The Travelers Championship Preview

Coverage Presented by the TriState PGA

 

This weeks PGA Tour stop takes us to TPC River Highlands  in Cromwell Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. The defending champ Jordan Spieth is not only trying to come back from a disappointing US Open, but also from his general  poor play in recent weeks. He will face some major competition as he will be joined by 7  of the top 10 players in FedEx Points just a week after the US Open.

River Highlands is one of the shortest tracks the players will play this year with a par of 70, it spans only 6841 yards.   Although Jordan is not the longest hitter, a power has not been his issue.

Since joining the tour, his strongest attribute has been his putter and his ability to make the 15-20 foot putts with more frequency than the average player.

If you look at the current stats, he is averaging 1.77 per hole which sits him at 76th on the PGA Tour.   If you dive deeper, it only looks even worse. If you have watched him recently…. his struggles on the green are real. It is very difficult to repeat on tour, but to do it when you are struggling with your putter is nearly impossible.

Jordan won on his first trip to the Travelers which was last year which makes him 1 of 5 players to do this.  One of the reasons he was able to pull this off is because of an opening round 63.  It was his lowest opening round total in 143 starts on tour.

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As for the rest of the field, Jordan will be joined by these players in the top 10 in FedEx Point Rankings: Justin Thomas (2), Jason Day (4), Bryson DeChambeau (5), Patrick Reed (6), Patton Kizzire (8), Webb Simpson (9), Bubba Watson (10).

Nearly all of these players have an opportunity to win this week because all of them are trending in the right direction.

On the other hand, a golfer that is not trending in the right direction is Rory McIllroy.   Rory made a point of talking about how much golf he played the days prior to the Open, that were what he called “fun.” Looking back, although it may have helped his head prior to the US Open, it clearly did not help his game during the first two rounds.

He played with friends which made for more relaxed practice rounds.  If Rory can right the ship, he has the game to win this tournament.  Not to mention the fact that I am sure he would like to get his game in shape for the Open Championship coming up in the next few weeks.

With Brooks Koepka joining the event, it should set up for an exciting week.   With the win last week, he jumped into the Fed EX top 15.   Koepka tied for 9th in his last Travelers match which was 2016.

Fantasy Picks

Zac Weiss @ZacharyMWeiss

This week, Zac has Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson and as his sleeper… Rory Sabbatini.  Patrick Reed comes into the Tournament in good form, especially after the US Open Showing.

Bubba plays well in Connecticut, and although his game is not where it needs to be, his comfort with this TPC Course could be the difference.

Sabbatini comes in healthy finally which could be just what he needs to jump start his game.

 

Jason Havelka @DYSTPittsburgh

I also have Patrick Reed this week along with Bryson DeChambeau, Sam Saunders, and Webb Simpson.   Nearly half of the recent winners at the Travelers were first time winners. Which is why I chose Sam Saunders to step up and contend.

Both DeChambeau and Simpson are real contenders this week.  Simpson has been close recently and This could be an opportunity to grab a win.

As for my long shot, Drum roll please……………Jim Furyk.  Jim has history on this course.  He has played well recently not to mention a 3 good rounds at the US Open.  This venue is also a shorter track which  plays into his hands.

Josh Svetz:

My thought is to pivot off the big names. So no, I’m not taking Koepka or Thomas, but I would take one big name…
1. Rory Mcllroy: After a pretty terrible showing, which involved him missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Mcllroy returns relieved and ready to go. The 7th-ranked golfer in the world has a history of bouncing back big time after big disappointments like last last week. Even this year in PGA events, after placing 89th, 92nd and 63rd respectively, he followed those scores up with finishes in the top 3, including a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Look for the northern Irelander to be right in the mix for a win.
2. Paul Casey: The Englishman has been on fire this year. Only three times has Casey failed to finish in the top 20 in his last 23 starts and finds himself primed for another great finish. Last year, he handled TPC, ending up tied for 5th. With his confidence surging after another top-20 finish, he looks ready to go for his second PGA win of the year.
3. Marc Leishman: Despite his struggles as of late Leishman has a great history at TPC. He won it back in 2012 and has finished in the top-20 from 2014-2017. He’s one of the favorites coming into the field for good reason. Don’t get lost in some of the bigger names playing the course and look for the Aussie to have a chance at repeating his 2012 performance.
Longshot: Jim Furyk: Mr. 58, as we won’t soon forget, gets to play one of his favorite courses this week after a meltdown at the U.S. Open. Furyk has always played TPC well, even after his PGA record 58 in 2016, he proved it was no fluke, still finishing tied for 26th at TPC in 2017. With a course he loves and is familiar with, look for the Pittsburgher to be an excellent buy-low candidate.

Here is your Tee Times for Thursday and Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Jhavelka