Long shots set to do well at one of the most popular PGA Tour events.
Established in 1952 and formerly bearing the name of entertainer Sammy Davis Jr, the Travelers Championship has found a nice spot on the Tour calendar just a week after the challenge of the US Open.
There’s a strong field heating to TPC River Highlands in Connecticut for an event in which some unfancied players have won in recent years. Keep reading for our preview of this year’s tournament.
Course not as easy as before but lots of birdie chances available
Three or four years ago, the TPC River Highlands course was the easiest par 70 on the Tour. Freddie Jacobson won the event with a score of 20 under par – two behind Kenny Perry’s tournament record – although the course has been toughened up since then.
Those who suffered at the hands of Pinehurst last week will find this a much easier proposition although the two par 5s – holes 6 and 13 – averaged 4.89, the third highest of all courses.
The Travelers Championship is also one of the most popular events on tour with spectators. In 2011, the tournament attracted 240,000 fans for the week and 70,000 fans on Sunday while a record attendance of nearly 400,000 fans came to Cromwell in 2002.
The favourites for the Travelers Championship
The Travelers was Bubba Watson’s first victory on the PGA Tour and, since then, Watson has become the second highest earner at this event. He has recorded three top six finishes since his win in 2010 and the 35 year old has been in excellent recent form.
Despite missing the cut at Pinehurst last week, Watson has finished in the top three at two of his previous three events including his Masters win in April. He’s certainly the man to beat here at 12/1.
Another man with an excellent record at this event is Ryan Moore. The 32 year old has recorded five top 15s at the Travelers including two T2s. Moore was T7 last year and has enjoyed a good season, with four top ten and another top 25s this season.
Moore is available at 33/1.
Aussie Jason Day showed no after effects of his thumb injury to record a decent finish at the US Open last week and is available at 15/1 while we tipped Dustin Johnson at Pinehurst and he rewarded our each-way bet with a T4 finish. Johnson is also 15/1.
Some outsiders to consider
Over recent years, the Travelers has been won by some rank outsiders and so there’s plenty of value to be had beyond the favourites. Since 2000 the event has been won by relative unknowns including Ken Duke, Marc Leishman, Woody Austin and JJ Henry.
And, the winners of this tournament in the last four years have all been first time winners on the Tour.
Chris Stroud has never won on the PGA Tour although he came closest at this event in 2013 when he played one of the Tour’s shots of the year to force a play-off which he eventually lost to Ken Duke.
Stroud has managed to fly under the radar despite eight top 20 finishes this year and he finished T14 at Colonial recently. He has made six straight cuts at the Travelers and we think he offers great each way value at 55/1.
We’ve been keeping an eye on Charley Hoffman over recent weeks and the 37 year old has played solidly if rarely challenging the top of the leaderboard. He hasn’t missed a cut since early February and has recorded four top 12 finishes during that run including a T5 at the Zurich Classic in April.
Hoffman was joint runner-up at this event in 2012 and finished T7 last year. He’s due a really good result and it could well happen at River Highlands this weekend at 35/1.
Backing a man who has missed his last four cuts may not seem like great advice but when Brian Stuard plays well he can be a real challenger.
Prior to his bad run he’d recorded a T5 finish at the RBC Heritage and a very impressive T17 finish at the Players Championship. These came on top of three successive top six finishes earlier in the season.
His recent form is reflected in his odds of 145/1 but if he gets it right – he shot four decent rounds at this tournament in 2010 – he could be a decent rank outsider to watch.
Check out all our pre-tournament odds on the 2014 Travelers Championship over at our main site at https://www.betbright.com/golf/51633018/56404148/118819970