Enjoy your PGA-golf fix now while you can. The AT&T National, hosted by Tiger Woods, kicks off Thursday with a strong field including Woods, US Open winner Lucas Glover, and last year’s champion, Anthony Kim. But the tournament, held at Congressional Country Club since 2007, will move to Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011, because the Bethesda club is hosting the US Open in 2011.
Woods, who couldn’t play last year due to surgery on his left knee, said at a press conference on Tuesday that he hoped the tournament could return to the area in 2012.
“The relationship we’ve built in this community is fantastic. We want to be here for perpetuity,” he said, adding that the move to Philadelphia is “unfortunate.”
Woods answered the media’s questions for about 30 minutes, wearing a pink polo shirt and sipping on Gatorade Tiger throughout. Usually, Woods alone is enough to bring the crowds out in droves, but golf’s biggest name may have given Washingtonians even more reason to visit the course: He invited one of Washington’s biggest enemies, Tony Romo, to the tournament’s Pro-Am kickoff Wednesday morning.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback will play with Woods in the Pro-Am, and Romo’s girlfriend, pop star Jessica Simpson, will sing the national anthem.
“He’s used to being booed,” Woods said. “That’s what comes with playing a team sport and being away from home.”
Woods didn’t seem too worried about the crowd, though, and said Romo is a fantastic golfer, who has attempted to qualify for the US Open in the past.
“It’s going to be a fun round, an interesting round,” Woods said. “I certainly didn’t realize it would be this big of a deal.”
Another big name who could possibly be in attendance this weekend is Barack Obama. Woods extended an invitation to the President, who has increasingly been seen hanging out on the links. But Woods joked that there “might be a few things on [Obama’s] plate,” so he wasn’t planning on seeing him.
But with his hands more full than usual organizing the event, will Woods be focused on winning?
“I love being a greedy host,” he said. “It’s fun winning your own event.”
Limited tickets are still available at http://www.attnational.org.