on July 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Tiger has extra incentive to win at Congressional

BETHESDA, Maryland (Reuters) – Tiger Woods said his role as host of this week’s $6 million AT&T National provided an added incentive to finish top of the leaderboard at Congressional Country Club.

“It is fun winning your own event,” the 33-year-old world number one told reporters Tuesday. “No doubt. It is awfully fun to do that.”

Woods headlines a 120-player field at pristine Congressional, site of the 2011 U.S. Open. The four-day event at the 7,255-yard, par 70 course outside Washington, D.C., begins Thursday.

Among those also entered are newly crowned U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, 2008 AT&T winner Anthony Kim, world number three Paul Casey and triple major winner Vijay Singh.

World number five Sergio Garcia and three-times major champion Padraig Harrington sit out the AT&T, preparing instead for next month’s British Open by playing the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond next week.

Woods, still searching for his first major of the year, sat out the 2008 AT&T while he recuperated from knee surgery.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend last year,” he said. “I was at home watching it on the couch, and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun.”

The 14-times major winner said he was thrilled to have his injury behind him, adding that it “feels good to wake up in the morning and not ache, not want to move out of bed.”

“I went through all of that,” he said. “I don’t want to go through that again. It feels great to be back. What my surgeons and trainers did to get me to this point has been great.

“I feel so good getting up and doing things each and every day.

“I’m able to play with (children) Sam and carry Charlie around and do all those different things. I was really struggling with it for a while.”

Woods is expected to be challenged for the $1 million winner’s prize by Kim, who won the AT&T title a year ago in a demonstrative wire-to-wire victory. Kim said the triumph “definitely elevated my confidence.”

The native Californian, seen by many as having as much potential as anyone on the tour, said he will remain patient as he improves his game.

“I just turned 24 ten days ago,” said Kim, who finished tied for 16th at the U.S. Open at Bethpage two weeks ago. “I have no pressure from anybody. I want to play great golf. I want to win golf tournaments.

“I’m here to do that, but at the same time, I have so much to look forward to.

“I heard you don’t hit your peak at golf until 31, 33 years old, so I have a long way to go.

“I have a long career ahead of me, and as long as I stay positive and keep working hard, I should be in pretty good shape.”

(Editing by Justin Palmer)