Preview: Travelers Championship

Plenty of LIVE RUNNERS this week but the trend points to the 30+ crowd.

Dustin Johnson is back to defend at TPC River Highlands.

Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

Cromwell, Connecticut

Yards (per official scorecard):6,841
Par:70 (35-35)
Greens:Poa annua; 5,000 square feet.
Stimpmeter:12 feet.
Rough:Bluegrass, fescue pushing four inches.
Architects:Pete Dye (1982); Bobby Weed (1989); PGATOUR (2016).
Purse:$7.4 million and $1.332 million (winner); 500 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion (event):Dustin Johnson, -19.
Fact of the Week:Easiest Par-70 on TOUR last season.
Fact of the Week II:Only two courses on TOUR are shorter.


  • 156 players; Top 65 make the cut.

2020-21 Winners

** – first time winner on TOUR

Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz**
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa
Arnold Palmer InvitationalBryson DeChambeau (2)
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas
The Honda ClassicMatt Jones
WGC- Match PlayBilly Horschel
Corales PuntacanaJoel Dahmen**
Valero Texas OpenJordan Spieth
85th Masters TournamentHideki Matsuyama
RBC HeritageStewart Cink (2)
Zurich Classic of New OrleansCameron Smith/Marc Leishman
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns
Wells Fargo ChampionshipRory McIlroy
AT&T Byron NelsonKH Lee
103rd PGA ChampionshipPhil Mickelson
Charles Schwab ChallengeJason Kokrak (2)
Memorial TournamentPatrick Cantlay (2)
Palmetto Championship (Congaree)Garrick Higgo**
121st US OpenJon Rahm

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details on those who play well here.

Event Winners:

2020Dustin Johnson -19Trailed by two after 54, won by a shot over Kevin Streelman.
2019Chez Reavie -17Led by SIX after 54, cruised to victory.
2018Bubba Watson -17Trailed by SIX after 54, shot 63 to win by three.
2017Jordan Spieth -12Holed a bunker shot to defeat Daniel Berger in a playoff. Neither are entered this week.
2016Russell Knox -14Held off 47-year old Jerry Kelly to win by one.
2015Bubba Watson -16Opened with 62, defeated Paul Casey in a playoff for his second win here.
2014Kevin Streelman -15Birdied the final seven holes to win by one.

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record:258(-22); Kenny Perry (2009)
Course Record:58 (-12); Jim Furyk (2016), Round 4.
Recent Defending Champion(s):Phil Mickelson (2001-02).
Multiple Winners (event)Bubba Watson (2018, 2015, 2010), Phil Mickelson (2001, 2002) and Stewart Cink (2008, 1997).
Oldest  Winner:Kenny Perry, 48, 2009.
Youngest Winner:Jordan Spieth, 23, 2017.
First Time TOUR:Ken Duke (2013), Freddie Jacoboson (2011) and Bubba Watson (2010) are the most recent.
Odd Fact:Jordan Spieth is the only debut winner in recent memory.
Odd Fact II:TPC River Highlands have hosted every event since 1984.  

Quick Thoughts on TPC River Highlands

After one of the longest, it’s on to one of the shortest on TOUR.

One of the easiest Par-70 on TOUR suggests the door is open for all.

30-somethings (veterans) have picked up most of the trophies recently.

6 straight winners have led the field in Par-4 scoring.

Defense this week is bushy rough and four water hazards on risk-reward holes.

Veterans tend to know when to swerve danger rather than attack it head-on.

Greens run nicely so it’s not surprising putts go in.

I never worry about who played/didn’t play last week. These schedules are made in advance and the planning isn’t done last minute. Private jets are also very nice, fast and comfortable.

I also never worry about who misses a cut at the hardest event on the schedule. Don’t let MC last week sway you. This week ain’t gonna be set up like that!

There were 27 rounds of 64 or better here last June. TWENTY SEVEN.

I read only Waste Management gets more fans so expect a noisy week, in a good way!

Let’s recap last week first:

Last Week – 121st United States Open

Jon Rahm (+900): Absolutely ridiculous number in a field with 50 of the OWGR top 50 playing. The book’s job is not to give away money so you’ll have to take a deep breath and then swallow it. Not many on his level after Memorial but he’s never won a major. He has now!

