Weekly Preview: Travelers Championship

Weekly Preview: Travelers Championship

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands
Cromwell, CT

The PGA Tour heads to Connecticut and back to reality after an exciting U.S. Open. 

I say "exciting" because Jon Rahm played lights out down the stretch, but if I'm being honest, it was a bit of a letdown over the final two hours. As the leaders neared the turn there were so many big names in contention: Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Rahm and more. However, nearly the entire list went downhill from there, and in the end there were only two golfers that had a chance to win, Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen. The former converted two big putts while the latter ultimately faltered as well. We got "exciting" but I was hoping for "epic." Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it's really difficult to get all the elite players performing at their best at the same time. C'mon, guys! I know I'm asking for way too much – the odds of seeing even two or three elite golfers at the top of their games at the same time are slim – but I'm still going to hold out hope for the next major, and the major after that, and so on. One of these times DeChambeau will be in the lead and Koepka will come storming from behind, only to have DJ make a push at the end and lose by a nose to McIlroy. Wait...that's never going to happen. 

Maybe we should just focus

Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands
Cromwell, CT

The PGA Tour heads to Connecticut and back to reality after an exciting U.S. Open. 

I say "exciting" because Jon Rahm played lights out down the stretch, but if I'm being honest, it was a bit of a letdown over the final two hours. As the leaders neared the turn there were so many big names in contention: Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Rahm and more. However, nearly the entire list went downhill from there, and in the end there were only two golfers that had a chance to win, Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen. The former converted two big putts while the latter ultimately faltered as well. We got "exciting" but I was hoping for "epic." Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it's really difficult to get all the elite players performing at their best at the same time. C'mon, guys! I know I'm asking for way too much – the odds of seeing even two or three elite golfers at the top of their games at the same time are slim – but I'm still going to hold out hope for the next major, and the major after that, and so on. One of these times DeChambeau will be in the lead and Koepka will come storming from behind, only to have DJ make a push at the end and lose by a nose to McIlroy. Wait...that's never going to happen. 

Maybe we should just focus on this week, as the field is pretty loaded and both Koepka and DeChambeau are on hand. Don't expect a major hangover from Brooks this time around!

LAST YEAR

Dustin Johnson shot a final-round 67 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman.

FAVORITES

Bryson DeChambeau (12-1)

No surprise here. Things went downhill fast for DeChambeau at the U.S. Open, but he did play well for most of the week and half of the final round. He doesn't have a top-5 in Connecticut, but he does enter this year's Travelers Championship having made the cut in his last three appearances in this event. This will be a test for DeChambeau, though, as he must be incredibly disappointed after putting himself in position to defend his U.S. Open title only to fall apart on Sunday's back nine.

Dustin Johnson (12-1)

I'm a little surprised to see Johnson paired with DeChambeau as a co-favorite, as DJ hasn't been at the top of his game much this season. However, he did nearly win a few weeks ago and he is DJ, so the oddsmakers have to put him here. He won this tournament last year, but defending a title is never easy, even for the best in the world. I'm not seeing much value in DJ at this number. I'd prefer him closer to 16-1.

Brooks Koepka (16-1)

Koepka is always a threat to win any event he plays, provided he's motivated to win. It's a bit unfathomable that anyone at the top level would bother teeing it up if he wasn't really into it, and don't get me wrong, I'm sure he wants to win. However, Koepka has always had trouble accessing that extra gear at the regular Tour stops. Considering he was in the mix this past week, I'm expecting Koepka to again have a difficult time finding that extra gear, even if DeChambeau is also on the course.

THE NEXT TIER

Brian Harman (30-1)

Harman just continues to roll along. Not even a major on a long course could slow the short-hitting Harman this past week. With this top-20 at the U.S. Open, Harman now has top-20s in seven of his past eight Tour starts. His track record here is pretty good, with eight made cuts in 10 starts and three top-10s.

Harris English (40-1)

English fell into a bit of rut earlier this season after his win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but he seems to have snapped out of it. He posted a top-5 at the U.S. Open, which followed a top-15 at the Palmetto Championship. English is one of the better players on the PGA Tour when on his game and he certainly appears to be back at – or at least close – to top form.

Matthew Wolff (40-1)

Wolff's performance was one of the stories of the U.S. Open. He didn't win, of course, but the fact he was even in the conversation was amazing given where his game was earlier this season. His track record here is brutal – his best showing was a T80 in 2019 – but Wolff is extremely streaky, and if he's truly back, he could contend for a second week in a row.

LONG SHOTS

Sam Burns (60-1)

It certainly doesn't look like Burns is 100 percent right now, as he withdrew from the PGA Championship last month then missed the cut at the U.S. Open. Perhaps his missed cut last week was just a poor result though. If he's indeed healthy, this number is a great value.

Doc Redman (80-1)

Redman is behind schedule, there's no doubt about that. He was expected to perform well this season and hasn't had a great overall showing, but he did post a T2 in his most recent start at the Palmetto Championship, so perhaps things are starting to turn around. Redman has only one start in this event, but it resulted in a T11, so he could continue to climb.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Bryson DeChambeau - If your league is like mine, many players were on Rahm and Koepka last week, which means DeChambeau is still available for most owners. If that's the case he will be very popular, as I can't imagine many OAD players will be saving him for the Open Championship. There are some other events remaining on the calendar that look like solid spots to use DeChambeau, but they probably won't be as good as this one.

Moderately-owned Pick: Patrick Cantlay - Cantlay should be a trendy pick this week as he won two starts ago at the Memorial and posted a T15 at the U.S. Open. There have already been several good places to use Cantlay, so I doubt there are many players out there that still have him available. If you do, this is a great spot to use him.

Lightly-owned Pick: Brian Harman - If Harman ends up being lightly-used this week it's only because of the field he's up against. He is a solid choice, but you'll have to pass on some big names to get there. Considering some of the elite guys might be suffering from a major hangover, it might actually be a great time to use a guy like Harman.

Buyer Beware: Brooks Koepka - Perhaps if DeChambeau had won this past week Koepka could have found the motivation to win at River Highlands, but because that didn't happen I don't see how Koepka will get up for this one. His game is fine, and you would think that with the number of elite players in the field he'd have the motivation to take home the trophy. I don't think it's a conscious issue that plagues Koepka, I think it's something inside that he doesn't necessarily control.

Last Week: Jon Rahm - 1 - $2,250,000

Season Total: $6,298,001

This Week: Brian Harman - No, this isn't me trying to gain ground on the competition by taking someone a bit off the radar. I'm actually back in the mix after the win from Rahm last week, so for now, I'm done taking big swings, and Harman isn't that much of an underdog anyway. This pick came down to Harman or Cantlay, and Cantlay will have more value during the FedEx Cup Playoffs than Harman, so I'm going with Harman at this stop. I should note that I did use Cantlay during the fall portion of the schedule, so I could not have used him for this article. However, I thought I would explain the thought process for those that started their league after the calendar flipped to 2021.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Patrick Cantlay ($11,800)
Middle Range: Kevin Streelman ($10,600)
Lower Range: Mackenzie Hughes ($8,800)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Jon Rahm - 1

Streak: 1

This Week: Brian Harman - I'm going to go ahead and double up for a second week in a row, as Harman is 8-for-10 in cuts made here and is at or near the top of his game. As such, there's no reason to think he will be gone before the weekend. It's tempting to take one of the big names, but remember, a letdown could be in store for some of the bigger names.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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