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‘Dawgs on Tour: Looking to “Insure” Another Bulldog Champion

Travelers Championship - Final Round Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

A quick recap of the 7 former Bulldogs who teed it up at the 123rd US Open at LA Country Club:

Davis Thompson missed the cut by 1 after rounds of 72-71 (still received a $10,000 check).
Chris Kirk and Sepp Straka missed the cut by 2, and each also received $10,000.

Brian Harman opened with 65, but fell back with rounds of 73, 72, 75. His T43 finish was good for $66,525.
Keith Mitchell likewise started well with 68, then followed with 71-71-71. That +1 overall finish put him in a tie for 20th and a check for $200,152.
Russell Henley bucked the trend. His first two rounds of 71-71 means he made the cut on the number. But he played better in the harder conditions of Saturday Sunday (68-68) and that moved him all the way up to T14. He gets $332,343 for the effort.
And Harris English played good enough on the easier opening rounds (67-66) to put himself into the top 10, hung around Saturday (71) and held fairly steady Sunday (72, but recovered from a disastrous start) to tie for 8th place. That 4 under par total earned him $562,809.

The professional golf most care about now flits across 3 time zones to Connecticut, and one that has treated Georgia golfers well, so here’s the skinny:

Tournament: Travelers Championship, June 22-25, 2023

Course: TPC River Highlands, par 70, 6,852 yards. Cromwell, CT, on the banks of the Connecticut River and about halfway between Hartford and New Haven.

Purse: Color it designated. $20 million total, and $3.6 million to the winner.

Defending Champ: Xander Schauffele. The San Diego State Aztec opened up a big lead at the weekend at 14 under par, but got stuck in neutral while JT Poston and Sahith Theegala stormed from behind. Xander played just good enough, including a birdie on the last hole, while Theegala slipped up.

Fun Fact: The tournament has gone through 7 official names. From 1952-1967, it was the Insurance City Open. From ‘67-’72 they called it the Greater Hartford Open. Starting in 1973, it was actually the Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open. In 1985, they added Canon as a corporate sponsor for the “Canon Sammy Davis Jr. Greather Hartford Open.” In 1988, The Candy Man was dropped for the simpler Greater Hartford Open (again). For a couple of years, it was the Buick Championship - when Buick sponsored like 5 tournaments on Tour (Invitational, Open, Championship, Classic, and Challenge). Travelers came in to supplant Buick in 2007 and they’ve remained the title sponsor and title name since then.

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: 8. Sepp Straka, Harris English, Davis Thompson, Greyson Sigg, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Kevin Kisner.

The PGA Tour (with some others) has traveled from Toronto to Los Angeles and now to Connecticut in consecutive weeks. Now this isn’t entirely their fault - the four main bodies of golf have agreed to reserve the 3rd weekend in June for the USGA and it’s annual US Open. So the Tour scheduled around that. And if the USGA had used Merion, Oakmont, Bethpage, Shinnecock, or a dozen other courses in the Ohio Valley or Northeast, this wouldn’t be a big deal. But the US Open was in LA, and these guys are getting beat up on cross-country travel.

Tournament organizers were smart to charter a plane from LA to Hartford, giving players an easier time to fly across the country. And because of that, plus dangling $3.6 million carrots from the Hartford front porch, you have the top 8 players in the world and the vast majority of the world’s top 20.

You’ve got a short course (less than 7,000 yards), and you’ve got most of the best golfers in the world. TPC River Highlands did surrender a record 58 to Jim Furyk a few years back. Combine these factors and you’re probably looking at some low scoring.

Bubba Watson won his first PGA Tour event here in 2010, coming from 6 shots back on the final day and winning in a 3 man playoff. He won again in 2015, and for a 3rd time in 2018. Then Harris English took up the mantle and got his 4th Tour title in this event in 2021, also in a playoff. It’s been 2 years, so I’m thinking its about time to see another Bulldog hoist the trophy. Enjoy the golf, and as always...