Tournament: Travelers Championship, June 23-26, 2022
Course: TPC River Highlands, par 70, 6,852 yards. Basically between Hartford and New Haven, CT.
Purse: $8.3 million in total, $1,494,000 to the winner. These amounts used to mean something, yet are now pale in comparison to all the money being thrown at professional golfers in recent days.
Defending Champ: UGA’s own Harris English. The Hudswon Swafford look-alike (that’s a real thing on golf twitter and such) came from a couple shots back to birdie the final hole and force a playoff with Kramer Hickok. The playoff was both boring and exciting - boring because it lasted 8 holes with pars on the first 7, and my Dad was seriously peeved about pushing “60 Minutes” back. And exciting because every stroke meant something. English birdied the 8th playoff hole to take the title, his 2nd of the season and the 2nd former ‘Dawgs to win this tournament (Bubba has 3 wins here).
TV Times: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS)
‘Dawgs in the Field: 7. Brian Harman, Brendon Todd, Kevin Kisner, Greyson Sigg, Harris English, Sepp Straka, Keith Mitchell.
Admittedly, the Travelers isn’t a golf tournament that moves the needle. Families are traveling for or preparing for the July 4th holiday, the US Open was last week and this is merely a “regular” Tour event, and there is lots more news in the golf world than how golfers will attack a fairly benign TPC parkland track.
But Bubba Watson has won here 3 previous times, and Harris English is the defending champ, so we’ll give it some Dawg Sports love.
It might be getting more press because of who isn’t here. Justin Thomas withdrew with a bad back, Bubba Watson is still recuperating from knee surgery last month, and Brooks Koepka withdrew because he is cashing a 9 figure check from the Saudi Royal Family.
Yes, Brooks Koepka is moving to the LIV Golf Series. As is Abraham Ancer - both are top 50 players in the world. On the heels of these announcements, the PGA Tour has cracked open the checkbook and announced some serious money-making opportunities for their membership. Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan even made the trip up to hold a players meeting Tuesday, and a press conference Wednesday. These were to address all of the changes which include 50% purse increases for several tournament, more money in the FedEx Cup, adding some no-cut events (essentially means guaranteed money), and some schedule moves.
And Rory McIlroy is playing. So it world #1 Scottie Scheffler. And Jordan Spieth. So maybe it really is about who is here, as opposed to who isn’t. I guess that’s up for debate.
If you though the changes to college football brought on by lifting restriction to the transfer portal and NIL are hard to keep up with, pro golf has just collectively said “hold my beer” (h/t Archimedesfrisby). Players resigning Tour memberships (basically unheard of before now), bolting for the competing LIV Golf and accepting Tour suspensions, signing $100+ million contracts, the existing golf organizations suddenly finding incredible amounts of cash to give to player purses (including the LPGA, the USGA, not just the PGA Tour); it’s like a continuous news cycle in a sport that was previously fairly restrained.
All this in the face of a player who just set the all-time season money record (Scottie Scheffler, and with 2.5 months left), the last 5 major winners are all in their 20’s, and there has never been a more competitive pro golf landscape.
I’m just glad I get to watch Bulldogs chasing little white balls. Enjoy, and as always...