Woods won a year ago in a wild week that featured extreme heat, a bizarre storm that toppled trees across the golf course and kept fans from attending on Saturday, and a late surge to get past Bo Van Pelt for a two-shot win at 8-under 276.
Only five other tournaments had a higher winning score last year, a list that includes the Masters and U.S. Open.
"Congressional can stand on its own two feet," Van Pelt said. "If you'd have played here two weeks ago, you probably could have had a U.S. Open if you wanted to. You know that coming in, and guys either like that and want to come play here, or they take this week off."
Woods is not taking this week off by choice. He hurt his left elbow a month ago, and doctors have advised rest and treatment to allow it to heal before the next two majors. Even so, the world's No. 1 player didn't want to miss out on defending his title on a course that has shown to identify some stout players.
"It's frustrating for me because I want to play, and I know how the golf course is set up right now, too, and I like the setup of it," Woods said. "The years that it's set up this way, I've done well."
It's the kind of test that Day did not want to miss. Asked if he preferred the harder courses, Day's eyes lit up and he said, "Tough, yes."
"Just takes out the riff-raff, I guess," he said.
It was a reference to games, not names. This is not a place where players can get by without their best stuff.
Scott won the now-defunct Booz Allen Classic the one year it was held at Congressional. Since the AT&T National began in 2007, the list of winners is K.J. Choi, Anthony Kim and Woods the last two times.
Scott said Congressional was the primary reason he put the AT&T on his limited schedule. Now he hopes to see something good come out of the week.
"This is the time of the year where I play, and I need to be ready and play myself into form," Scott said. "Especially after the U.S. Open, I feel a result is needed, just some kind of result to keep the confidence high and move over to Europe feeling like I'm ready to compete. I want to contend. It's been since the Masters that I've really been in contention. So getting those feelings would be nice again."