After the US Open and the ‘Chamber of Horrors Bay’ the PGA Tour moves to Connecticut this week for the Travellers Championship. A number of the players who suffered last week will be teeing it up at TPC River Highlands, happy that almost the entire landmass of America is between them and last week’s nightmare. In order to secure the strongest field possible the organisers of the Travelers laid on a special flight to take those battered and bruised from the second major of the year straight to Cromwell and there are some top players in the mix.
Apart from Jordan Spieth’s incredibly dramatic win, the story of the US Open was the sorry state of the greens. Luckily the players will have no such problems this week. TPC River Highlands was specifically designed for this tournament after the original host, Wethersfield Country Club, could no longer cope with the number of fans who turned up to watch an event that has been a staple on the PGA Tour for decades. The greens are fair here but they are necessarily difficult given that this is the second shortest course on the PGA Tour rotation.
Bubba Watson is the bookies’ favourite for the win this week but it’s not clear that this course will suit him. He loves smashing the ball down the fairways and shaping short irons into greens but he’s not hit a good percentage of greens so far this season, something that has been a key indicator of success in recent renewals of the Travellers.
If not Bubba, then who? Well, how about Francesco Molinari. The Italian has been threatening all season to win for the first time on the PGA Tour. Nobody drives the ball with more accuracy than Molinari and he hits the vast majority of greens in regulation. Of course, that means little if he doesn’t have a good week with the flat stick. He actually loses strokes to the field with his putter but if he puts the ball close enough to the hole he could come good at 40/1 with Bet365.
The second-favourite with most books this week is Brandt Snedeker. He won his first tournament in a year-and-a-half at the AT&T Pebble Beach so has certifiable form around shorter courses that require accuracy and patience. The popular American gets on with his game and plays with a permanent smile on his face, a smile which will be even broader if he wins at odds of 16/1 with Ladbrokes.
Branden Grace is staying on in America to compete this week to play yet another PGA Tour event. He plays the majority of his golf on the European and Sunshine Tours but is enjoying his time stateside. He was one of the few players to get to grips with Chambers Bay last week where he was impressive in finishing tied for fourth. He’s not played much on the PGA Tour but with nine professional wins so far the 27-year-old certainly has what it takes to compete among the best players in the world and offers great each-way appeal at 45/1 with Coral.