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BlogTravelers Championship Preview and Picks

Travelers Championship

June 20 – 23, 2013

TPC at River Highlands

Cromwell,, Conn.

Par: 70 / Yardage: 6,841

Purse: $6.1 million

with $1,08 million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Marc Leishman

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 18 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with one of the top-ten in the field: U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.  There are eight players ranked 11 to 25, top-25 players in the field: Lee Westwood, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan.  There are nine players from 26 to 50 in the rankings, they are Bo Van Pelt, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Streelman, Carl Pettersson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Robert Garrigus, Michael Thompson and Tim Clark.

The field includes 8 of the Top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players include Justin ROse, Kevin Streelman, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson, Harris English, Sang-Moon Bae and Michael Thompson.

The field includes seven past champions: Marc Leishman (2012), Fredrik Jacobson (2011), Bubba Watson (2010), Stewart Cink (2008 & 1997), Hunter Mahan (2007), J.J. Henry (2006) and Brad Faxon (2005).

The field includes seven players that have won on the PGA Tour this year: Brian Gay (Humana Challenge); John Merrick (Northern Trust Open); Michael Thompson (The Honda Classic); Kevin Streelman (Tampa Bay Championship); Derek Ernst (Wells Fargo Championship); Sang-Moon Bae (HP Byron Nelson Championship) and Harris English (FedEx St. Jude Classic).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Travelers Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at Travelers Championship in the last five years or check out our brand new and sortable 8-year glance at the Travelers Championship.

A a good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Travelers Championship

Player U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude Classic Lyoness Open Memorial Nordea Masters Crowne Plaza Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Volvo World Match Play Championship The Players Championship Wells Fargo Volvo China Open Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Justin Rose
(316.67 pts)
Win
(264)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T8
(50)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T50
(1)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T15
(11.67)
Hunter Mahan
(241 pts)
T4
(160)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T16
(34)
DNP
 
T26
(16)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T19
(31)
T73
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Lee Westwood
(186.67 pts)
T15
(70)
DNP
 
DNP
 
WD
(-5)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T9
(45)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T8
(50)
T4
(26.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Harris English
(184.33 pts)
DNP
 
Win
(132)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T17
(22)
DNP
 
T33
(17)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T6
(20)
Jason Dufner
(176.67 pts)
T4
(160)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T46
(2.67)
DNP
 
T33
(11.33)
DNP
 
T62
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T42
(2.67)
Nicolas Colsaerts
(156 pts)
T10
(80)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T24
(26)
DNP
 
T5
(46.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T8
(16.67)
Kyle Stanley
(150.33 pts)
73
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
3
(90)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T33
(17)
T6
(20)
DNP
 
3
(30)
Bo Van Pelt
(149.67 pts)
T21
(58)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T21
(29)
DNP
 
T31
(12.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T9
(30)
T62
(0)
T6
(20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
John Rollins
(128.67 pts)
DNP
 
6
(60)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T4
(53.33)
DNP
 
T21
(19.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Jonas Blixt
(122.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
2
(100)
T11
(26)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
77
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
70
(0)
John Huh
(112 pts)
T17
(66)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T11
(26)
DNP
 
T8
(33.33)
DNP
 
T68
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
(100 pts)
T10
(80)
DNP
 
DNP
 
68
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T62
(0)
DNP
 
T9
(30)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Graham Delaet
(99.33 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T21
(29)
DNP
 
T22
(18.67)
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
T26
(24)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T47
(1)
Padraig Harrington
(96 pts)
T21
(58)
T10
(40)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T48
(1.33)
DNP
 
T75
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Roberto Castro
(95.67 pts)
DNP
 
T18
(32)
DNP
 
T21
(29)
DNP
 
T46
(2.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T19
(31)
T65
(0)
DNP
 
T47
(1)
Jeff Maggert
(90 pts)
DNP
 
T66
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T2
(100)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
63
(0)
Rickie Fowler
(89 pts)
T10
(80)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T37
(13)
DNP
 
