by Charles A. Monagan
Jun 21, 2011
01:10 PMOn Connecticut
A Championship Field
This week, PGA pros from around the world will be teeing it up at the TPC at River Highlands in Cromwell as The Travelers Championship gets underway. Here are some of the players in the field worth watching over the next few days to see if they will be hoisting the trophy come Sunday afternoon.
- Perpetually steady Jim Furyk—16 PGA tour victories attest to that—has been struggling a bit this year, missing the cut at Congressional last week. This is his first return to Cromwell since finishing tied for 61st in 2001; the previous year he finished 4th.
- Padraig Harrington returns to River Highlands after tieing for 5th last year during his inaugural visit. The three-time major winner has only three Top 25 finishes this year, but did make the cut at last week's U.S. Open.
- Former No. 1 golfer in the world Vijay Singh hasn't won on tour in three years and has been having an up-and-down campaign thus far in 2011. Not quite the threat he used to be, but with 34 career wins, he can never be dismissed.
- Zach Johnson has at least one win on tour each year for the past four years, including a win at Augusta for his first major back in 2008—after a respectable U.S. Open performance (tied for 30th), maybe this is his week to make it five years in a row.
- Brandt Snedeker may not be the biggest name in golf, but the 31-year-old Tennessean and 2007 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has been playing some of his best golf this season, currently 12th in the FedEx Cup standings, including a win in April at The Heritage. He missed the Travelers cut last year, but only by a stroke.
- Nick Watney is enjoying a terrific 2011, ranked 6th in the FedEx Cup standings, including finishing first at the World Golf Championships in March for his third overall tour win. He has clearly ratcheted his game up and can win any given week.
- In only his 3rd year on tour, Webb Simpson is on the verge of getting his first PGA Tour win, already having notched two 2nd place finishes and ranking 16th in FedEx Cup points. He's coming off a very good U.S. Open, where he finished tied for 14th.
- Former Cromwell winners Fairfield native J.J. Henry and adopted Connecticut son Kenny Perry haven't been playing their best golf this year, but should be competitive on a track with which they are very familiar.
- And of course, there are the 3/4s of the infamous Golf Boys (the greatest pro golfer boy band ever known to humankind) - defending Travelers champion Bubba Watson, former champ Hunter Mahan, and PGA tour winner Ben Crane. Watson, currently 2nd in the FedEx Cup standings, is playing as well as anyone in the game with one win already this season. Mahan is enjoying a solid 2011 with 10 top 25 finishes, and having won in Cromwell in 2007, knows how to compete come Sunday. Crane started the year strong but has struggled his past four events—still, this tournament has a history as a place where less-than-household names break through and win, and all the Golf Boy hype aside, would be a great boost for good guy Crane's on-the-field career. Ooh-li-lally-lally!
The Travelers Championship has had many unheralded players as champion, so there's a good chance that this year's winner will be someone who very few outside of devoted PGA Tour fans have heard of, which always makes this such a fun event to watch.
Here's to another great tournament!A Championship Field