The PGA Tour travels to Maryland this week for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. Bill Haas is defending champion and Tiger Woods is back in action.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour travels to Maryland this week for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. Bill Haas is defending champion and Tiger Woods is back in action.

The big story this week is the return to competitive action of Tiger Woods, following three months off because of undergoing back surgery. According to coach Sean Foley, he’ll be taking it steadily, day by day, but the fans and the players are glad to have the former World Number 1 playing again.

“The golfing world needs Tiger Woods,” said Jason Day. “He’s made the golfing world, and especially professional golf, into what it is today. It’s great to have him back.”

This event was known as the AT&T National between 2007 and 2013. The first instalment was won by K.J. Choi of South Korea and, since then, the champions have been Anthony Kim, Tiger Woods (in 2009 and 2012,) Justin Rose, Nick Watney and Bill Haas.

Last season, Haas produced an excellent closing round of 66 to beat Roberto Castro by three strokes.

Congressional Country Club was established in 1924 and some of the most prominent men in the USA at the time were founding members. They included, Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson, William Taft and William C. Carnegie.

The Blue Course was originally designed by Devereut Emmet in 1924 but was then redesigned by Rees Jones in 1989. The layout has been used in numerous significant competitions over the years, including the US Open on three occasions, most recently in 2011.

It’s generally one of the most challenging courses visited by the PGA Tour. Last year, the average score was 1.124 over par.

As always at this time of year in this part of the States, there’s the possibility of thunderstorms interrupting play this week. Temperatures are likely to be high throughout the tournament.

Venue: Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Maryland
Date: Jun 26-29
Course stats: par 71, 7,569 yards
Purse: $6,500,000 Winner: $1,170,000
Defending Champion: Bill Haas (-12)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 27 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 28 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player Watch:
Jason Day – The Australian seems to be back to top form after his thumb injury. He was tied fourth in the U.S. Open and was second in the U.S. Open of 2011 held at Congressional.

Brendon Todd – He won the Byron Nelson Championship then had two further top-10 finishes in consecutive weeks. He would have been in contention at the U.S. Open had it not been for a third round 79 – he still finished in a tie for 17th.

K.J. Choi – The South Korean won the first Quicken Loans National back in 2007. He was tied second last week in Connecticut, posting four solid rounds in the 60s. He and Sergio Garcia were only beaten by Streelman’s incredible, seven-birdie finish.

Key hole: 18th. This is an incredibly tough finishing hole. In the 2011 U.S. Open it offered up just 23 birdies over the four days. A 523 yard par 4, it requires two long and accurate shots. The drive must be played down the left side but the challenge really comes with the approach. Water waits in front, to the left and behind the green while a collection of bunkers protect the right side of the putting surface.