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Travelers Championship Preview

With two thirds of the PGA Tour “regular” season over with, the PGA Tour moves to Cromwell Connecticut for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

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Travelers ChampionshipWith Oakmont’s tilted greens, thick rough, and narrow fairways happily in their rear view mirror, the PGA Tour moves on to the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut for the newly named Travelers Championship.

 

Last year’s champion J. J. Henry returns to defend his title; however, a total of fifteen players from the U. S. Open are looking to shake off the Oakmont blues from their game by winning the Travelers Championship. The TPC River Highlands will be playing to par 70 at just over 6800 yards and many players are looking forward to the strategy of go low to win rather than last week’s grind to par. J. J. Henry said, "The rough [here] is normally pretty high, but at the same time you can still miss the shot and still try to maneuver it, if not on the green, somewhere around it so you can still make par. The greens, not to say they’re flat, but they are a heck of a lot flatter than last week."

With a six million dollar purse and a number of top players in the field, the Travelers Championship has become a true success story on the PGA Tour’s schedule. However, earlier this year things were not quite so optimistic. With the PGA Tour looking to shorten its schedule and launch the new FedEx Cup points race, this tournament looked be on the verge of contraction after losing its title sponsor, a couple of years ago. However, once the 84 Lumber company decided not to continue their event in Pennsylvania, the Travelers Insurance company stepped in and committed to four years sponsorship of the event. In addition to a new title sponsor, tournament director Nathan Grube and his staff have worked hard to prove to players that the increased purse is not the only reason to make the trip to Hartford. Services such as a charter plane from Oakmont to Connecticut and free laundry for caddies along with major improvements to the TPC River Highlands’s practice facilities all have attracted one of the best fields this event has ever seen. "In the past we’ve had reasons for someone like a Tiger not to come. What we’ve done is try to attack every one of those things for every player, not just Tiger. But it’s going to be very soon where there is going to be no reason for someone like Tiger not to come," said Grube.

Phil Mickelson had committed to playing in the event, he formally withdrew yesterday due to his injured wrist. Tournament director Nathan Grube informed the media, "His doctor recommended, from what it sounded like, that he could not play, and he’s not going to play for a couple of weeks." Although Mickelson will not play, the field still remains very strong with stars like Vijay Singh, David Toms, Charles Howell III, and Stewart Cink the event will be an exciting one for the PGA Tour.

Television Times:
Thursday: 3-6 PM ET GOLF
Friday: 3-6 PM ET GOLF
Saturday: 3-6 PM ET CBS
Sunday: 3-6 PM ET CBS

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News

Morning 9: Tiger gets Bob Jones Award | Record U.S. Open purse | PGA Tour-PIF announcement next week?

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the U.S. Open gets underway!

1. Tiger accepts USGA’s Bob Jones Award

Ron Driscoll for the USGA…”Tiger Woods began competing in USGA championships at age 14, which is the same age that Bob Jones was when he competed in his first U.S. Amateur. It’s far from the only characteristic that Woods shares with the namesake of the USGA’s highest honor, which Woods received on Tuesday evening before the 2024 U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club…”

  • “…In accepting the award, Woods called Jones “the greatest amateur who ever lived. All the attributes that we all try to aspire to in this great game of golf, that is what Bob Jones exuded.”
  • “Woods went on to honor his mother, Kultida, but not before joking that the first USGA event she attended was his final U.S. Amateur in 1996. Having won five straight USGA events, he said the pressure was enormous. “There she was in a Stanford sweatshirt; imagine if I had lost? But who did I hug first after I won, right, Mommy?”
  • “My mom doesn’t get enough credit,” Woods said. “It was Dad and I on the road, but my mom has been there my entire life, has always been there through thick and thin. I accept this award with humbleness and in unbelievable regard for the past recipients, but I also accept it for my mom, too. She allowed me to get here, to do these things, to chase my dreams, with support and love. I didn’t do this alone, I had the greatest rock that any child could possibly have. Thank you, Mommy.”
Full piece.

2. U.S. Open purse now stands at $21.5 million

Golf Channel staff…”This week’s U.S. Open offers a $21.5 million purse with the winner earning $4.3 million. That’s up from $20 million ($4 million to winner) a year ago.”

  • “It’s the largest purse among the four men’s majors, with The Players Championship paying $25 million.”
Full piece.

3. Pathway for top LIV players into future U.S. Opens?

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”For three years, the major championship bodies – Augusta National, USGA, PGA of America and R&A – have been reluctant to give players who joined LIV Golf a pathway into their events. But on Wednesday at Pinehurst, USGA CEO Mike Whan offered those players hope.”