Dustin Johnson (+1600): Stopped playing FIO after the 2017 edition after playing nine of the 10 previous years. The appearance fees in the Middle East? Disdain for the track? Anyhow, I was disappointed in his weekend last week at Congaree. Was it the “home town pressure”? Couldn’t hit any fairways or greens last week. T19.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1800): We’ll see if he can cut thru the Kikuyu like he did the ryegrass at Winged Foot. This time around he will not have a level playing field (nobody basically plays Winged Foot) where his super powers can just carry the day. There are plenty in this field who know how to get it around Torrey South. Never played the weekend or broke 70 in four rounds here. Epic collapse for 44 on the back for T26.

Brooks Koepka (+1800): Bet him blind in this event. If he’s playing, he’s contending. Across the board, Win, Top 10 and Top 20. Always nice to win 2 out of 3. T4 will do that.

Xander Schauffele (+1800): Has done everything in this event except win it and finish outside the top 6. That’s amazing. Toss in Torrey is in his backyard and we have a developing situation. Across the board as well. T7 and cash 2 more tickets.

Jordan Spieth (+2000): I wrote in OAD that I’m interested to see which version shows up this week. He’s played the TOUR event six times and has one (T19) inside T35. I know he’s in form. I’ll enjoy the theatre but I’m not buying a ticket. Another T19 after opening with 77, so bravo. That tells me this is working.

Rory McIlroy (+2000): The breakthrough came on a course he knows like the back of his hand. The momentum didn’t last as he relived the vibes of 2012 at Kiawah but not the golf. He likes Torrey South (T16, T3 and T5 last three editions) so maybe that helps. 4-under on 10 tee and comes home in 39. Another major, another major disappointment even though he was T7.

Collin Morikawa (+2200): Can get back to just being a one-time major non-defending champion. West coast kid on a west coast track and not many hit it better. T21 on debut here in January suggests, as we already knew, he’s a very quick study. T4 suggests he is about as legit as it gets on Poa/West Coast.

Justin Thomas (+2200): It’s been pointed out in here a few times his win at THE PLAYERS was the exception, not the rule. Thomas historically heats up as summer hits and rolls on. The evidence is the WGC-FESJC and East Lake. Not many burn bright from opening day thru the final week. T19, solid.

Patrick Cantlay (+2500): Not many win the week before or the event before. MC-T51-MC in three visits to Torrey doesn’t inspire. Too many dots that have to connect. Yes, he was in my EXPERTS PICKS lineup Monday before I dug deeper. Minds can change. Glad I changed him for Koepka in Expert Picks! T15 wasn’t terrible but he’s not Koepka.

Viktor Hovland (+2500): Only three players who have NOT won majors have shorter odds (Rahm, Schauffele and Cantlay) so that tells you what the books think of the Norwegian. Eye deal. WD.

Tony Finau (+2800): Loves the hardest tracks possible and I love him on those courses. The West coast vibe, Kikuyu, and having zero pressure or expectations won’t hurt either. Across the board. Give almost all of it back! MC damp fart.

Patrick Reed (+2800): Doing the double less than six months apart on the same routing would be one hell of a story. I don’t think Reed cares about narratives or anything except getting the ball in the hole. Dominant here in January as the only player double digits under par as he won by five. Across the board. Super 67 Sunday to cash T19 but two more losers.

33-1 or worse

Hideki Matsuyama (+4000): Masters win, Tokyo hangover. Just one top 10 in eight visits to the South Course. T26

Will Zalatoris (+4000): All he does is top 10 at majors haha. Oh and T7 here on debut in January. Take my money! Top 10. Top 20. MC and not even close. Riding a bit of the roller coaster since his engagement. Noted. Also 2 bets lost noted.

Tyrrell Hatton (+4500): First visit didn’t bother him at Congaree. Different class of track and field here. I like the form and I like his game. He was hot entering Winged Foot and crashed early. I’ve just talked myself out of him. I think. MC.

Scottie Scheffler (+4500): Top 50 GIR and Fairways but shot 79 here on the South Course in January. T7 suggests he’s figured it out. Two top 10s in the two west coast majors. Written down.

Shane Lowry (+4500): Shit fire hot. Across the board. He’s playing with the house’s money for eternity after winning at Royal Portrush. Across the board. Gas tank empty. T65 L L L

Paul Casey (+4500): Last player to win in their 40s was Payne Stewart. Made the cut on the number, cashed T7, second consecutive major in the top 10.

Louis Oosthuizen (+5000): Can I bet him to just finish second? Top 10. Top 20. HOE MY GUARD WHAT WOUULD THAT HAVEEEE PAIDDDDD??? Two winners here.

Abraham Ancer (+6600): Full bag. Playing great. Across the board. Nine straight in the top 25 and three of the last four in the top 8. MC = 3L.

Jason Kokrak (+6600): T29 or better in four of his last five at Torrey. Top 20. Ok, that was fun while it lasted. MC L.

Anybody from San Diego: Hoffman has the most heat. Phil has the most hate for the place. Spaun is struggling a bit.

Anybody from South Africa: Kikuyu won’t bother them as much as the others.

Longer Shots

Brian Harman (+12500): T18 or better in six of his last seven. T19.

Kevin Streelman (+15000): Too many good tournaments. Best major was Kiawah T8. Momentum definitely rolling here. Top 10. Top 20. Nice pair of winners for T15!

Chez Reavie (+27500): Top 20. T40.

Brendan Steele: Top 20. MC.

Tom Hoge (+40000): Top 40. T46 HAHAHA

Wyndham Clark (+40000): Top 40. MC

Tyler Strafaci (+75000): To make the cut. Narrator: He did not make the cut.

This Week – Travelers Championship

Bryson DeChambeau (+1400): I like this more than I liked Jon Rahm at +850 at the US Open! Pride to bounce back after 44 should be on full display on a track that he’s enjoyed in bomber life and pre-bomber life. I will NOT talk you out of this.

Dustin Johnson (+1400): I’d bet he would NOT be here if he wasn’t the defending champion. Omit.

Patrick Cantlay (+1600): The legend grew when he shot 60 as an amateur in 2011. He’s never hit the top 10 but has four top 25s in six starts.

Paul Casey (+1800): Tell him it’s Valspar and get to the window. Plenty of close calls here and will feel he’s paid his dues. I’m paying for him this week across the board, Win, Top 10, Top 20.

Brooks Koepka (+2200): Best finish came when he wasn’t arriving fresh off a US Open win. That box is also checked this week. I’m not checking it but you can.

Patrick Reed (+2200): When he makes the cut, it’s T17 or better. When he makes the cut here, it’s usually T30 or better. Closed 67 last week and 64 last year. Top 10, Top 20.

Scottie Scheffler (+2500): Didn’t fire at Colonial but excels on monster tracks. Three of the last four in the top 10 includes two majors and Memorial. Top 10, Top 20.

Brian Harman (+2500): Top 20 heavy.

Abraham Ancer (+2500): He’ll test my theory about ignoring poor US Open results. His worst TOUR check in 2021 is T26, nine straight times before last week.  I’ll let YOU test MY theory haha.

33-1 or worse

Kevin Streelman (+3300): I can’t quit now, not on a course where he’s a former champ. Across the board.

Harris English (+4500): Top 20.

Bubba Watson (+4500): Win or bust. Worth a punt here to say the least.

Keegan Bradley (+5000): Top 10 and Top 20.

Rickie Fowler (+6000): Better get on here just in case. Skinny win ticket plus Top 10 and Top 20.

Longer Shots

Doc Redman (+9000): T2 last time out was second top 10 in four events. Top 20 minimum.

Marc Leishman (+9000): Nice price for a former winner who’s won this year at Zurich with Cam Smith. Skinny win ticket.

Aaron Wise (+9000): T9 bookends in his last four on TOUR.  Top 20.

Mackenzie Hughes (+12500): FRL or T-FRL his last two trips. So skinny FRL!

Brendan Steele (+12500): 6 top 25s in 8 starts. Top 20 heavy.

Brandt Snedeker (+12500): Ride the heat to Top 20 town.

Seamus Power (+12500): Monday Q has been cashing checks including T19 and T9 in his last two. Top 20 please.

Funny Money

CT Pan (+17500)

Will Gordon (+20000)

KH Lee (+25000)

Hank Lebioda (+25000)

Satoshi Kodaira (+27500)

Nick Taylor (+27500)

Beau Hossler (+30000)

Rob Oppenheim (+30000)

Adam Schenk (+35000)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me


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