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2022 Travelers Championship: Outright Betting Tips

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The PGA Tour’s third major championship did not disappoint as Matt Fitzpatrick capped off an excellent Sunday with a U.S. Open victory. The season rolls along to Cromwell, Conn., where the 2022 Travelers Championship will be played at TPC River Highlands. Last year, we saw one of the most captivating thrillers in history when Harris English defeated Kramer Hickok in an eight-hole playoff.

TPC River Highlands is a 6,841-yard par 70 and has been a Tour stop for 39 years. Home of the only 58 in Tour history, it is possible to go extremely low at this Pete Dye design. However, TPC River Highlands does feature a difficult closing stretch with holes 16-18 all historically averaging scores over par.

The Travelers Championship will play host to 156 golfers this week. Some notable players in the field include number one player in the world Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.

2022 Travelers Championship Best Bets

Patrick Cantlay (+1600)

Patrick Cantlay is everything I want in a golfer at TPC River Highlands. He has a solid overall game and can get hot enough to win tournaments with his putter. In the past, we’ve seen golfers get it done at The Travelers by doing a little bit of everything. In his past four starts at the course, Cantlay hasn’t finished worse than 15th.

Perhaps the most glaring identifier of a potential Cantlay victory is his success on Pete Dye designs. The 30-year-old ranks first in Strokes Gained: Total on Pete Dye designs. His team win earlier in the year at the Zurich Classic was also a Pete Dye design in TPC Louisiana.

If you exclude the major championships, which Cantlay has struggled in for the most part through this point in his career, he has been knocking at the door for a win. He finished second at the RBC Heritage (also a Pete Dye design) and third at the Memorial Tournament prior to his 14th at the U.S. Open.

Cantlay famously shot a 60 as an amateur at TPC River Highlands in 2011. He’s a birdie-maker who should enter the week under the radar and motivated to win another PGA Tour event.

Sungjae Im (+3300)

Sungjae Im is another golfer who’s played some great golf on Pete Dye tracks. He ranks fourth in his past 24 rounds in Strokes Gained: Total on Pete Dye designs.

Prior to the U.S. Open, the South Korean was playing his best golf of the 2022 season. He finished 21st, 15th, and 10th consecutively and gained an average of 8.7 strokes from tee to green per event in those three starts. He missed the cut on the number (+4), which doesn’t concern me in regard to his overall current form.

Throughout his career, Im has played a lot of his best golf on short par-70 courses. In his past 50 rounds, he ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Total on courses that fit that description. On this shorter track, Im should give himself plenty of birdie looks considering he is playing from the fairway quite often. Throughout his career, he gains an average of 2.8 strokes on the field in Fairways Gained.

To win the Travelers, it will be important to get hot with the putter. Each of the past three winners of the event have gained at least 4.0 strokes putting on the field. Over the past three seasons, Im has gained more than 4.0 strokes putting in eighteen measured events. If he gets the flatstick working at TPC River Highlands, he has the all-around game to finish the job on Sunday.

Marc Leishman (+5500)

TPC River Highlands is one of the handful of stops on Tour where course history seems to be incredibly important. Among the players in the field this week, few have better course history than Marc Leishman. Since winning the event in 2012, the Australian has two additional top-10 finishes, including a third-place finish in last year’s edition.

It hasn’t been the most consistent of seasons for the 38-year-old, but he flashed some form last week at The Country Club in the U.S. Open. He finished in a tie for 14th place and gained 4.4 strokes on approach, which was the most he’s gained in an event since September of 2021.

When Leishman gets in trouble on the course, it tends to be due to his propensity to get a bit inaccurate with the driver. TPC River Highlands provides some opportunities to get away with errant drives, and, because it’s the shortest course on Tour, it allows for golfers to club down with an iron off the tee.

It’s possible that the strong performance last week was an outlier, but Leishman is a golfer who offers true win equity at a strong price.

Seamus Power (+5000)

Seamus Power had an excellent showing at the U.S. Open, finishing in 12th place. In the past, we’ve seen golfers parlay a strong performance at the U.S. Open into a Travelers Championship victory. Power fits the mold in the fact that he exceeded expectations last week and now heads to a course that should be much more manageable for his skill set.

The strokes gained statistics don’t tell the whole story in terms of how well the Irishman has played at Pete Dye tracks. In the WGC-Dell Match Play earlier this year, Power advanced all the way to the quarterfinals when he finally lost 3&2 to the eventual champion and best player in the world Scottie Scheffler. The event was held at Austin Country Club, which is a Pete Dye design that requires creative shot making similar to TPC River Highlands.

Another Pete Dye course that doesn’t show up in the strokes gained metrics is TPC Louisiana, which hosts the Zurich Classic. Although it is a team event, Power finished in a tie for fifth at the event in 2019 while playing with Curtis Luck.

