Slate Breakdown | The Travelers Championship
The Travelers Championship, often referred to as "The People's Major," is upon us. Spanning almost 3,000 miles from west to east, the PGA Tour transitions from the Los Angeles Country Club (LACC) to TPC River Highlands just outside Hartford, Connecticut. The Travelers Championship is one of the most highly-anticipated events on the PGA Tour, attracting golf enthusiasts from all over New England and New York, due to its prime location between Boston and New York City.
This event traditionally occurs during this period of the year to take advantage of favorable weather in the Northeast. However, this week's forecast unfortunately predicts substantial rainfall. Despite the potential for a prolonged week of golf, the presence of some of the world's top players should help to alleviate any disappointment.
Before we delve into this week's star-studded lineup, let's take a moment to learn more about the history and significance of the tournament, as well as the features of the TPC River Highlands course.
For the golf aficionados of the Northeast, the Travelers Championship stands as the sole PGA TOUR event in the region. With the advent of the new schedule, the TPC Boston tournament was eliminated, with plans for its return only anticipated every few years. Consequently, the Travelers Championship remains the only PGA TOUR event held in New England. The event's high ratings and popularity among fans and players have led some to dub it the "People's Major."
The Travelers Championship's adaptability and commitment to enhancing the spectator experience are significant factors in its success. Another contributing factor is the hosting course, TPC River Highlands.
Before delving into the specifics of this course, let's turn our attention to the Reignmakers PGA TOUR slate. This week's event is categorized as a Deluxe event, boasting a prize pool of $350,000. Tiers starting from CORE and extending to REIGNMAKER are eligible for first-place prizes: $3,000, $5,000, and $10,000 respectively. With exactly 20 events remaining and nearly $5 million in prizes yet to be distributed before December's Hero World Challenge, there are plenty of opportunities for those new to the Reignmakers game.
With the tournament's background established, let's focus on this week's host venue: TPC River Highlands.
Contrasting with last week's event set amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, this week's tournament promises a more serene setting. Nestled in the heart of New England's dense forests, TPC River Highlands is tucked away in rural Connecticut, providing a respite from the city's towering skyscrapers and echoing sirens. This tree-lined parkland layout sets the scene as players navigate the course.
TPC River Highlands, a par 70 course measuring less than 7,000 yards, is one of the few PGA TOUR courses with this specification. While it's far from overpowering, players must strategically position their shots from the fairway to achieve good scores. This doesn't mean that low scores are unattainable; on the contrary, they are quite achievable as both fairways and greens are relatively easy to hit, with successful hits projected to be over 70% this week.
TPC River Highlands has a record of producing diverse winners, as demonstrated by victories from both Xander Schauffele and Chez Reavie, players with markedly different styles. Schauffele is known for his driving length, while Reavie consistently ranks in the lower third for driving distance annually but excels in driving accuracy. Therefore, despite the presence of top-ranked golfers such as Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, and Rory McIlroy, the course lends itself to a wide-open competition.
You can explore these golfers' profiles and more on the newly introduced Player Profile page.
Three-Ball: 3 DraftKings Reignmakers PGA TOUR Targets
Find below a trio of options for this week's Travelers Championship:
Kim, who entered the golfing world as a teenager, possesses remarkable potential as a young golfer with exceptional talent. However, due to his age, it's expected that his performance will fluctuate, marked by high points and low ones. Prior to last week's U.S. Open, he had been in a slump, failing to secure a top-10 finish since January — the longest drought of his professional career spanning nearly five months. After a disappointing first-round score of 73, three over par, it seemed the drought might persist.
Yet, a lengthy birdie putt sank on the first hole of the second round, sparking a turnaround. He proceeded to shoot three consecutive rounds in the 60s, culminating in his first top-10 finish in a Major Championship. Interestingly, his rise in the PGA TOUR also began around this time last year, with a top-5 finish at the Scottish Open. It seems Kim is primed for another outstanding summer performance.
Similar to Kim, Eckroat also achieved his first top-10 finish in a Major Championship last week. The second-year golfer from Oklahoma State hadn't previously met the high expectations set for him. However, his second-place finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson has been a turning point, instilling a newfound confidence. Since then, he's made six consecutive cuts, including three top-16 placements.
With immense potential and recently finding his rhythm on the tour, it would seem too early to discount Eckroat's momentum.
Will Gordon's professional golf career owes much to the Travelers Championship. A few years ago, as a recent college graduate and relative unknown, Gordon earned a sponsor exemption for the tournament and seized the opportunity, finishing in second place and securing a special temporary membership on the TOUR.
Unfortunately, his performance faltered over the following year, resulting in a return to the Korn Ferry Tour. He displayed his potential once more on that tour, earning a promotion back to the PGA TOUR. Now in his second full season, Gordon has achieved a level of consistency he lacked in his first stint, although his top form has yet to return.
This season, he has made the cut in 17 tournaments, missing it in only five. However, those 17 successful cuts have only resulted in a single top-10 finish. Despite this, his best performance in recent months came just two weeks ago at the RBC Canadian Open, where he tied for 18th place. Having previously secured a top-5 finish at the Travelers Championship, Gordon is likely entering this week with his highest level of confidence this year. He's a worthy bet for both this week's tournament and the remainder of the season, considering his current pricing.