At AT&T National, remembering those who serve

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Tiger Woods shakes hands with Marine Lance Cpl. Jason Deters of Cincinnati, Oh., who was tending the pin on the 17th hole June 29 during Round Two of the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. (Rob Carr / Getty Images)

The PGA has a tradition of  saying “thank you” to the troops in one way or another, especially at the Congressional course.

Fans were allowed back on the Congressional Country Club’s course on Sunday to watch Tiger Woods win the AT&T National. While much, if not all, of the media covering the tournament has been fixated on the storm that came through the Washington, D.C., area Friday night — turning the golf course into a hyperbolic war zone — there are other things going on.

Directly inside the main gate, spectators are given the opportunity to send deployed troops a care package or just a quick note thanking them for their service.

It doesn’t stop there.

The Lockheed Martin Military Pavilion, overlooking the 17th green,  provides service members the opportunity to see the action up close. Although many of the people inside taking advantage of the air conditioning and free hot dogs are not in the military, parked right out front is a HMMWV, reminding everyone who walks by of those who had a “prior engagement.”

Possibly the most touching acknowledgement of our troops’ sacrifice is the “We Salute Our Heroes” wall. Everyone is encouraged by the course staff to write something on the wall for our troops. From young to old, a wide range of people are taking time away from the excitement of the tournament to pour their hearts out to deployed troops and thank them for their service.

Of course, if this were all about the troops, Pvt. Joe would be teeing off on the 3rd hole right now. That simply isn’t the case.

Everyone came out here to have fun and watch some of the best golfers in the world battle each other and the blistering Maryland heat. But the PGA is making a strong case for what is really important.

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