The PGA Tour features another designated event this week at the Travelers Championship.
This tournament in the Hartford, Connecticut, area has grown in stature since its humble beginning in 1952 as the Insurance City Open. It was renamed the Greater Hartford Open in 1967, a title it held through 2003.
It’s been the Travelers Championship since 2007 and at current venue, TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, since 1984.
Tournament organizers have been lauded in recent years for continuing to improve the strength of field.
The 2023 Travelers Championship will have its best field yet.
Based on the June 12 Official World Golf Ranking, all players in the top eight will be present. That also includes 18 of the top 25 and 37 of the top 50.
TPC River Highlands is a Pete Dye design. It’s one of the shortest on the PGA Tour schedule, measuring a scant 6,844 yards for a par 70.
Seven of the 12 par-4s are listed at 410-450 yards on the card. It leads to a lot of approaches of 100-160 yards, so good short-iron players are ones to watch this week.
There can be some daunting visuals off the tee and on approach with blind shots a factor.
This is one of Dye’s more docile designs as far as challenges go.
The greens are bentgrass/poa annua. They tend to run fairly fast and can be tough to hold under the right conditions.
Expect low scores. Double digits under par has won every year since 1993. It’s usually closer to 15-under that results in a trophy.
There are plenty of other bigger names to round out this week’s power rankings, but it’s hard to ignore the top-10 machine at this event that is Brian Harman.
In 11 starts at TPC River Highlands, the former Georgia Bulldog owns five top-10s and nine made cuts. In recent years, Harman took T-6th (64-66-69-68) in 2018, T-8th (72-66-66-66) in 2019, MC (70-68) by one shot in 2020, T-5th (68-68-67-67) in 2021 and T-8th (68-69-66-66) last year.
Harman’s been on the record saying that he loves the course and its risk-reward options.
He’s a big fan also because TPC River Highlands is one of the shortest courses on the schedule. Harman often struggles to contend at the big, beefy ballparks that we see most weeks, but he thrives at sub-7,000-yard venues.
With that said, he did win the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship at a big course like Eagle Point G.C. Harman also nearly won the U.S. Open that year at another big venue, Erin Hills.
The 36-year-old is a horse for course pick. He does have some recent form to speak of, taking T-29th last month at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T-43rd last week at the U.S. Open.
Harman ranks eighth on the PGA Tour this season in driving accuracy (67.37%) and is 42nd in strokes gained per round off-the-tee (.287).
He’s also 21st in proximity to the hole (36’7”) and will have shorter clubs into greens than in most weeks.
Harman is 14th in scrambling (64.74%) and fourth in proximity from the sand (7’3”).