T54
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
T73
(0)
DNP
 
T32
(6)
Kevin Streelman
(83.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T2
(100)
T6
(20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Carl Pettersson
(79 pts)
T41
(18)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T29
(21)
DNP
 
T35
(10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T9
(30)
T68
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Bubba Watson
(78.33 pts)
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T29
(21)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T37
(13)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T15
(11.67)
Brian Davis
(77.33 pts)
DNP
 
T35
(15)
DNP
 
T8
(50)
DNP
 
T42
(5.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T72
(0)
T27
(7.67)
DNP
 
T32
(6)
Patrick Reed
(75.33 pts)
DNP
 
5
(70)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T46
(2.67)
DNP
 
81
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T32
(6)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Sang-Moon Bae
(75 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T76
(0)
DNP
 
Win
(88)
DNP
 
T33
(17)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Charley Hoffman
(74.33 pts)
T45
(10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T63
(0)
DNP
 
T18
(21.33)
DNP
 
T8
(33.33)
DNP
 
T37
(13)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
James Driscoll
(73 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T13
(37)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T33
(11.33)
DNP
 
T26
(24)
T38
(4)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Travelers Championship

Player U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude Classic Lyoness Open Memorial Nordea Masters Crowne Plaza Colonial BMW PGA Byron Nelson Volvo World Match Play Championship The Players Championship Wells Fargo Volvo China Open Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Aaron Baddeley
(-60 pts)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Brendan Steele
(-54 pts)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T32
(6)
Y.E. Yang
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Troy Matteson
(-40 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Bryce Molder
(-36.67 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T65
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Greg Owen
(-33.33 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T78
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Andrew Svoboda
(-32.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T57
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
T47
(1)
Tommy Gainey
(-30.33 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T54
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
T50
(0.33)
DNP
 
T32
(6)
Darron Stiles
(-30 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Charlie Beljan
(-28.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T43
(4.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Let me take a couple of paragraphs on the U.S. Open.  Rarely do I get shocked at anything in golf but this week could be one of them.

Justin Rose winning the U.S. Open is great, nothing shocking about that.  He knows how to play on tough courses, remember three years ago he won down the road at Aronimink another classic old course. What I found shocking is that going back 20 years only two players that were in the top-ten of the rankings, Tiger Woods and Rose have won the Open.  I would of thought it was more.

Nothing shocking about the way Tiger Woods played.  Yes it was his worst finish in U.S. Opens he has made the cut at and his 13 over par score was the highest score in relation to par in his 16 professional starts.  What I find shocking is the fact that Tiger may never win another U.S. Open and going a bit further he may never win another major.  It just seems to becoming harder and harder for him on the weekend.  He has now gone seven majors on not breaking 70 on the weekend, going back to the final round in the 2011 Masters.  Could the pressures of his biological clock getting to him or could stories like this add more pressure on him?

Nothing shocking about Sergio Garcia finishing at 15 over, the course was tough.  But you will find it shocking that Garcia was 16 over on holes 15 and 16 with five shots hit out of bounds and a four putt.  If he would of played the hole in say one over instead of 16 over Garcia would of beaten Justin Rose by a shot.  Yes that is shocking.

But the whole reason for this piece is the shocking fact that Phil Mickelson still hasn’t won the U.S. Open.  Sorry but what are the odds that only one player would beat you in six different U.S. Opens?  To think in 24 rounds over 432 holes  Mickelson could of played just one shot differently, he could of been a winner, but it never has happened.  If you ask Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson there biggest disappointments in golf it would be not winning the PGA Championship.  As for Greg Norman, he beat himself up a dozen different times in the Masters and came ho so close a half a dozen times to get beat by that one player making that one key shot, just look back at how Greg Norman lost to Larry Mize in the 1987 Masters.

