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Travelers Championship: Let the birdie barrage begin



By Andrew Tursky 

GolfWRX Contributor

The carnage of missed 8-footers for par at the U.S. Open last week will be replaced by red numbers this week at the Travelers Championship.

With the dust settling in San Francisco at The Olympic Club, the PGA Tour moves 3,060 miles away to Cromwell, Conn., to play the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.  The 6,841-yard, par 70 layout this week will yield more sub-par rounds in the first day than we saw all last week at the U.S. Open.

Webb Simpson, now the No.5-ranked golfer in the world, is in the field for the Travelers Championship despite winning his first major just three days ago.  He was able to endure the rigors of a U.S. Open and emerge victorious with a 1-over par 281-stroke total last week.  This week, however, will be more about low numbers than mental endurance. Birdies will be a must.

Last year’s winner at the Travelers Championship, Fredrik Jacobson, made 21 birdies and only one bogey to finish at 20-under par for the event. Jacobson’s four-day total fell two shots shy of tournament record 258 strokes (22-under) set in 2009 by Kenny Perry.  Jacobson will be back in the field this year to defend his title after finishing T-15th at the U.S. Open.

The players won’t be complaining about a course that’s too firm, too fast or and too hard — this is not The Olympic Club.  The course is short in length and forgiving around the greens, allowing players to attack the flagstick.

Rounds in the low 60’s are not uncommon, even for the amateurs in the field.

Patrick Cantlay made headlines last year at the Travelers Championship, firing a 60 (10-under par) in Friday’s second round at TPC River Highlands, the lowest round ever on the PGA Tour by an amateur.

Cantlay is in the headlines again this year at the Travelers, announcing on Tuesday his decision to turn professional for this week’s event.  The long-awaited move by the world’s top ranked amateur comes after completing his sophomore year at UCLA.  It’s time for the Bruin to start cashing in on his success and earning full-time status on the PGA Tour.  Had he turned pro at the beginning of the 2012 season, Cantlay would have earned $61, 376 in two events.

Past champions Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan will also be in the field this week, looking to redeem themselves after under-performing at the U.S. Open.

Watson, the 2010 Travelers champion, will look to regain his focus after missing the cut last week at the U.S .Open. He was vocal about his displeasure of the set-up at The Olympic Club.  The more forgiving layout of TPC River Highlands should better suit his liking.

Mahan, the 2007 Travelers Champion, will be looking to win his third PGA Tour event of the season. He was on the highlight reel last week more for his chunked chip shots than his stellar play, finishing T-38.

Matt Kuchar will be in the Travelers Championship field for the first time since 2008, when he finished T-52.  Kuchar returns as the No. 7-ranked golfer in the world and playing consistently well.  He holds the longest active streak of made-cuts on tour with 20, and has made the cut in all of his 13 events played this year. He will look to continue his steady play of 2012, which included a win at The PLAYERS Championship in May.

The players will fly cross-country, through a couple different time zones in search of birdies at TPC River Highlands.  The massacre of last week has concluded. Now let the birdie barrage begin.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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  1. Janice Simone

    Jun 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Great Job A.J.

  2. E Gibney

    Jun 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Great article, Andrew!

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut



Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.


Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.


We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tour News

Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open



After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Tour News

Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles



Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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19th Hole