Unlike last week's test for the U.S. Open, TPC River Highlands is anything but a grind. The host of the Travelers Championship is a par 70 like Merion Golf Club, but a 1-over aggregate at the midpoint of last year's edition would have resulted in a missed cut on the number. The same score in relation to par won the season's second major for Justin Rose, who now takes his talent to Cromwell, Conn.
In 2011, TPC River Highlands played as the easiest par 70 on the schedule, but it slipped to sixth-easiest (of 15 par 70s) last year at 69.839. It was the hardest the course had played since 2007.
At 6,841 yards, it's one the shortest tracks remaining on the 2013 schedule. Although it always yields a par-breaker split right around 20 percent, the field will be picking off eagles and birdies primarily on the first 15 holes. While Nos. 15, 16 and 17 make up The Golden Triangle, reasonable danger doesn't come into play until the second leg of that loop.
The par-3 16th over water averaged +0.092 strokes to par last year. Of the 49 courses played in 2012, TPC River Highlands' 17th hole was the third-hardest. The renowned dogleg over water boasted a scoring average of 4.263 last year.
Greens average 5,500 square feet and are conditioned to run at just 10.5 on the Stimpmeter. That fuels a mindset to be aggressive with the putter. However, there are no gimmes as the course annually ranks among the most stringent in putting from three feet and in.
Rain cannot be ruled out this week, but the greatest threat will have exited by Thursday. Seasonable conditions are expected otherwise with high temperatures pushing 80 degrees and light-to-moderate winds complementing.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
|Power Rankings: Travelers Championship|