We don’t know what the future lies for Mickelson, he should have a few more good years left and the Open does return to Pinehurst next year, the venue that started his runner-up streak going in 1999.  After watching his comments on Sunday you can see it’s a tough thing for him and he really gets chocked up over this.  The only thing, you never know what Phil will do next and you know that he already is thinking about what he has to do next year at Pinehurst.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Travelers Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

The TPC at River Highlands is a different type of TPC course.  Since it was a reconfiguration of a traditional, old style course it still has some of that flavor.  Most of the greens are small, raised or crowned, making it a scrambler’s delight.  The tournament is well supported in the community — as many as 80,000 spectators could be in attendance this week — so the timid need not apply.  Another factor that comes into play is the fact that the tournament has close finishes every year (except of course in 2009 when Kenny Perry won by three).  Since it moved away from Wethersfield in 1983, 20 of the 28 tournaments have been decided by either a shot or a playoff, including in 2010 when Bubba Watson beat Scott Verplank and Corey Pavin in extra holes.  Last year Marc Leishman was a shot better than Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson.  Here is a chart that shows exactly how close tournaments have been in the 61-year history of the Travelers Championship:

  • Tournaments tied after 72 holes: 20
  • Tournaments won by one shot: 21
  • Tournaments won by two shots: 8
  • Tournaments won by three shots: 5
  • Tournaments won by four shots or more: 7

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Hitting it far is more important than accuracy because the last ten of 11 champions (Fredrik Jacobson was T46th) have been in the top-13 of the driving distance stat while only six winner have  broken into the top-ten of the accuracy stat just once.  Last year’s winner Marc Leishman was 12th in driving distance and T15th in accuracy.
  • Playing the par 4s well is another key. Of the last 11 champions, eight have played those holes in 9-under or better, with Notah Begay III playing it them in 16-under in 2000. Last year Leishman broke the mold as he was only 5-under on the par-4s. </li>
  • Now I don’t want to jinx the tournament, but weather in Connecticut should be OK for the weekend but there is a big possibility of showers and thunderstorms on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  But on a whole look for good weather.
  • Hitting greens will be at a premium. Just like in a U.S. Open, hitting lots of greens goes a long way in this event.  Normally you would look for the winner to hit globs of greens but that hasn’t been the case the last three years as Bubba Watson in 2010 was T30th in greens hit but T4th in putting, Freddie Jacobson in 2011 was T34th in greens hit but T3rd in putting and last year Marc Leishman was T28th in greens hit and T11th in putting.

Who to watch for at the Travelers Championship

Best Bets:

Bubba Watson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2 T38 Win T14 T6 CUT

Hasn’t had that great event this year but coming to a course and tournament that he always does well at.

Padraig Harrington

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T11 T63 T5 T54

Watch him carefully, showing signs of playing well and he could find himself in contention this week.

Jason Dufner

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
CUT T67 T44

Comes into the week on a high from a good U.S. Open, it’s about time for him to win again.

Best of the rest:

Justin Rose

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T9 CUT T19 T9 CUT 3 T71

No doubting how well he is playing, but the last time a winner went back to back with a U.S. Open victory was in 1990 with Hale Irwin. May play well but just not enough gas in the tank to notch another win.

Lee Westwood

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T51

Was not impressive in his only Travelers start but look for him to do much better this week.

Hunter Mahan

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T11 T43 CUT T4 T2 Win T2 T54 T21 CUT

Good record in this event including a win, we have to see how he reacts from blowing the U.S. Open, he should step up and play well this week.

Freddie Jacobson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T8 Win CUT CUT T48

Past champion that always plays well on this course.

Charley Hoffman

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2 T43 T27 CUT

Was runner-up here last year, could notch one better this year.

Solid contenders

Ian Poulter

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T62 T24

Could this be a good course for him? Hasn’t shown it in past years but he can play good anyplace.

Rickie Fowler

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T13 CUT

Good U.S. Open, was T13th in his last Travelers start.

Ryan Moore

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T47 T2 T13 T4 CUT T33 T2

Was runner-up and fourth so can play well on this course.

Zach Johnson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T64 T24 18 CUT T21 T42 T3

This course should be perfect for him, a bit like Colonial were he has notched some wins.

Long shots that could come through:

John Huh

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
CUT

Been in the top-25 in his last three starts.

Brian Davis

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T4 T9 CUT WD T13 T43 T16 T54

T4th last year, T9th the year before.

Andres Romero

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T6

He can sneak up and play well like he did in Puerto Rico.

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