Travelers Championship 2013 Preview

By Michael McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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The PGA Tour this week heads to Cromwell, Connecticut for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

The tournament was established in 1952 when it was won by Ted Kroll. Back then it was known as the Insurance City Open and he won US$2,400 for his efforts. This year the Purse is US$6,100,000 with the winner taking home a cool US$1,080,000. Times have certainly changed on tour.

Over the years the tournament has gone through a few name changes and has been known as the Travelers Championship since 2007. It has been played at TPC River Highlands since 1984. The course is a Par 70, 6,841 yard birdie-fest with 119 sand bunkers and 5 water hazards. It is ranked as one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour and as such you can expect to see a lot of low scores this week. The last 5 years have seen scores of -15, -20, -14, -22 and -18.

Considering that we had the US Open last week the field this week still has many big names. The top five in betting are 14/1 Hunter Mahan, 14/1 Justin Rose, 18/1 Jason Dufner, 18/1 Lee Westwood and 22/1 Bubba Watson.

All five players are backing up from the US Open so it will be interesting to see if we have any late withdrawals, particularly from the winner Justin Rose who has not had time to rest for one minute due to all the media commitments that go along with winning a Major.

Aside from these five great names we also have eight winners from this season teeing it up with the likes of Brian Gay, Kevin Streelman, Michael Thompson and Harris English. Then we have seven past winners of the Travelers Championship including Defending Champion Marc Leishman.

Other past winners are Bubba Watson (2010), Hunter Mahan (2007), JJ Henry (2006), Brad Faxon (2005).

So what does it take to win at TPC River Highlands? While last week was all about accuracy and precision, this week is time for the big hitters to shine. There is more emphasis on distance when you look at the past winners who have all ranked highly in this stat over the years.

There are only two Par 5′s on the course so look for players who have good Par 4 stats.

Good putting stats have also been a good key to the winners in the past. Most have been ranked highly in this category.

After taking this all into consideration I have come up with two players whose game should suit the course.

John Rollins 33/1

Rollins is the guy to be on this week if you want a guy who is in great current form and course form. He is this weeks ‘form guy’.

His last three tournaments have been t21st Byron Nelson Championship, t4th Crowne Plaza Invitational and 6th St Jude Classic. Pretty good results in anyones book. From 16 starts this season he has had ten Top 25 finishes. Great consistency in his game.

Then you look at his course form. Again it all points to a positive outcome. Last year he finished t4th while in 2011 he was t2nd.

John’s stats this season see him ranking well in all the right areas. 36th in driving distance, 10th in greens in regulation, 32nd in birdie average, 25th in scoring average, 23rd in par 4 birdie or better average and 14th in ball striking.

Expect to see Rollins up high on the leaderboard heading into the weekend!

Charlie Hoffman 50/1

It has been a consistent season so far for Charlie. 14 starts for only 3 missed cuts and four top 10′s. Those Top 10′s came in the Humana Challenge, Valero Texas Open, RBC Heritage and Byron Nelson Championship.

His last four outings have seen him playing on the weekend in all those events. 37th Players Championship, 8th Byron Nelson Championship, 18th Crowne Plaza Invitational and 63rd The Memorial Tournament.

When it comes to the Travelers Championship Hoffman has good memories after finishing t2nd last year. He will no doubt be aiming to go one better this week.

Like Rollins, Hoffman has the stats to se him go a long way this week. 44th in driving distance, 60th in greens in regulation, 26th in strokes gained putting, 11th in birdie average, 37th in sand saves and 21st in par 4 birdie or better average.

At 50/1 Charlie is at juicy each way odds. It would not surprise to see him lifting the trophy this weekend.

Last Week

Justin Rose saluted for us in the US Open at 25/1 to keep up the great run we are currently having with winners. Lets hope we get a few more as the season continues.

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