We're back! After an awesome US Open, we hit the 3-week window until the Open Championship at Royal St. George's. We've got the Travelers, the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, and the John Deere before we go across the pond.
First up is the Travelers in Cromwell, CT. With players resting up after the US Open grind, the field is a bit light but still pretty respectable this week. Last year this tournament was stacked as the 3rd event played after the COVID break. Dustin Johnson won with a -19 performance including 4 rounds in the 60's. He's back in the field again, but he's not the favorite. More on that later.
Last year's leaderboard and recent winners:
TPC River Highlands is a par 70 measuring 6,841 yards. It's yet another Pete Dye design, and it's one of the shortest courses on Tour. Only Pebble Beach measures shorter. That short length lends an opportunity to any kind of player to contend at this course. If you're one of the shorter hitting players on Tour, you're probably throwing this on your schedule. Last year's leaderboard (Streelman, Na, Armour) and past winners (Reavie, Spieth, Streelman, Duke) support that notion as well. The fairways are pretty generous as well, so the ability to hit the ball off the tee is about as minimized here as anywhere on Tour. It's all about who can dial those wedges in and score.
Best Hole Par 4 15th, 296 yards
Driveable par 4's on back 9's are what dreams are made of. All kinds of excitement at play here. It's got an elevated green with 3 tiers and swales that make the green look larger and more difficult to hold than it really is. That's Pete Dye to a T. The water to the left is hard to ignore as well, especially with everything sloping off that direction. Great opportunity to pick up one or two strokes coming in and should play a big part of the result on Sunday.
Muggy but not too warm. Touch of wind. Not much to report here.
Thursday: Golf Channel 3-6 PM ET
Friday: Golf Channel 3-6 PM ET
Saturday: Golf Channel 1-3 PM, CBS 3-6 PM ET
Sunday: Golf Channel 1-3 PM, CBS 3-6 PM ET
This is just so tremendously boring. Not worth my breath. Jacket is a yawnfest too. 2/10.
Bryson DeChambeau is the betting favorite at +1100 at the Barstool Sportsbook. He finished T-6 here last year when he was pretty much at the peak of his bulking and went on to win the next week at the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit. He was probably in better form then than he is now (not to say that he's struggling, in spite of that 77 last Sunday), so I'm gonna pass on Bryson.
I'm going to take a name that fits the profile of a guy who is great with a wedge in his hands and has been playing well of late. That's Paul Casey at +1600. He backdoored a top 10 last week and he's played well at this tournament over the years. He's played this tournament 6 times and has never missed the cut. Better yet, he's finished Top 5 in 4 of those starts including two runner-ups. Research shows that there's some course correlation between here and Innisbrook where Casey's won twice. Paul Casey's the play.
Bubba Watson To Win +4000 - There's a few courses on this Earth where you simply have to bet Bubba. He's won here three times. Nuff said
Abraham Ancer To Win +2500 - Suuuuper popular pick this week and plays a similar game to Casey's.
Cameron Smith To Win +4500 - Two straight MC's on tough courses but I think he's too good a player to be +4500. Especially at a place where putting and scoring will be a premium. A birdiefest will get him back on track.
Rickie Fowler Top 10 +550 - Don't look now but Rickie might be back. T-8 and T-11 in his last two starts. Buy the dip.
Garrick Higgo Top 10 +600 - You kidding me with this line? After that W two weeks ago? Putting my Palmetto winnings on this one.
Guido Migliozzi Top 10 +1000 - Hit on his Top 10 +4000 last week, hope you rode with that one. We're back aboard this week.
Tony Finau To Win +2500 - (WARNING: This is merely a FOMO pick. Been chasing that Tony win for like 4 fucking years and there's just no way I'm going to miss the boat. I actually hate his fit to this course so that means this is probably his week. This pick will be a mainstay here for the foreseeable future, ride or don't.)