PGA Tour – Travelers Championship: Preview

A superior field heads to the TPC River Highlands course in Connecticut for the Travelers Championship.

The tournament was never a major draw for players which has resulted in a lot of unexpected winners, such as Brent Geiberger (1999), Notah Begay III (2000) and Brad Faxon (2005). 

This all changed in 2007 after The Travelers Companies took over sponsorship in 2007, and the tournament was given a fixed slot in the calendar – played the week following the US Open. 

Big hitters dream

The course is one of the shortest on tour at around 6,800 yards with plenty of birdies on offer for players who are big off the tee. 

This picturesque course demands accuracy off the tee with plenty of trees, and water all around. Any player with aspirations of victory must score well on the two par 5’s. 

Anything less than a birdie on both the 6th and 13th will be unacceptable. 

The most exciting hole of the week will be the par-four 15th at 296 yards. The green is reachable off the tee, but with water to the left and sand to the right, the possibility of a double or triple bogey is as likely as an eagle or birdie. 

Who’s in with a chance? 

Two of the most successful players of all time at the championship are Americans Bubba Watson and Kevin Streelman. 

Bubba has had his issues off the course, but not in it, he has always performed at TPC River Highlands. 

Three wins and a runner-up position has helped him accumulate more prize money at the tournament than any other player. 

In second is the aforementioned Kevin Streelman who is still remembered for his walk-off run of seven straight birdies in 2014 to win the tournament by a stroke. 

At such a short course, Bryson DeChambeau and last year’s winner, Dustin Johnson, also cannot be ignored. 

Dechambeau, unsurprisingly, is ranked top on the tour for driving distance, but only 187th for accuracy which could be a major problem on such a tight course. 

Taking into consideration the importance of distance and accuracy off the tee, Paul Casey may be able to mount a challenge to continue his good form. 

The Englishman has finished T4 at the PGA Championship, sixth at the European Open and T7 at last week’s US Open and has a pair of runner-up finishes at the Travelers. 

It’s a matter of time before he wins his 22nd professional tournament, breaking a PGA tour losing streak that goes back to March 2019. 

History of low scoring

Since 2007, the winning score at the Travelers Championship has varied from as low as 258 in 2009 – Kenny Perry wonky three strokes – to as high as 268 in 2013 and more recently in 2017, when both Kenny Duke and Jordan Spieth claimed victory via a playoff. 

This year, the winner’s score is likely to be around 14-under par because of the trickier weather conditions expected on Thursday and Friday. 

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