The First Look: Travelers Championship
June 20, 2021
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Dustin Johnson one-liners during press conferences
Dustin Johnson returns to defend his title at the Travelers Championship, his first win last season which propelled him to win his first FedExCup.
TPC River Highlands boasts an impressive field with many of the TOUR’s top players travelling across the country from the U.S. Open in California the week prior.
FIELD NOTES: Current FedExCup leader Patrick Cantlay is looking for his third win of the season… Five of the top-10 golfers in the world are teeing it up in Connecticut including Cantlay, Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, and Brooks Koepka… Phil Mickelson, who won this event in 2001 and 2002, is back at TPC River Highlands as the reigning PGA Championship winner… Garrick Higgo, who won the Palmetto Championship, will make his first non-major start as a PGA TOUR winner… Ten former winners at TPC River Highlands will tee it up including Bubba Watson, who has won the event three times… Sponsor Exemptions include Chase Koekpa (brother to Brooks), John Pak (much celebrated college player of the year), Davis Thompson (formerly ranked as the No.1 amateur in the world), and Austin Eckroat (four-time All-American)… Rickie Fowler returns to action after missing his first U.S. Open since 2010.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: TPC River Highlands, par 70, 6,841 yards. Located between Connecticut towns Hartford and New Haven, TPC River Highlands has been a PGA TOUR venue for 38 years now. The course is site of the TOUR’s lone 58 (Jim Furyk, 2016) but the key stretch comes on No’s 15-17 which play around a four-acre lake. Pete Dye oversaw a redesign of the course in the early 1980s, while Bobby Weed worked on an upgrade about a decade later after consulting with TOUR players Roger Maltbie and Howard Twitty.
STORYLINES: Can more low scores be put up at TPC River Highlands? Besides Furyk’s 58, Patrick Cantlay shot 60 in 2011 (the low score in TOUR history by an amateur), plus Johnson’s 61 last year in the third round… Bubba Watson is still looking to join Billy Casper as the only four-time winner of the Travelers… The tournament was played without fans in 2020 but will welcome approximately 10,000 per day for the tournament… 14 total major championships have been won by golfers in the field at TPC River Highlands, and Phil Mickelson accounts for six of those. Mickelson returned to the Travelers after a 15-year absence in 2019 but has teed it up every year since… The U.S. Open fatigue hasn’t quite impacted the winners of the Travelers Championship. Each of Dustin Johnson, Chez Reavie, Watson, Jordan Spieth, Watson again, and Russell Knox all played the U.S. Open, but Johnson (COVID-19 schedule change) and Knox (Olympic schedule change) get asterisks since their events happened at different times.
72-HOLE RECORD: 258, Kenny Perry (2009)
18-HOLE RECORD: 58, Jim Furyk (4th round, 2016)
LAST TIME: Dustin Johnson’s victory at the 2020 Travelers Championship marked the first of three wins on the season as Johnson would go on to win the FedExCup. He backed up a sizzling 61 on Saturday with a 67 on Sunday to top Kevin Streelman by one shot – despite making bogey on two of his final six holes. Streelman birdied No’s 10 and 13 but was stuck in neutral the rest of the way in. He hit his approach on 18 to 37 feet and when he couldn’t convert the birdie, the title was Johnson’s. Will Gordon and Mackenzie Hughes finished at 17-under for the week and T3, while Kevin Na, at 16-under, rounded out the top five. Johnson’s victory broke a 20-tournament drought. It was his 13th TOUR season and with the win in Connecticut, he had won in each of them.
HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday 6:45 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (Featured Groups), Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. ET (Featured Groups). Saturday-Sunday 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Featured Holes).
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).