It looked like the Los Angeles Country Club was going to be a pushover for these professionals on Thursday when both Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele shot opening round 62s. The course did get progressively tougher as the week went along because both Rickie and Xander were over par through their next three rounds. The course definitely put up quite a fight against the best players in the world.
Congrats to a very talented golfer Wyndham Clark on his first career major championship. He had a ton of hype coming out of college but it took a few years for him to put it all together on tour. The win at the Wells Fargo was the final piece to the puzzle for his game. It gave him the confidence that he could compete against the top tier players on tour.
Once again Rory McIlory came close, once again Scottie Scheffler finished Top 5, once again Xander and Rickie faded over the weekend at a major, once again Viktor Hovland finished Top 20, and once again Phil Mickelson missed the cut. We saw a lot of the same narratives this weekend and we will do it all over again at the Open Championship in a few weeks at Royal Liverpool.
This week’s event is the Travelers Championship, which takes place in Cromwell, Connecticut at TPC River Highlands. It’s a picturesque golf course renowned for its challenging layout and beautiful scenery. A ton of history at the Travelers Championship dating back to 1952. It has become a favorite stop for both players and fans, offering a unique and intimate setting.
TPC River Highlands was designed by renowned architect Robert J. Ross stretches across 6,841 yards and features a par-70 layout. It is known for tree-lined fairways, natural water features, and breathtaking views. The course presents a strategic challenge to golfers with its narrow fairways, undulating greens, and well-placed hazards. It demands accurate shot placement and rewards players with excellent course management skills.
I feel like the key to victory this weekend will be greens in regulation. The course features eight Par 4s a little over 400 yards in length and two that are under 400 yards. There are a few holes that you should remember as we head into this weekend’s action. The Par 4 15th is only 296 yards and most every player will go for the green off the tee but the hole known as the "Golden Triangle," features a narrow fairway surrounded by water. The Par 3 16th hole, known as "Bunker Hill," features a challenging green surrounded by multiple bunkers. The playbook will be filled with strong Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and Approach players, these are the best ball strikers in the world.
The course history shows us that course managers and the shorter hitters on tour have had a lot of success at the Travelers. Players like Harris English, Chez Reavie, Jordan Spieth and Russell Knox have all won in the last few years. We had a final pairing of Dustin Johnson and Brendon Todd in 2020, two completely different style players but both had success on this course.
It could be a wet weekend in Connecticut. The weather looks good on Thursday with temperatures in the upper 70s but by Friday afternoon, the showers are expected to begin. Those showers will turn into thunderstorms by the weekend and could cause multiple stoppages in play. The one ray of hope is that the forecast says it’s only a 50/50 chance we will see all that rain. Keep your eye on the forecast as we get closer to the start of the tournament.
ONE & DONE PICK OF THE WEEK: TOMMY FLEETWOOD