The PGA Tour is back on the east coast this week after a tremendous U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Gary Woodland was near-flawless and picked up his first major win.
If you thought the cross-country trip to this week’s PGA Tour stop – the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn. – just days after the season’s third major would have an impact on the strength of field, well, you’d be wrong.
The Travelers field is stacked. Along with defending champ Bubba Watson, it features the likes of Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Jason Day and more.
So which players should you be keeping an eye on in New England’s lone PGA Tour stop this season? We asked three caddies on the ground that question. Here’s what they told us…
- Viktor Hovland. “The Travelers Championship has always been kind to players who are just starting their pro career. That’s the case here with Hovland, who one week after making history by recording the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur in U.S. Open history (4-under 280 to finish T12) will make his professional debut. The kid is an absolute bomber. He just kills it. It will serve him well in his career, but particularly this week at a soft TPC River Highlands where there will be little if any roll out. I believe he’ll start his career in the pro game with a bang.”
- Francesco Molinari. “Molinari has pretty much silenced anyone who believed he’d suffer sort of a hangover after his incredible 2018, which included his first major win in the Open Championship. He’s missed the cut just once in 11 PGA Tour starts this season, won at Bay Hill, finished third at the Match Play, tied for fifth at the Masters and is coming off a T16 at the U.S. Open. He’s not a bomber, but I don’t think that matters so much when you consider he’s a great ball striker and a good putter.”
- Patrick Cantlay. “How well has Cantlay, winner of the Memorial, been playing lately? Quite well when the U.S. Open felt like a ‘down week’ and he tied for 21st. Four of his last six starts have yielded top-10 finishes. Along with the Memorial win, he finished T9 in the Masters and T3 at both the RBC Heritage and PGA Championship. This week he returns to the course where, in 2011, he fired the lowest score by an amateur in PGA Tour history with a 10-under 60. Look out for Patrick this week?”
- Bubba Watson. “A three-time champion here. An absolute horse for the course.”
- Patrick Cantlay. “He just feels like the type of player you should be picking any time he tees it up these days. Eight top 10s this season, including a win at Memorial, a second in Vegas and T3 at both the RBC Heritage and the PGA Championship. His entire game is just on right now.”
- Sungjae Im. “He was in a little slump in May, but in June, he seems to have figured it out. Im finished seventh in the RBC Canadian Open – his last start – and should be refreshed after a week off. He’s having a heck of a rookie season on the PGA Tour with $2.16 million already in the bank. I think he’s going to enjoy TPC River Highlands.”
- Viktor Hovland. “Travelers always produces good results for first-time pros! Do the research all the way back 10 years and you’ll see that first-timers do well here. He’s obviously a solid golfer and I would not count him out.”
- Bubba Watson. “He’s a three-time winner and the defending champ. Bubba loves this place and it’s a classic ‘horses for courses’ situation here.”
- Sungjae Im. “He’s coming off a week at home, so let’s see what the rookie can do. I think he’ll enjoy the birdie-fest that Travelers always is.”