2012 AT&T National Tournament Preview
Dates: June 28 – July 01, 2012
Course: Congressional Country Club – Bethesda, MD
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Betting Handicapper, Predictem.com
The calendar is ready to flip again and the PGA Tour will see out June by spending some time on the East Coast for the AT&T National. We are only two weeks out from the 2012 U.S. Open but the players return to the site of the 2011 U.S. Open as Congressional Country Club resumes host duty for the AT&T National after a two year hiatus that saw a course renovation for the 2011 Open. Nick Watney won the 2011 AT&T at Aronimink and will face a strong field in his title defense. Tiger Woods headlines the players in attendance and the online betting sites have ignored his collapse from two weeks ago and installed him as the 5 to 1 favorite.
Congressional is returning to non-Major tournament action but the course has been part of the PGA landscape as host of the Kemper Open as well as it’s 2007-2009 run as AT&T home course. Anthony Kim, K.J. Choi and Tiger won in those years but all the players will see a much different course since the 2009 revamp, especially if they did not qualify for the 2011 U.S. Open. Every green has been re-done at the 7,574 yard, par-71 course and several tees have been moved to accentuate doglegs. Number ten previously served as the finishing hole but now runs in the opposite direction and the players will have to negotiate nearly 100 bunkers along with some of the fastest greens on Tour. The course is lengthy enough to require some decent length off the tee but the straighter players can hang too as long as their sporting a hot putter.
Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think can win it all. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any quality online bookie.
Here are our picks to win the 2012 AT&T National:
Short Favorite: Dustin Johnson (16 to 1 odds to win)
DJ has had a bit of a rough season with some back issues but he came back with a bang and a St. Judes win a few weeks ago. He took a week off after missing the cut at Olympic Club but had some decent success at Congressional last year with a top-25. Dustin is plenty long to potentially dominate the course and hits a bunch of greens with the scoring irons. His 23rd ranked putter has produced the 13th best scoring average and has improved his scrambling stat to 25th, so he’s losing fewer strokes to par when he does miss the greens. The back issues seem to be in the rear-view and Johnson should be motivated to make something out of the second half of the season.
Middle of the Road: Bo Van Pelt (33 to 1 odds to win)
Van Pelt is quietly cashing a bunch of checks like he always does, missing only two cuts in fifteen starts with five top-10 finishes. Bo was 14th at Congressional last year and was T12 at the 2008 AT&T, so he should have a good feel for the course. He is one of the best drivers on Tour with the 8th best total driving stat and bookends that with the 12th best total putter. A very strong overall stat sheet makes for the 5th best all-around mark and it just seems unlikely that BVP can’t put it all together for a win one of these weeks.
Longshot: Jason Day (40 to 1 odds to win)
I’m sure Jason isa bit unsatisfied with his 2012 season but he still has just two trunk slams in ten starts and will look to build on his runner-up success that he managed at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional this week. Day has been alternating good starts with bad starts and is coming off a T59 finish so if that holds true again, good things are in store. Day is plenty long for Congressional, averaging over 300 yards per drive and adds a solid putting and scrambling game to that cannon off the tee. Longer players are always doomed by their mistakes and Jason has been limiting his mistakes in his better outings and should be able to free-wheel it a bit more now that the course is in it’s non-Major setup.
Head to Head Matches *picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite offshore sportsbook for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Nick Watney (-115) v. K.J. Choi (-115) (our pick to win: Choi)
You can all but forget that Watney is the defending champion this week, in fact, Choi has the Congressional win on the resume. With similar putting stats, Choi makes more birdies and is scoring better. Watney is having some troube hitting the fairways and that could spell some trouble this week as it can be difficult to hold the fast greens from the fescue roughs. Look for Choi to be the steadier player this week and the better bet.
Jim Furyk (-115) v. Adam Scott (-115) (our pick to win: Scott)
Fool me once…you know the rest, but we’re picking against Furyk again even though he burned us at the U.S. Open in a similar matchup. The difference this week is the additional 400 yards that Congressional has over Olympic Club and that swings a large advantage toward the much longer Scott. Both players hit about the same amount of greens but Scott has made more birdies despite having a statistically weaker putter. Furyk is a grinder but this week shouldn’t be quite the grind that Open was.