The field at the 2014 Travelers Championship will include 55 players who tee’d it up at the US Open last week in North Carolina, so it’s hard to blow off this tournament as having a watered-down field. Travelers must have agreed, because they just signed an agreement to sponsor the event through 2024, and it will remain as the event that follows the US Open each year.
Course designers added 13 yards to the 17th hole ahead of the 2013 tournament, which brings TPC River Highlands into the 21st century and makes the 6854 yard layout a real test following our National Championship.
Among those in the field in Cromwell, Connecticut are some folks that played well enough to make the top ten at Pinehurst, but unable to overcome the huge lead Martin Kaymer put on the field with matching 65’s in the first two rounds.
With a T4 finish at Pinehurst last week, it looks for all practical purposes that Jason has put the problems with his thumb behind him, and is ready to resume what started out to be a great 2014 season. The 26 year-old Aussie looks to be almost back to the guy who beat Victor Dubuisson at Dove Mountain in January.
Bubba should come to TPC River Highlands this week well rested after he missed the 36-hole cut on Friday afternoon. The two-time Masters champ, and two-time winner in the 2014 season made a step back to his old self at Pinehurst. He didn’t like the set-up, he didn’t like the golf course, and he didn’t play well. Bubba won here in 2010 and was the first of a record-setting four in a row who won their first PGA tournament in Connecticut. Watson has had a great season with two wins that should have been three, two top 2’s, and a third place since February. He has a chance this week to overtake Jimmy Walker in FedEx Cup points. Walker is taking the week off after the US Open.
Not only does Keegan Bradley need to win a tournament soon, Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Watson needs for the Connecticut native to get one as well. Watson knows he will need Bradley when he goes to Gleneagles in September, but he doesn’t want to use one of his three Captain’s Picks to get him. He needs for Bradley to play himself into the lineup. Keegan went back to the anchored putter for the US Open after a brief trial with a shorter putter. He needs to listen to his mom, and go ahead with the switch. Bradley also finished with a T4 finish at Pinehurst, and had one of the better rounds on Sunday, but started the final round too far back to put a dent in Martin Kaymer’s lead.
I don’t know about you, but I am rooting for this guy to ride his second-place finish at Pinehurst into a nice career. The big question will be his health after a brutal week in North Carolina. He certainly has the game to compete week in, and week out on the PGA Tour if his body, and health will allow. He has already won the hearts of fans around the world after his tie for second place on Sunday.
Hunter Mahan has to be hot to trot after the ball mix-up on Friday at Pinehurst with Jamie Donaldson. It was a dumb mistake that I almost guarantee he will never make again. Even after suffering the penalty of hitting the wrong ball, he only missed the cut by one stroke. Hunter will be looking for redemption this week in Connecticut.