Shotgun Start: Previewing the AT&T National at Congressional

It's tournament time! The PGA Tour heads south down I-95 to famed Congressional Country Club for the AT&T National. Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared for the week.

The course: Usually a return to a U.S. Open site one year later for a PGA Tour event would bring a collective sigh of relief from the field. But that doesn't appear to be the case this year at Congressional. Just 12 months after Rory McIlroy blistered the course to the tune of 16-under (a U.S. Open record), golfers in this week's field at the AT&T National said the course is playing firm and fast, which should be a huge change from last year when heavy rains turned golf's most grueling test into a birdie bonanza.

Since Congressional last hosted the AT&T National back in 2009, the par 71 course has been bumped up 314 yards to 7,574. As opposed to some of the usual tour stops on the schedule, it's tough to say how the course is going to play since it hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event in the last couple of years. It ranked as the 10th-hardest course on tour in 2009, but that was before changes were made. One thing we do know is that the warm weather and lack of rain will have the course playing more like a U.S. Open track this week.

The course has a number of memorable holes, but the par-4 15th stands out as Congressional's sternest test. At 490 yards, the additional length makes it a tough hole; the addition of four bunkers on a hole that bends to the left means you have no room to bailout with your tee shot. Assuming you hit a drive that finds the fairway, you'll be faced with what is arguably the toughest approach shot of the day to an elevated green that has three deep bunkers guarding the front and right side.

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. It'll be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday; and on CBS from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The field: As you'd expect for a tournament hosted by Tiger Woods, the field is pretty stout. Tiger, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, K.J. Choi and Nick Watney are the marquee names at Congressional. Other notables include Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth (2012 U.S. Open low amateur), Jason Day, Harris English and Gary Woodland.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the AT&T National's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!

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