Tournament: Travelers Championship, June 22-25
Course: TPC River Highlands, 6,841 yards, par 70 (outside Hartford, CT)
Purse: $6,800,000 (about half of last week’s US Open purse)
Defending Champion: Russell Knox. The Scottie came from behind on the final day to capture the title, beating FSU alum Daniel Berger and local favorite Jerry Kelly.
Fun Fact: For decades, the magical number in golf was 59. A sub-60 round. Like 100 in basketball, or 75-0 in football (I hate Florida), it was the score all wished to achieve. Only 8 players recorded it in 100 years of professional golf. But Jim Furyk went 1 better, by shooting a 58 here in the final round last year. It remains the only 58 on the PGA Tour.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Former 'Dawgs in the Field ( Four ): Harris English, Brian Harman, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson
After the quasi-grueling test of the US Open, the PGA Tour returns to “normal” tournament golf this week: parkland course with trees, lush fairways, smaller purses, and drunk local fans. This would also normally be when most of the world’s top players take a break, but since so many missed the cut last week, we actually have some pretty marquee names entered.
It is a short course, one made for shot-makers. You will see a lot of driving irons and 3-metals off the tee, and if someone gets hot with their short irons and their flat stick, you could see another round threatening 60.
Both Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are entered, and both seem to have question marks surrounding the state of their game. Multiple major winners Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen are playing, as are Jordan Speith and Zach Johnson.
Speaking of multiple major winners, the University of Georgia’s own Bubba Watson returns to the site of his first PGA Tour win back in 2010. Won in a playoff, Bubba was overcome with emotion and devoted the victory to his father. Bubba tied for 2nd in 2014, then won again in 2015. Needless to say he likes this course and this week. Here’s who else you need to be following:
Harris English. After missing 4 of 5 cuts, maybe English is on speaking terms with his golf ball again as he has finishes of T29, T10, and T46 at last week’s Open.
Brian Harman is probably playing the best of all the former ‘Dawgs right now. He has 6 top 10 finishes this season including a win (Wells Fargo), a 2nd, and a 3rd. He’s up to 27th in the world rankings and is 10th in FedEx Cup points after his runner-up finish last week.
Hudson Swafford is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s missed his last four cuts and did not qualify for last week’s US Open. He’s still 26th in FedEx Cup points, and is virtually assured of making the FedEx Cup playoffs this fall.
Bubba Watson. I mentioned above that he has two wins and a runner-up finish here, but he’s now 40th in the world, and hasn’t been this low since 2013. His long game is still strong, but he needs to do something with his approches and putting, which are basically giving away shots to the field.
We have hit the sports doldrums of summer unless you’re an avid follower of the NBA draft. I am not. But I do like to watch golf and this will more than make my weekend. So tune it on over to CBS and let’s hope for another win.
And as always...