Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Does the AT&T National have enough names?

The AT&T National doesn't exactly have an ideal spot on the schedule when trying to attract worldwide names.

Does the AT&T National have enough names?


The AT&T National doesn't exactly have an ideal spot on the schedule when trying to attract worldwide names.

The tournament released its list of commitments on Friday, and none of the top 14 players in the World Golf Rankings will be visiting Aronimink Golf Club next week.

Seven of the top 14 in the world are Europeans and most of them are preparing for the lead-up to the British Open in three weeks. The French Open is the same week as the AT&T National, and that is followed by the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

At a quick glance, the only European in the field is Justin Rose, the defending champion.

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The Americans also are resting up for the Open Championship. That means no Steve Stricker, no Phil Mickelson, no Matt Kuchar, nor Dustin Johnson nor Bubba Watson, all in the top 14.

So that leaves Nick Watney (No. 15 in the rankings), K.J. Choi (16), Jim Furyk (19) and Hunter Mahan (20) as the top 20 players in the field.

However, that doesn't exactly mean the cupboard is bare when it comes to the list of participants in Newtown Square. There are 11 winners of 2011 PGA Tour events competing at Aronimink, including two-time winner Mark Wilson.

The tournament may have just six of the top 20 on the money list but they also have 23 of the next 30, including Gary Woodland and Jhonattan Vegas, the talk of the tour earlier in the year.

You've got players of interest to the Philadelphia area in Furyk and Sean O'Hair. You've got three-time major champions Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. You've got three past winners of the AT&T National in Rose, Choi and Anthony Kim. And the fourth past winner -- Tiger Woods -- will be on site Tuesday and Wednesday while he recovers from injuries.

Speaking of majors, there are major champs such as Lucas Glover, Geoff Ogilvy and Justin Leonard. There's also Robert Garrigus and Kevin Chappell, who tied for low American honors at the U.S. Open at Congressional.

How about crowd favorites such as Rickie Fowler, Camilo Villegas, Rocco Mediate, Boo Weekley and Adam Scott? Trevor Immelman has won the Masters, and he also finished as runnerup in the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur played at Aronimink.

Then there's the courageous Erik Compton, who has undergone two heart transplant surgeries.

So there's plenty going on next weekend. If you're hot on big names, maybe the field is a little disappointing. But it's your last chance to see PGA Tour golf in the Philadelphia area for a while, and that could be worth a few hours of your time.

--Joe Juliano


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