woods said he understands and appreciates the commitments and sacrifices made by military personnel.

"I just think that it was something that would have been and should be honored and that's why we're doing it," Woods said. "What they are doing right now for us, and for us back home, it's just a way to say thank you."

Phil Mickelson's return

Mickelson, who is returning to competition for the first time since a wrist injury hampered him in the U.S. Open, said he thinks the AT&T National has the potential to be a very special event. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

"I love what Tiger has done incorporating the military here. It really is a cool feeling," Mickelson told reporters Wednesday. "I think that it is such a great position to be in that Tiger's been in to be able to host an event and to be able to have such an effect on so many lives, as well as the community here with his Tiger Woods Learning Center.

"It's just such a great asset for the Tour and the way he's incorporated everyone here in Washington, the community and the military. It's fun to be a part of this event."

The tournament replaced the International. The Colorado event folded when it failed to find a sponsor. The tournament is also bringing the PGA Tour back after the Washington area lost its longtime PGA Tour event last year when Booz Allen decided not to renew its contract as title sponsor.

The AT&T National has taken the place of The International in Colorado, which folded after losing its title sponsor. Congressional also boasts a little history as it was the site of the 1997 U.S. Open.

"Right here, it's such a great fit — and then to have this golf course available just adds to it," Woods said. "That's when a lot of the history of this tournament has been made is when it was held here. I think that's one of the reasons why we wanted to make such a positive impact by coming back to this facility."

AT&T National

When: Thursday-Sunday
Where: Congressional C.C. Blue Course (7,255 yards, par 70), Bethesda, Md.
Purse: $6 million ($1.08 million winner's share)
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. EDT; 8:30-11:30 p.m. EDT) and
CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. EDT; 3-6 p.m. EDT).

July 5, 2007

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