  • “We’re going to talk about it this offseason, whether or not there needs to be a path to somebody or somebodies that are performing really well on LIV that can get a chance to play in that way,” Whan said. “I think we are serious about that. Exactly what that looks like and how that’ll curtail, I’m not just being coy, we haven’t done that yet.”
Full piece.

4. USGA looking at drivers?

Mike Stachura for Golf Digest…??”When the USGA and R&A announced in December that there would be a change in the way golf balls were tested that would make most models nonconforming, resulting in an estimated distance loss of as much as 15 yards at the elite level, it was seen as a way to penalize the fastest swingers in all of golf (top men professionals) while offering lesser and potentially inconsequential penalties at the recreational golfer level. While a similar rollback for the driver was contemplated in the early days of the ruling bodies’ research, that interest eventually waned, said Mike Whan, USGA CEO.”

  • “Yet during his U.S. Open-week press conference on Wednesday at Pinehurst No. 2, Whan talked about the distance deliberations and conversations with R&A CEO Martin Slumbers and indicated that the driver is still in the rollback crosshairs.”
  • “I would say comfortably speaking for both Martin and I, we had and have a real interest in figuring out a way to provide a difference as it relates to the driver, as well,” Whan said. “To date, we didn’t really come up with something that wouldn’t have a much more negative effect on the recreational game. What we did on the golf ball is going to have much more of an impact at [the elite] level than at the average level. When we started talking about changes in the driver or driving equipment, it was just the opposite. Much more significant impact across the board than just at the elite level.”
Full piece.

5. Last chance for Olympic spots

Nick Zaccardi for NBC Sports…”The U.S. Open is also a scramble for the last Olympic men’s golf spots in Paris.”

  • “After Sunday’s final round, the 60-player Olympic men’s field will be determined based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). The women’s field will be drawn from the Rolex Rankings after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week.
  • “A nation can qualify up to four golfers per gender if they are all ranked in the top 15 in the world. A nation can qualify up to two golfers if any are ranked outside the top 15.
Full Piece.

6. Nelly’s proudest moment of 2024

Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek…”Nelly Korda, a six-time winner on tour this season, says she was never more proud of herself this season than the U.S. Women’s Open. That might sound strange, given that she made a 10 on a par 3 and didn’t play the weekend.”

  • “But Korda is wise enough to see past the score.
  • “I’m not going to say that I was happy with the way I played,” she said. “I was happy with the way I fought. I fought really, really, hard to make the cut.”
Full Piece.

7. Bettors loving Scheffler

Doug Greenberg for ESPN…”The central betting story going into the U.S. Open is the same as it was before the Masters and the PGA Championship: Scottie Scheffler is an overwhelming favorite and is seeing some of the shortest odds for a major since prime Tiger Woods.

  • “The 27-year-old opened the week at +300 at ESPN BET and has been bet down to +290; across the marketplace, he’s as short as +250. It’s the shortest odds for any golfer to win the U.S. Open since Woods in 2007 (+250).”
  • “Despite the extremely short odds, Scheffler is still attracting a very healthy number of tickets and even more handle.”
Full Piece.

8. PGA Tour-PIF announcement next week?

9. U.S. Open photos

  • Check out all of our galleries from this week’s major event!
Full Piece.
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Equipment

Spotted: Phil Mickelson testing Callaway’s mini driver

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There is some serious equipment testing going on at Pinehurst’s legendary No. 2 course before the 2024 U.S. Open starts! We spotted renowned club tinkerer Phil Mickelson on the range with a new setup. He was testing out the new Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Ti 340 Mini Driver with a new Mitsubishi Diamana BB (Blue Board) shaft.

Phil has long been a mini driver/2-wood/strong 3-wood guy, as he was the inspiration for the Callaway “Phranken Wood” about 10 years ago. For many pros, adding a strong 3-wood or mini driver allows them to turn it over easier and add a more consistent draw to their bag off the tee without losing too much distance.

Mitsubishi’s Diamana BB is the newest mid-launch shaft in the Diamana line. The “BB” on the shaft of course references the iconic Blue Board shafts from 20 years ago and this model will have a similar smooth feel.

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 U.S. Open

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GolfWRX is live this week from the third major of the season: the U.S. Open at historic Pinehurst No. 2.

Qualifier WITBs are the stars the the show so far — along with in-hand looks at what Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau are playing.

Check back throughout the week as we continue to add more galleries.  

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying about the photos from the U.S. Open in the forums. 

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