2012 PGA Travelers Championship
TPC River Highlands – Cromwell, Connecticut
Par 70 – 6,844 yards
Thursday, June 21 – Sunday, June 24, 2012, TV: Golf Channel, CBS
Defending Champion: Fredrik Jacobson
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
After a brutally demanding US Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, many of the top players in the world are taking the week off. However, the Traveler’s Championship isn’t lacking for star power. Despite being played across the country in Connecticut, the field includes 9 players who have won this season, 7 former winners of this event, and 12 major champions. The PGA chartered a plane for any any player that wanted to play in both the US Open and the Travelers.
For those players who played last week at the incredibly difficult Olympic Club, this course will be a breeze. At only 6,844 yards, it is the third shortest on tour. It ranked as the easiest of the 16 par 70’s in 2011 with a scoring average of just over 68. The last 18 winners have ended up with double digit scores under par. As long as you avoid errors, you should do fine. The weather is expected to be hot on Thursday, but will cool throughout the weekend. There is a chance of rain for Friday and Saturday and moderate winds throughout the tournament.
Here is a look at the contenders and their odds to win courtesy of bookmaker along with some head to head match-ups.
Hunter Mahan (12/1)
Mahan won this event in 2007 and was the runner up in 2008 and 2009. He is second in the FedEx Cup Standings behind Jason Dufner. Mahan has 2 wins this season and also has top 25’s in 8 of the 13 events he played. He is 6ht in greens in regulation and in the top 25 in scoring. Mahan tied for 38th last week at the US Open shooting a +10, but he was only 9 strokes behind winner Webb Simpson. Mahan is -110 to beat Zach Johnson and -130 to beat Simpson. I like Mahan to win both as well as he has done on this course. A top ten is likely, and he could be worth a play for the win.
Matt Kuchar (13/1)
Kuchar is 7th in the FedEx standings. He has 7 top 15’s in 13 starts this season including a win. Kuchar has made the cut in 20 straight events dating back to last year. He tied for 27th at the US Open last week. Kuchar hasn’t played this event since 2008. Kuchar is one of the most consistent golfers on tour. He is 13th in GIR, 23rd in birdie average, and second in adjusted scoring. He is -145 to beat Simpson and -130 to beat Johnson. I like Kuchar in both of those, and he could grab another top 10.
Webb Simpson (16/1)
Simpson won the US Open last week by shooting 68 in both the third and fourth rounds. He finished with a score of +1, but that was good enough to win his first major on a brutally difficult course. He is paired with Keegan Bradley who won the 2011 PGA Championship and Masters champ Bubba Watson. Simpson rose to ninth in the FedEx standings with the win last week. He is 21st in GIR and first in birdies and scoring average. He has 8 sub-par rounds in the his last 9 at River Highlands. The only thing that might hamper his chances this week is the hangover from winning the Open last week. He is an underdog to beat both Mahan and Kuchar. I think Simpson makes the cut but doesn’t really contend here.
Zach Johnson (16/1)
Johnson is 4th in the FedEx Standings with one win and 3 other top 10’s. He missed the cut in Memphis two weeks ago and tied for 41st at the Open last week. He has 4 top 25’s in six appearances at River Highlands. Johnson is ninth in adjusted scoring. Johnson could be worth a play despite struggling the last two weeks. Johnson is favored to beat Mahan but is an underdog to Kuchar.
Padraig Harrington (20/1)
The three time major winner tied for fourth last week at the US Open, his third top 10 of the season on the PGA tour. He is 8th in scoring average, and tied for fifth in this event in 2010. He is +120 to beat Bubba Watson. Harrington should contend here.
Bubba Watson (20/1)
Watson won the Masters in April but has struggled since then. He has only played in 3 tournaments since taking the green jacket, and missed the cut at the Memorial and last week at the US Open. Watson won this event in 2010 for his first PGA tour win, and had top 15’s in 2008 and 2009. The River Highlands course should be just what the doctor ordered to break out of his slump. Watson is -150 to beat Harrington.
Ryan Moore (25/1)
Moore has tied for second here twice including last year. Moore has an adjusted scoring average of 66.2 in his last 12 rounds here. He has 3 top 10’s this season, but is only 55th in the FedEx standings. Moore didn’t qualify for the US Open, so should be well rested after taking 2 weeks off. He could be a nice dark horse play to win, and is -115 to beat Keegan Bradley.
Bo Van Pelt (25/1)
Van Pelt has 5 top 25’s in 9 starts in this event. He has a scoring average of 67.1 in his last 13 rounds. He has 5 top ten finishes and is 4th in strokes gained putting on tour. He is 12th in birdie average. Van Pelt is -155 to beat Louis Oosthuizen.
Fredrik Jacobson (25/1)
Jacobson is the defending champion in this event with a 20 under par score. He had only one bogey last year here despite missing 20 greens in regulation. Jacobson was in contention last week at the US open, but a final round 75 dropped him to a tie for 15th. He also had a top 20 at the Masters. Jacobson is -125 to beat Bradley.
Other top contenders include Keegan Bradley, Louis Oosthuizen, and Ian Poulter (all 33/1). The field might be worth a bet at -110 because it includes Michael Thompson who finished tied for second at the US Open last week, and was in the top five here last year.