This year's Booz Allen Classic makes a guest appearance at Congressional Country Club, site of two U.S. Opens and a PGA a classic design in almost every sense of the term. Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones Sr. are among the architects who have had a profound influence on the layout, which ends with a 190-yard par 3, but isn't likely to play as long or as tough as when Ernie Els beat Tom Lehman and Colin Montgomerie in 1997.
While there is virtually no data to help us identify a winner or a list of contenders this week, we can safely assume the PGA Tour will allow the rough to grow higher than usual, as is often the case the week before the U.S. Open. Congressional will separate those who are driving the ball well from the short and crooked hitters. It won't be a week where anybody gets a sniff of 20 under.
I figure Congressional will play like Quail Hollow Club, home of the Wachovia Championship and a former host of this tour stop when it was known as the Kemper Open. For that reason and maybe one other, I'm going with Sergio Garcia, who blew a big lead at the Wachovia but is still one of the better drivers in the game, particularly on courses that demand length and accuracy.
The other reason? Garcia is a two-time winner at Westchester Country Club, another tough, old-school venue known for its stout rough. He has played well in the late-spring throughout his career, and at this point, having missed consecutive cuts with Tiger Woods, Kenny Perry and Vijay Singh, I'm prepared to look my downslide straight in the eye.