BETHESDA, USA (AFP) — Tiger Woods and the US PGA Tour's National return to Congressional Country Club this week for the first time since 2009, when the 14-time major champion won the event he hosted.
The event moved to suburban Philadelphia for the past two years while Congressional prepared for and hosted the 2011 US Open, which Rory McIlroy won while Woods was idled with nagging left knee and Achilles tendon injuries.
Now the event is back in suburban Washington starting today and Woods is back in a hosting role, his charity foundation receiving proceeds from the event, and on solid form after a victory earlier this month at the Memorial.
Woods grabbed a share of the 36-hole lead at this year's US Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco but faded at the weekend, although he saw signs that give him hope for future majors, including next month's British Open.
"Overall, the way I struck the golf ball, I was very pleased by that," Woods said. "I didn't particularly chip or putt well that week, something that I had done at Memorial, and at the Open that's one of the things you have to do.
"I made a bunch of putts from 8 to 10 feet and in, but I didn't make any other putts. I played very conservative. My game plan worked for the first couple days. I need to hit the ball a little bit closer than I did that week."
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, is level with Nicklaus for second on the all-time US PGA win list, each of them on 73, nine back of Sam Snead's record 82 career triumphs.
"The fact that he won at age 52, when he won Greensboro, and to do it for that long is amazing, truly amazing," Woods said of Snead.
Woods contrasts the record of Snead and the major record of Nicklaus to his friend Roger Federer passing Pete Sampras to set the record of 16 Grand Slam tennis titles, while Jimmy Connors owns the all-time record of 109 career ATP crowns.