Last Week at the U.S Open
We had another decent week at the U.S Open. However, it was another frustrating week as we get pulled on the line yet again. Once again, we had the leader heading into the final round in Louis Oosthuizen. He looked the winner for most of the last round as most of the field struggled and dropped away. However, the Spaniard Jon Rahm continued to play well and picked up the win by one shot in the end.
Perhaps, it was justice for Rahm, who a couple of weeks ago had to withdraw when leading by six shots heading into the final round as he tested positive for Covid-19. Our other must-have player Tony Finau was the most disappointing aspect of the week for us as he missed the cut. But our other three picks all looked in decent shape going into the last round. However, much like the rest of the field, they struggled on the previous day as Lowry finished 65th, Poulter 40th, and Bezuidenhout 31st.
This week we head to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. Let’s begin, as always, by taking a look at the history of the tournament as we start to build this week’s Beerlife profile.
The History of the Traveler’s Championship
The Travelers Championship is a tournament full of rich history. This golf tourney dates back to 1952, when the competition was first held. Looking back through the years, there have been some big names to have won the trophy, from Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer to Paul Azinger and Greg Norman.
In recent years we have seen the tournament won by the likes of Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and last year’s tournament winner, Dustin Johnson. Although some players have managed to get their names on the trophy more than once, retaining it has been a different story, and over the years, only one man has managed that feat, and that man is none other than PGA champion Phil Mickelson. Phil won the tournament back to back at the turn of the century in 2001 and 2002.
Bubba Watson will be looking to make history this week as he bids to become the tournament’s co-most successful player, having won the tournament on three previous occasions. The record-holder is Billy Casper, who has won the championship four times throughout the years.
Let’s turn our attention to the last five winners and look at how they won the tournament and what sort of form they were in when entering.
Past Winners at The Travelers
2020 Dustin Johnson – 261 (-19) – Form 17/CUT/48/10
2019 Chez Reavie – 263 (-17) – Form 3/CUT/14/18
2018 Bubba Watson – 263 (-17) – Form CUT/44/57/28
2017 Jordan Spieth – 268 (-12) – Form 35/13/2/CUT
2016 Russell Knox – 266 (-14) – Form 22/30/54/23
The Course at TPC River Highlands
Proper great golf courses have innovative architecture and regard for nature, and TPC River Highlands’ championship layout is no exception. TPC River Highlands’ par-70, 6,841-yard course was entirely redesigned by the famous Pete Dye in 1982 and again in 1989 by noted golf course architect Bobby Weed and PGA TOUR Design Services, Inc., with PGA TOUR players Howard Twitty and Roger Maltbie serving as advisers. As a result, the 148-acre course is bordered by magnificent corridors of mature maple, oak, sycamore, and eastern white pine trees that frame gently rolling fairways.
Bentgrass runs the length of the course, with bluegrass fescue roughs surrounding it. Numerous lakes and ponds enhance the layout’s attractiveness, and a well-balanced combination of long and short holes creates an exciting and memorable golf experience. Nos. 15–17, which play around a four-acre lake, are the most remarkable stretch.
Ball control is critical on this course, which is why long-hitter Bubba Watson has won three times and precision golfer Jim Furyk was able to blitz the course for a 12-under 58, the lowest score in PGA Tour history. Furyk’s 58, which he had before in his career at the 2013 BMW Championship at Conway Farms, is in no way indicative of the course growing easier. He shot a total of 10.66 strokes better than the rest of the field that day.
Tee shot placement is essential, and bombers can help out as well. So, there are two ways to approach it. After 300 yards off the tee, the fairways shorten by about 20% on average (closing from 35 yards wide to roughly 28 yards). Fairways are tree-lined, giving them a more compact appearance. The greens here have always been challenging to retain and run fast. The undulations are also returning on this Pete Dye design, unlike Harbour Town. This week’s SG-Putting statistic will be aided by the placement of approach shots on the green.
The weather starts with glorious sunshine on Thursday, and clouds will quickly move in on Friday and Saturday, culminating in the rain on the final day, so we should see a real mixture of rounds each day.
The Field at The Travelers
Five of the world’s top ten golfers tee off this week. These include FedEx leader Patrick Cantlay, last year's winner Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.
Ten past champions also enter this year's field, making this a great spectacle to follow on from the U.S Open. You can sometimes get a bit of a lull after a major, but this certainly isn't the case here. With 24 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking among the top contenders, the field will be competing for a $7.4 million payout.
We run each player in the field through our BeerLife Sports profile analysis to come up with our selections. This is what we are looking for this week:
Geniuses of the Genesis – The last three winners at the Travelers have finished inside the top ten at the Genesis Invitational, with Bubba Watson winning the event in 2018.
Genesis Invitational 2021
- Max Homa
- Tony Finau
- Sam Burns
- Cameron Smith
- Jon Rahm
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Viktor Hovland
Setting up the final day – Round three has been the round when the last five winners have made their move, setting up a grandstand finish. This will mainly be key as the final round has notoriously been the worst scoring round.
Round Three Scoring Average
- Webb Simpson
- Sergio Garcia
- Emiliano Grillo
- Rafael Campos
- Russell Henley
Accuracy off the tee – With many of these fairways narrowing as you head towards the hole, we need to find players who can hit a long, straight drive.
Driving Accuracy Percentage
- Brendon Todd
- Brian Stuard
- Chez Reavie
- Ryan Armour
- Ryan Moore
Solid approach play – This will be key as multiple water hazards are guarding the greens.
Approach The Green – Strokes Gained
- Collin Morikawa
- Will Zalatoris
- Paul Casey
- Russell Henley
- Justin Thomas
Bouncing back – The last four winners of this tournament have all proved they can bounce back from disappointment as they have all missed exactly one cut heading into the Travelers, so we will run all of the above golfers through this process.
Fantasy Golf Draft Picks
After looking at the above data and running the field through our BeerLife Sports profile builder, we have selected the following picks.
Must-Have Players – These players may cost a bit more but are sure to be worth it.
|Odds To Win +5000|
|Draft Kings $8,300|
|Russell Henley is our player of the week, and as long as he can shake off the disappointment of his final round of the U.S Open, then he should go close this week. He was in contention at the beginning of day four, but he dropped away tamely; nevertheless, it was still a good week. He is one of the best round three players on Tour and has the approach game to go close this week.|
|Odds To Win +1800|
|Draft Kings $9,900|
|Casey has played some terrific golf recently and has two top-ten finishes recently, both at the majors. In addition, he has some fantastic approach play which should see him in contention this week.|
The Steady Eddies – These are middle of the road players who should give a solid account of themselves.
|Odds To Win +7000|
|Draft Kings $7,700|
|Burns finished third at the Genesis Invitational, which is a good omen here. He is arguably the most in-form player right now, finishing in the top four in back to back tournaments recently, including winning the Valspar Championship.|
Long Shots – These guys will offer the most value as they won’t cost you much but could return a tidy score.
|Odds To Win +19000|
|Draft Kings $6,800|
|Moore is one of the most accurate off the tee this season and is ranked first on Tour for his approach play from 75-100 yards. This is where he could find himself after his tee shots on most holes on this shorter course. He also ranks inside the top five from the rough from the same distance, so he should go close as long as he is up there.|
Have you own predictions for success in this coming week's tournament? What's your methodology? Pit your picks against our own here and see how you do. Comments below.