Whew, are you ready for more golf this week? Following last week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, we get a great redux this week at TPC at River Highlands. A strong field replete with some former amateurs you’ve gotten familiar with headline what should be a great 2019 Travelers Championship.
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: Travelers Championship | When: June 20-23
Where: TPC at River Highlands — Cromwell, Connecticut
Ranking the field (odds)
- Paul Casey: Two straight top-five finishes at this event, and three in his last four years. The leader in strokes gained at this tournament over the last nine years.
- Bubba Watson: Three-time (!) champion here, and it’s one of about four courses on the PGA Tour where he feels comfortable.
- Brooks Koepka: Regular PGA Tour stops need to figure out how to trick Koepka into thinking their events are major championships.
- Patrick Cantlay: He shot a 60 here as an amateur in 2011. After a bad start at Pebble Beach, he played the weekend in 4 under.
- Francesco Molinari: Feels like the perfect spot for him. Hasn’t played here in three years, and he was a much different golfer three years ago than he is now.
- Jason Day: T21 last week at the U.S. Open, and T12 last year in Connecticut.
- Justin Thomas: Short game wasn’t there at Pebble Beach, but it’s encouraging that he gained strokes from tee to green.
- Bryson DeChambeau: He’s improved every year he’s played this event, and finished in the top 10 last year.
- Viktor Hovland: He missed out on a lot of money last week at the U.S. Open when he finished T14 as an amateur. He should make up for it quickly.
- Jordan Spieth: I’m still not a big believer because of the way he’s hitting it, but he has a good history here and it could click (finally) this week.
Field strength — A: If I’m grading on a curve, any tournament following a major that gets Koepka, Spieth, Thomas, Day and Phil Mickelson is probably actually an A+.
Three things to know
1. Bubba’s kingdom: Bubba Watson has 12 PGA Tour wins in his career, and eight of them have come at three courses. Two at Augusta National, three at Riviera and three at TPC at River Highlands. He also has two additional top-five finishes on this course, is the defending champion and didn’t shoulder any weight of playing the weekend at a major like many of the other stars in this tournament did last week at Pebble Beach.
2. Am central: Four golfers in this week’s field — Matthew Wolff, Justin Suh, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland — were all college superstars and all project as future stars on the PGA Tour. For the first time as pros, they’ll all play in the same tournament, and I am very, very excited.
3. Travelers status: Great strides have been made by this event to create one of the sneaky great tournaments of the summer. The field is tremendous for the week after a major, and players rave about the locale. And that finish? It might be the best non-major close in golf.
- 2018: Bubba Watson
- 2017: Jordan Spieth
- 2016: Russell Knox
- 2015: Bubba Watson
- 2014: Kevin Streelman
Travelers Championship picks
Winner: Patrick Cantlay — It’s not with a lot of conviction that I make this pick, but I think he’s probably the best current non-major golfer in the field this week. He finished T15 last year.
Top 10: Paul Casey — Only 22 golfers have defeated him at this tournament in the last four years. That’s incredible, especially considering he’s never won it. He is to the Travelers Championship as Luke Donald is to the RBC Heritage.
Sleeper: Matthew Wolff — I just cannot help myself!