By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner, Freddie Jacobson and Padraig Harrington have all committed to the Travelers Championship, the tournament announced on Tuesday.
"Along with being great golfers, these six individuals are all well known and our fans will be thrilled to see them compete in person," tournament director Nathan Grube said. "Our competitive field just got a lot stronger with these additions."
All six have played in the event before, which will take place at TPC River Highlands June 20-23, the week after the U.S. Open at nearby Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.
Jacobson won the Travelers in 2011, while Harrington tied for fifth in 2011 and was 11th last year.
Others already committed include Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, and defending champion Marc Leishman.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
CROMWELL, Conn. — Marc Leishman waited 140 minutes before his victory became official. He teed off two hours and ten minutes before the final group was on the course.
His victory broke a couple bad trends this season. Leishman was ranked 164th on the PGA TOUR in final round scoring average at 72.92. He was also 150th in Strokes Gained-Putting this year. Leishman’s putting rounds of 28-29-30-24 were 11th best this week.
Woulda, coulda: Charley Hoffman could have won this tournament and perhaps should have won it. After playing the last two holes in 3 over, he described his finish as “pathetic.”
Hoffman hooked his drive at 17th in the water to make double bogey, then drove into the rough at the 18th for another bogey. He said he could stomach the bad drive on the 17th, a hole which does not fit his eye, but was not as forgiving for his play at the 18th.
At the start of the round, Hoffman had promised himself a new boat if he finished in the top 10. He finished second but I don’t know if that new boat will provide pleasant memories.
David Finn: The tournament’s most dramatic moment played out before noon. As Hunter Mahan was walking the 18th fairway, his caddie John Wood went into the gallery on a special errand. He went to see a friend, David Finn.
David is a 19-year-old with a neurological condition that prevents him from walking but does not hinder his love for golf. Through the years he has become friends with Mahan, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson – but Sunday was special.
Wood went into the gallery and brought Finn out into the fairway and wheeled him up to the green all while still carrying Mahan’s golf bag. The fans gave the trio a standing ovation, then pulled out tissues to wipe their eyes.
Ace: Rory Sabbatini can be hard on himself while playing golf but he was elated at the 16th hole. He aced the 161-yard par 3 with an 8-iron and in the process won a $27,000 Rolex golf watch. Sabbatini said, “go in the hole” as the ball was midflight and three seconds later, the ball complied.
Bubba bummer: Bubba Watson says he has never played the 299-yard par-4 15th hole well during all his years at the Travelers. This year was no exception. Watson was 1 under on the hole for the week but drove into the water when it mattered most in his round.
He was 13 under for the tournament when he hit a huge slice off the tee into the water hazard. Watson still scrambled to a one-putt four, but the momentum was gone from the round and he scrambled his way home with three more pars.
Unlucky 13: Golfers made their move on the back nine starting at the short par-4 12th and the reachable par-5 13th. Greg Chalmers found nothing nice about the two hole stretch this weekend.
On Saturday he hit two balls out of bounds on the 12th while making an 8. On Sunday he hit his drive at the 13th out of bounds and made a 7. Chalmers finished T37 but lost seven shots on those two holes this weekend.
If he would have parred the holes, Chalmers would have finished T4. Then again, every golfer in the field has his own sad story to tell.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at the Travelers Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Like Charley Hoffman in the group before him, Tim Clark found out just how difficult the par-4 17th at TPC River Highlands is.
Hoffman, playing in the group in front of him, had just double-bogeyed the hole to drop into a tie for the lead and was just one shot ahead of Clark.
Clark, playing from the middle of the fairway, hit his approach to the fringe and was just 20 feet from the hole. He lagged to just 2 feet to set up what seemed like an easy par -- to everyone except the man hiting the putt that is.
“I pretty much knew I was going to miss it, to be honest with you,” Clark said.
He did, making a bogey that cost him any chance of tying for the lead and forcing a playoff with Marc Leishman, who was already in the clubhouse.
“That's like taking a bullet to the head,” Clark continued. “You put yourself in position like this to win a tournament and to finish like that, having not missed a shot all day. I mean I played great. I feel like I could have walked away with a win. I was trying not to think about that while I was out there, but obviously somehow it snuck in the back of the head and got the better of me.”
Clark wasn’t alone in his struggles on the 17th. The 420-yard dogleg right around water played as the hardest hole of the week and Sunday it yielded nearly twice as many bogeys as birdies.
Not that it was much consolation to Clark, who is finally healthy after season-ending wrist surgery two years ago that also cost him most of last season, too.
