No fear, this week the PGA Tour returns to where the grass is really greener. Literally. No Florida Gator whining, no putting on broccoli or even cauliflower, just normal parkland golf we're used to seeing on TV and playing on the weekends.
The Travelers Championship is played at TPC River Highlands, and they've been playing a tournament here for about 30 years (and in the area for over 80 years). It is now a par 70 as it is "only" 6,800 yards. So you'll likely see a few low numbers, and golfers will be teeing off with less than driver and trying to matriculate deep rough and tighter fairways and (gosh forbid) balls that don't run out 70 yards or roll back 40 yards and actually stay on the green when you hit them (In case you missed it, all this is an allusion to the US Open last week played on a dirt track that was a tad firm).
And this course has a bit of Red & Black history. Bubba Watson secured his first professional win in 2010 here, and in dramatic fashion too. This is where the public started it's love affair with Bubba, and it was cemented with his 2012 Masters victory. Bubba was dealing with his dad's terminal cancer and he showed quite a bit of emotion after the win.
We have a pretty good Classic City contingency showing up in Connecticut this week as well, with seven UGA golfers set to tee it up this weekend. They're listed below with world golf ranking and FedEx Cup ranking in parentheses:
Erik Compton (120, 104): Had made 8 of his last 9 cuts, but missed the weekend at the US Open. There has been some nice coverage of his story and the work he does for Donate Life, which is an organ donation organization. He's pretty much the face of the organization, and you can't find a more worthy cause nor a more worthy spokesperson.
Harris English (73,35): Didn't qualify for the Open, and has cooled off just a smidge as the days lengthen. His 3rd round scoring average was the key to early season success, but it has risen with the temperature. Make no mistake, he hits it long and has all the shots. I'm looking for a bounceback week.
Brian Harman (91,96): He had missed 3 of 5 cuts but has two top 10's sandwiching those short weeks. So that's how he's climbed into the top 100 of the world. Missed the cut last week, but hey... so did Tiger Woods.
Lee McCoy - a rising senior still matriculating in Athens, Lee qualified for the US Open and was granted a sponsors exemption to this tournament a few weeks ago. He will also be playing in the John Deere Classic (Harman won last year) later this summer. Still no word on his pro status, but I think he's gearing up for the US Amateur being played in August.
Hudson Swafford (253,88): His FedEx cup ranking reflects making 5 of his last 6 cuts and 7 of 9. But these are not the big tourneys and he hasn't qualified for any majors in a while, so that depresses his world ranking. Remember than Kevin Kisner started this year at 250+, and he's now ranked 46th. It can happen.
Brendon Todd (53,62): Usually very consistent in making cuts and top 50s, but has had an up and down spring/early summer. He missed the cut last weekend too, and voiced his displeasure but at least he didn't make an ass of himself (I'm looking at you Florida. And I have it on very good authority that we hate Florida).
Bubba Watson (5,12). He missed his first cut last week at the US Open (recurring theme), but it was discussed and this was no surprise. He found plenty of things to blame his play on, and some of them were even justified. But even with only playing 8 tournaments so far this season, he's still 5th in the world, down from #2 back in February. Blame that Speith kid for jumping him in the rankings - I smell a UT/Big 12 bias here.
TV coverage returns to those who know how to do it, namely CBS. I don't want to bash Fox, but I don't like Fox and think they've not good. Okay, maybe that constitutes bashing. Drones and remote controlled ground cameras might be good for the X games, but it only detracted from the golf last weekend. As a wise man once said, "let's welcome the restoration of orthodoxy, instead of the introduction of heresy" (or something like that).
Thurs/Friday: Golf Channel 3:30-6:30 pm ET (yeah, we're back on East Coast ya'll)
Saturday/Sunday: Golf Channel 1:00-2:30 pm ET, and CBS 3:00-6:00 pm ET.
There's not much else until football season arrives unless you like Women's World Cup knockout stage, professional baseball (thank you Dawg Haus), or the NBA draft. So let's root on those who play or played for Georgia as they go up north and bring home some oversized paychecks. Go 'Dawgs!!!