Featured Group: Snedeker, Watson, OgilvyJune 21, 2011
Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM staff
At each PGA TOUR event this season, a featured pairing will be highlighted prior to the first round. Here is the featured group for Thursday and Friday at the Travelers Championship.
Yes, there's a youth movement in golf right now. But the Travelers Championship is giving the grown-ups their due as it showcases three of golf's brightest stars over the age of 30 -- Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker and Geoff Ogilvy -- in the first two rounds.
Watson's playoff win at the Travelers Championship last year was the tipping point of the 32-year-old's career. Since his victory at TPC River Highlands, he's won two more PGA TOUR events (2011 Farmer's Insurance Open and 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans). Watson, who is one of two players with multiple wins on TOUR this year, has moved up to second in FedExCup points and ranks 13th in the world.
Watson is hitting more than 60 percent of fairways, an unbelievable number for a player who ranks second in driving distance. He is also leading the TOUR in greens hit in regulation at 72.79 percent. Although he hasn't played well since he won at TPC Louisiana, he has good memories at the Travelers. The University of Georgia graduate hasn't finished outside the top 15 at TPC River Highlands since his rookie year of 2006.
Snedeker attended another Southeastern Conference school, Vanderbilt University, and is having a career year in 2011. He's improved his driving accuracy tremendously, from 60.51 percent of fairways in 2008 to 63.85 percent this year. That helped him win The Heritage in a two-hole playoff against Luke Donald in late April. The 30-year-old also has five top-5s this year and notched top-15s at both the Masters and last week's U.S. Open.
Sendeker has always been one of the TOUR's best putters, and this year is no exception. He ranks third in the Strokes Gained -- Putting category, which should give him an advantage on TPC River Highlands' small, undulating greens. Strangely, he hasn't played well at the Travelers Championship in the past. Snedeker missed the cut last year, and he tied for 47th in 2009. He is currently 12th in FedExCup points.
At 34, Ogilvy is the old man of the group. He and Snedeker are about 20 yards shorter off the tee than the ultra-long Watson. But like Snedeker, Ogilvy is a wonderful putter. The Aussie ranks 28th in the Strokes Gained -- Putting category.
Ogilvy is also a good scrambler, ranking second on TOUR in the category. In fact, it was a clutch chip-in par on the 17th hole at Winged Foot that led to his win at the 2006 U.S. Open. Ogilvy has been a consistent winner on TOUR, too, with seven titles to his credit since 2005 -- including three World Golf Championships to go with his first major.
Ogilvy missed the cut at the U.S. Open last week and is 77th in FedExCup points, but he tied for fourth at the Masters, his second top-10 of the season. He hasn't played in the Travelers since making his only start in 2001, but he played well at TPC River Highlands that year, shooting rounds of 67-68-69-68 to tie for 22nd.
EXPERT PREDICTIONS: We asked some of our PGATOUR.COM experts to predict which player will fare best this week at TPC River Highlands.
Stan Awtrey: Watson: This is a course for big hitters and Watson certainly qualifies. He's comfortable here too, as evidenced by his win last year and another pair of top-15 finishes.
Melanie Hauser: Brandt Snedeker. Too easy to go with Bubba. Gotta go with the hot hand and that's Snedeker. He'll take what he learned about himself last week and make it work at Travelers.
Craig Dolch: Bubba: He has positive vibes after last year's breakthrough victory at TPC River Highlands.
PGA TOUR Season Summary Catagory Watson Snedeker Ogilvy 2011 Top 10s 3 5 2 Current FedExCup Rank 1st 12th 77th 2010 FedExCup Rank 22nd 37th 14th 2009 FedExCup Rank 53rd 33rd 13th 2008 FedExCup Rank 30th 34th 32nd 2007 FedExCup Rank 37th 20th 13th Finish Last Week T-63 T-11 Missed cut 2011 Round 1 Scoring Avg. 71.23 71.81 71.20 2011 Round 2 Scoring Avg. 69.25 69.60 70.56 Career at TPC River Highands Travelers Championship Watson Snedeker Ogilvy Appearance 5th 3rd 2nd Wins 1 0 0 Top 10s 2 0 0 Best Finish 1st/2010 T47/2009 T22/2001 Last Appearance/Finish 2010/1st 2010/Missed cut 2001/T22 Outside the Ropes: Bubba WatsonIn five short years on the PGA TOUR, Bubba Watson has built as reputation as one of the most unique players in the game. Learn about Bubba's first car, tweeting habits and his favorite things to do on the water. Watch | Outside the Ropes archive Interview: Geoff OgilvyGeoff Ogilvy, one third of our Featured Group, returns to Travelers this week for the first time since 2001. Find out what Geoff thinks his chances are of a victory at TPC River Highlands. Watch
FANTASY FORECAST: Rob Bolton has Snedeker and Watson in his Power Rankings. • In the new PGATOUR.COM Matchups game, he has Ogilvy over Lucas Glover and Watson over Jim Furyk. • For more, check out his Fantasy Insider.