”Mentally I'm obviously a long way away from where I need to be,” he continued. “I couldn't be more disappointed right now. I played great all day. Hit the ball great. When it came down to the end I couldn't get myself to make any putts.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With two holes to play in the Travelers Championship, it looked like Charley Hoffman, leading by as many as three at one point, was breezing toward a third career win.
Then he was reminded how difficult it can be to win on the PGA TOUR.
Hoffman hit his tee shot in the water on the 17th hole, sent his approach shot sailing over the green and made double bogey.
He still had a share of the lead with clubhouse leader Marc Leishman at 14 under, but things went from bad to worse one hole later.
“What I did on 18 was pretty pathetic,” Hoffman said. “Pretty easy drive for me and fanned it out to the right. Pretty poor second shot, pretty poor bunker shot and even worse putt, so when it's said and done obviously a bad finish and bad taste in my mouth.”
Hoffman bogeyed the final hole after hitting into the right rough off the tee, then into a greenside bunker. He failed to get up-and-down to save par, missing a 16-footer to shoot 66 and finish one shot back of eventual winner Marc Leishman in what was an otherwise flawless round.
For the first 16 holes, Hoffman didn’t make a bogey. He went out in 31 and seized control of the tournament with birdies on three of his first four holes on the back nine.
Then came the 17th.
“I don't think 17 sets up visually well for anybody,” Hoffman said. “It's a tough tee shot and I'm not the first person to hit it in that water. I'm not going to be the last person to hit it in the water. I just hit a bad shot.”
Afterward, Hoffman tried to find the silver lining in the dark cloud of a finish.
“Anytime you're in contention you've played good golf,” Hoffman said, trying to find the positive. “I played pretty good golf for 72 holes.”
Well, 70 anyway.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- For arguably the longest player in the game, one of golf’s shortest par-4s sure seems to give Bubba Watson fits.
For 68 holes, it looked like Watson might win the Travelers Championship for a second time in three years. Then he got to the 296-yard 15th at TPC River Highlands.
Trailing leader Charley Hoffman by three shots at the time and certainly needing a birdie, Watson’s chances for a victory sank when he fanned his tee shot left and into the water guarding the reachable par 4.
“I've hit it in the water so many times and made par so many times after hitting the water, I'm used to it,” Watson said. “So I'm good.”
Just not good enough.
By the time Watson reached the 18th hole, where there’s a plaque commemorating a monster drive from his 2010 win here, Hoffman’s lead was collapsing behind him with a double-bogey on the 17th hole.
Watson had a chance to tie for the lead with a birdie on the final hole but slid his 17-footer past the cup.
“We thought [the break] was going to come off that bunker,” Watson said.
It didn’t, and Watson finished one shot short of forcing a playoff with eventual winner Marc Leishman after Hoffman bogeyed the 18th behind Watson.
“It’s a tough hole,” Watson said of No. 15. “Obviously I’d like that swing back to have a chance for birdie.”
Two years ago, Watson won here in a playoff, shooting a final-round 66 before beating Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in extra holes.
He never got that chance Sunday.
The 15th hole is an uncomfortable distance for Watson, who hit 4-wood there all week. He made just one birdie and three pars, nearly hitting it in the water in the opening round as well.
“It really doesn't go that far, maybe to the front of the green if I hit it perfect,” Watson said of his 4-wood. “It's kind of like a lay-up anyway.
“It's tough. Bad swing here, missed a putt here, things like that. If it was the other way around it would look like I made a charge late, so it just worked out that I just came up short.”
The Travelers Championship has been a haven for first-time winners in recent years, and another one was crowned on Sunday. Marc Leishman shot a final-round 62 to come from well off the pace at TPC River Highlands and get his first PGA TOUR title.
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CROMWELL, Conn. -- He had to wait over 2 hours, but it was worth it.
Marc Leishman shot an 8-under 82 to grab the early clubhouse lead Sunday at the Travelers Championship, then watched as everyone else around him collapsed.
When the tournament was finally over, Leishman was a winner at 14 under, one shot clear of Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman, who threw away a once three-shot lead with a double bogey-bogey finish.
It’s the fifth time in the last seven years that a player recorded his first career win at TPC River Highlands.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Things went from bad to worse on the 18th hole for Charley Hoffman.
After a double bogey on the 17th hole to drop into a tie for the lead, Hoffman bogeyed the 18th, hitting his tee shot into the right rough and his approach into a greenside bunker. He failed to get up-and-down to save par to drop to 1 under and one shot back of clubhouse leader Marc Leishman.