First Look: Travelers Championship
June 13, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Bubba Watson will play in the Travelers Championship. (Sullivan/Getty Images)
• FIELD: Travelers Championship
• COURSE: TPC River Highlands, 6,841 yards, par 70. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Connecticut River, River Highlands is the third rendition for the parcel where golf has been played since 1928. Pete Dye did a full makeover in 1982, with former PGA TOUR pros Howard Twitty and Roger Maltbie serving as consultants on an upgrade seven years later. Nos. 15-17 play around a four-acre lake, helping create a finish considered among the most exciting on TOUR. Peter Jacobsen triumphed when the Greater Hartford Open relocated there in 1984, then turned back the clock 19 years later to win it again.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: New England Charities, which has given more than $31 million to various organizations since its formation in 1952. This year’s list of 127 charities includes the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, The First Tee of Connecticut and the Sound of New England Chorus.
• FIELD WATCH: Masters titleholder Bubba Watson, who won in 2010, and five other players among the top 15 in the world rankings join defending champion Ken Duke in the lineup. No. 5 Matt Kuchar and No. 7 Jason Day also have committed. … In all, River Highlands will feature 55 players who teed it up at Pinehurst for this week’s U.S. Open. … Patrick Cantlay, who set the TPC River Highlands record with a 60 three years ago as an amateur, makes just his second start of 2014 after losing nearly a year to a stress fracture in his back. He tied for 71st at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last month.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 258, Kenny Perry (2009).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Tommy Bolt (2nd round, 1954 at Wethersfield CC), Patrick Cantlay (2nd round, 2011).
• LAST YEAR: Duke became the PGA TOUR’s oldest first-time winner in nearly two decades, withstanding Chris Stroud’s chip-in to force a playoff by winning on the second extra hole. Duke, 44, fired rounds of 65-66 on the weekend, aided in part by a lucky bounce in the final round when his approach at No. 10 caromed off a tree and onto the green, stopping 5 feet away for birdie. Duke became the oldest man to notch his first win since 1995, when Ed Dougherty won in Mississippi at age 47. That was one year after Duke turned pro, bouncing around the developmental tours for a decade until earning his PGA TOUR card at age 35.
• STORYLINES: First-time PGA TOUR winners have been crowned in each of the past four editions of the Travelers. Duke was preceded by Marc Leishman (2012), Freddie Jacobsen (’11) and Watson. … Jimmy Walker’s 23-week run atop the FedExCup standings could be in jeopardy, with Watson lurking less than 200 points behind Walker’s pace. Walker is taking a week off following the Open. ... Patrick Rodgers, who ended his amateur career No.1 in the world rankings, is set to make his pro debut. So are Bobby Wyatt, who helped Alabama to back-to-back NCAA titles, newly crowned NCAA individual champion Cameron Wilson and U.S. Amateur runner-up Oliver Goss.
• SHORT CHIPS: In the tournament’s 61-year history, only Phil Mickelson has managed to win consecutive titles (2001-02). … Just four New Englanders have won in Hartford, though two came back-to-back in 2005 (Brad Faxon) and 2006 (J.J. Henry). The others are Paul Azinger (1987, ’89) and Bob Toski (1953) ... Kevin Ollie, who guided UConn to the NCAA basketball championship three months ago, headlines the Wednesday pro-am along with comedian George Lopez and ESPN’s Chris Berman.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM).