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Travelers Championship Preview

Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Network

Wyndham Clark broke out of his shell to become a major champion last week but the TOUR is quickly firing up another designated event.

The large-purse events are coming rapid fire this season.

Next on the docket is the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. It will be quite the trek for golfers that played at Los Angeles Country Club last week, going coast to coast.

The cutline will return to normal PGA TOUR rules this week, low 65 and ties with a full field of 156 golfers starting the week.

The Course

This event has been running since 1952 with the current host course, TPC River Highlands, running the show since 1984.

A Pete Dye design, this track certainly fits his reputation of being short and tricky.

Notice I said tricky, not difficult. This risk-reward layout yields plenty of low scores for those who are striking it steady but big numbers can quickly add up at River Highlands.

Off the tee, golfers do not need to pound drivers as the par-70 layout stretches to just 6,852 yards. There are only two par 4s over 460 yards.

Golfers do need some precision off the tee, though, as more than eight percent of tee shots turn into penalties here, which is second highest among regular TOUR stops (Sea Island being the one above it).

On approach, golfers will see small targets with greens that average just 5,000 square feet. As you can imagine with a short course, there are a lot of short irons and wedges at TPC River Highlands.. Almost 70 percent of approach shots will come from inside of 175 yards.

Pin placements can be one of the key defenses to the golf course, with golfers finding tough up-and-down situations if they short-side themselves when those pins are tucked.

The greens are a bent-poa mix which is common in the region.

Looking at past scoring conditions, the field-average birdie and eagle rates sit below TOUR average but so do the bogey and double rates. It’s a par-heavy course that requires patience and the ability to play “boring golf”. That brand of golf is often rewarded here but there are certainly low rounds available for those that catch fire with Jim Furyk‘s 58 back in 2016 being one standout example.

Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes, let’s try to break down the course to see how it will play.

Chez Reavie in 2020: “It’s a great golf course. You’ve got to shape it both ways. If you hit the ball off line it can punish you, so it’s just a lot of fun to play.”

Bubba Watson in 2019: “I think the golf course is just so fair. You’re always moving the ball forward. No matter where you hit it, the ball is always going forward. There are some trees in some places, but the rough is always fair. You can always advance it. “

Matt Jones in 2018: “There’s a lot of holes you can be aggressive with and get shorter irons in your hand, if you want. You can lay it back and play it a little more conservatively.”

Shot shaping, fair test. As Jones pointed out, you can take some more aggressive lines but it comes with a risk-reward element, it’s not a bomb-and-gouge course.

The Weather

Thursday: Sunny with a high of 75 degrees. Winds at 7 to 10 MPH.

Friday: Cloudy with a high of 79 degrees. Winds at 6 to 9 MPH.

It’s a good start to the week but things may get sloppy over the weekend with a decent chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday.