By Peter Santo
After a thrilling US Open that saw Jon Rahm capture his first major title, the PGA Tour moves all the way across the country to Hartford, Connecticut for the Travelers Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau and defending champion Dustin Johnson enter the week as co-favorites at 14/1. Patrick Cantlay and Paul Casey slot in just behind them at 18/1.
DeChambeau will be looking to bounce back from a US Open that saw him shoot 77 in the final round after taking the solo lead on the front nine. DeChambeau completely collapsed on the back nine as he came home in 44 at Torrey Pines to finish T26.
Johnson will look to regain his form after a recent stretch of relatively poor play at a familiar venue this week after missing cuts at both The Masters and the PGA Championship. Johnson’s play has picked up as of late with two straight top-25 finishes at the Palmetto Championship and US Open.
TPC River Highlands is a par 70 that measures just 6,841 yards. Scores have annually been low at the Travelers—Jim Furyk had the best round in PGA Tour history when he posted a 58 in the final round in 2016.
The course is home to one of the best stretches of finishing holes on Tour. Holes 14-18 are about as risk-reward as it gets. Players who get hot late in the final round often have a great chance to lift the trophy in Hartford.
DraftKings created a new format this year where players do not have a salary but are instead divided into tiers with users picking one player from each tier.
The tiers are Tournament Favorite, Bomber, Ball Striker, Short Gamer, and Longshot.
The pick: Patrick Cantlay
The FedEx Cup points leader returns to TPC River Highlands 10 years removed from shooting 60 in the second round in 2011. Cantlay is in excellent form as he followed up his win at The Memorial with a T15 finish at Torrey Pines and is coming off three straight top-15 finishes at The Travelers. Ball-striking plays anywhere, especially in Hartford, and Cantlay is one of the best. The UCLA product ranks 14th in SG: Off the Tee and 28th in SG: Approach, and is in the top-10 in SG: Around the Green and SG: Tee to Green. If his putter heats up, Cantlay should find himself in contention this weekend.
The pick: Scottie Scheffler
Scheffler is still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, but the University of Texas alum has come about as close as he can without getting across the finish line. Scheffler has racked up 12 top-25 finishes and seven top-10s in 23 events this season. TPC River Highlands often produces some of the lowest scores on Tour, and Scheffler ranks fourth in birdie average with 4.39 per round this season. It’s difficult to pick when a player will get their first win, but a third-place finish at The Memorial coupled with top-10s at the last two majors means Scheffler is certainly in form.
The Pick: Paul Casey
Casey is in great form after posting top-seven finishes in his last two starts at the PGA Championship and US Open. Casey also has spectacular course history at TPC River Highlands. The Englishman has never finished worse than T-32 and has two runner-ups and two top-5s in Hartford. He is clearly comfortable in Connecticut, and that could lead to fourth win on Tour this week.
Si Woo Kim
The Pick: Harris English
English is coming off a solo third place finish last week at Torrey Pines and posted top-15 finishes at the AT&T Byron Nelson and Palmetto Championship. The University of Georgia alum broke a seven-year drought and began the new year with a win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and has notched six top-10 finishes in 20 events. English sits 13th in the FedEx Cup standings and I expect his good form to continue through the summer.
The Pick: Keegan Bradley
Tough not to pick Bradley this week as a New Englander. A traditionally poor putter, the 2011 PGA Champion has gained strokes on the greens in six of his past eight starts. Bradley continues to stripe it, ranking sixth in SG: Approach and ninth in SG: Tee-to-Green entering the week. On a course where driving accuracy is important, Bradley hits 2/3 of his fairways and ranks 28th in SG: Off-the-Tee. The crowd should be behind the hometown favorite, Bradley has two top-eight finishes in his past two starts at TPC River Highlands.
Harold Varner III
The Pick: Doc Redman
Redman is trending up. The former Clemson Tiger and 2017 US Amateur champion has gained strokes on approach shots in four straight starts for the first time since midway through 2020. The putter is also beginning to heat up for Redman—he has gained strokes on the greens in five straight starts for the first time in his career. Redman also has a good history in Hartford, finishing T11 last year.