Power has three top-17 finishes in his past four starts, and TPC River Highlands should be a better fit for him than any course he’s played in that stretch.

Brendon Todd (+10000):

Brendon Todd has historically been one of the best putters on the PGA Tour, and he’s started to show it once again in his past few starts. The three-time Tour winner has gained an average of 5.5 strokes putting on the field in his past two starts. In those events, Todd finished in third place (Charles Schwab Challenge) and 13th (RBC Canadian Open).

Todd has also been hitting his irons very well, which is a great sign for his chances to contend this week. He’s gained strokes on approach in five of his past six starts and had his best iron week of the season in his most recent start in Canada (+3.8 SG).  He’s also excellent around the greens which will be helpful at TPC River Highlands because its greens are a good deal smaller than Tour average.

Todd was close to victory here in 2020, when he was the 54-hole leader. Unfortunately, he made a mess on the par-4 12th hole and eventually lost to Dustin Johnson. That experience should prove to be useful if he gets in the hunt once again this week.

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TG2: Brand new Titleist TSR woods and Callaway’s new Jaws Raw wedges

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Titleist just released its new TSR woods out on tour and 18 players switched into it right away. Our thoughts on the drivers and fairway woods from pictures and in-hand looks. Callaway’s new Jaws Raw wedges have been on tour in a few bags already, but they officially launched this week. Brooks is headed to LIV and neither of us are shocked. We finally break down some more equipment news from the Travelers.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Talking technical turkey with the head of Takomo Golf Clubs

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Enjoying our discussion on irons, wedges, and fairway woods.

 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: A visit with Dr. Bob Rotella

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As I was thinking about some “gremlins” that have snuck into my own game the past few weeks, I recalled a visit I had with Dr. Bob Rotella some 10 years ago. That morning was one of the standout days of my 30-year golf industry career, getting to spend several hours with one of golf’s pre-eminent sports psychologists.

So, that brought me to my “Wedge Guy” archives to recall what I shared with my readers way back then, just to refresh my own memories and takeaways from that very interesting and enlightening session.

Dr. Rotella, as you probably know, has worked with dozens of tour professionals, and has authored numerous books on the subject of performance psychology, most notably “Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect.” If you haven’t read any of his works, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, we spent two hours talking about the performance challenges all of us golfers face, which led into a deep dive into the technologies I had built into the SCOR4161 precision scoring clubs (the forerunners of my work on Ben Hogan wedges and now the Edison Forged line). What I want to share with you today are some of the real “pearls of wisdom” that I gleaned from that very enjoyable visit:

Scoring is all about short range performance.

Dr. Rotella first enlightened me to the fact that tour players hit “10 and a half to 12 and a half” approach shots a round with an 8-iron or less (now even more than that!). For the modern tour players, that accounts for almost all the par fours and threes, because the par fives are two-shot holes. He went on to express his advice that you just try to not hurt yourself when you have a seven-iron or longer into the green, and you fire at flags with the short irons and wedges. In his words, “if you don’t feel like you can knock flags down with those scoring clubs this week, you might as well stay home.” I think we can all apply that wisdom by spending the vast majority of our range time working to improve our work with those high-lofted scoring clubs.

The tight fairways scare the pros, too

Over the past few decades, the mower heights on fairways have been moved closer and closer, so that the pros play tighter and tighter lies all the time. Back then I had just read where the fairway height at Merion, for example, was at one inch when David Graham won the U.S. Open there in 1981 but was increased from one quarter to on half inch for the 2013 U.S. Open. That’s a huge difference. Because the ball is sitting tighter, shots are hit lower on the clubface, which robotic testing reveals, produces lower and hotter flight with more spin. And it makes short range pitch and chip shots scary even for the pros. That’s because they play low bounce wedges to deal with the bunkers on tour. (Which I’m getting to in just a moment.) Watch TV and you’ll see tour pros putting from off the green more often than you used to, and now we know why. There’s a tip in there for all of us.

Those tour bunkers.

Did you know the PGA Tour had a standard for bunker sand. They like them firm and moist, so the players can hit those miraculous bunker shots with lots of spin, and they very rarely get a “down” or plugged lie. As I’ve written before, the PGA Tour appreciates that their “customer” is the television viewer – over 50% of which don’t even play golf – and they like to see these things. But I have a problem with the best players in the world enjoying bunkers that are not nearly as tough as the ones we all play every week. For most all of us, any bunker shot that gets out and leaves a putt of even 20 to 30 feet is not bad.

There’s a lot more I took away, but not enough room here. I strongly suggest that you add a few of Dr. Rotella’s books to your golf reading list.

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