Projecting Travelers Cutline: Major Champ Needs Miracle?

Collin Morikawa, 2023 Travelers Championship,(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Collin Morikawa, 2023 Travelers Championship,(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Projecting Friday’s Cutline at the 2023 Travelers Championship. Two-time Major winner left needing a miracle?

The Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, is always one of the most anticipated events on the PGA schedule year in and year out, and that sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the event reached a whole new level in 2023.

In 2020, during one of the first events played following the pandemic pause, an elite field made its way to Pete Dye’s TPC River Highlands for The Travelers Championship. Fast-forward to 2023, and the talent at one of the PGA Tour’s most iconic stops, has equaled, if not bettered that of 2020 after the event was given designated status this year. 

Despite its spot on the calendar, immediately following the third major of the year last week, The Travelers Championship and its elevated purse have tempted the best of the best to make the journey from coast to coast this week.

With so many stars in the field at TPC River Highlands in 2023, it was inevitable that a handful of big and surprising names would find themselves flirting with this week’s cutline at The Travelers Championship.

Denny McCarthy, on his revenge tour after falling short in a playoff to Viktor Hovland at the elevated Memorial Tournament a couple of weeks ago, set the early pace on Thursday in Connecticut after opening with a blistering round of 60; good for 10-under to start his championship.

The 30-year-old McCarthy, who will be looking to breakthrough for his first-ever win this week in Cromwell, unsurprisingly has his work cut out for him with massive stars once again hot on his heels. Major champions, the world’s number one player, and serial winners on tour populate the top 10 of the leaderboard following the conclusion of round one of the 2023 Travelers Championship.

Then you have some of the sport’s biggest names, who will need to produce something special during Friday’s second round just to ensure their spot at TPC River Highlands this weekend.

Two-time major winner left needing Travelers Championship miracle?

Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa is looking for his first win since the end of 2021 when the 2021 Champion Golfer of the Year won in Dubai at the DP World Tour Championship. A sentence that is almost hard to fathom for a player who possesses as much talent as Morikawa.

The 26-year-old came close to putting an end to his minor winless drought earlier in the year in Hawaii at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but a challenging Sunday combined with an incredible rally by Jon Rahm denied Collin on that occasion. 

Since then, Morikawa has had his ups and downs as the season has progressed. A fine showing at the U.S. Open last week, however, had many predicting that Collin may just put an end to that winless spell this week at The Travelers Championship.

Unfortunately, an opening 74 on Thursday likely has ended any such hopes for Morikawa this week. Now, the 2020 PGA Champion will require a near miracle just to be around for the weekend, but where exactly do his struggles on Thursday leave Collin in terms of this week’s projected Travelers Championship cutline?

What will the cutline be at the 2023 Travelers Championship?

TPC River Highlands yielded its fair share of low scores during Thursday’s opening round at The Travelers Championship. With an average opening tally under par for the field on Thursday, we can expect a significantly low cutline to come into play this week.

The fine folks at Data Golf are in agreement and they currently have this week’s projected Travelers Championship cutline at -3, giving it about a 40% chance of landing there come Friday evening.

Meanwhile, the cut mark falling back to -2 (27.1%) is being given a marginally greater chance of happening than it moving the other way, with -4 currently being given around a 20% chance of coming to fruition.

All of that is bad news for Collin Morikawa who needs a semi-miracle on Friday, or at the very least a Denny McCarthy-Esque kind of round, just to avoid packing his bags and heading home early this week.

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In addition to Morikawa, a cutline of -3 would also see names such as, Rory McIlroy (-2), Xander Schauffele (-2), Tony Finau (-1), Tommy Fleetwood (-1), Rickie Fowler (E), Justin Thomas (E), Jason Day (+1), and others all left on the outside looking in.

Friday’s second-round action gets underway at 6:45 a.m. EST on ESPN+.