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Travelers Championship: Expert Picks

Bubba's time to rebound from a tough stretch

Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Travelers Championship
When: August 4th -€” 7th

Where: TPC at River Highlands
2015 Winner: Bubba Watson (-16)

The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.

TPC at River Highlands -€”While the club was founded in 1928, the course went through a serious renovation in 1984 by Pete Dye and again in 1989 by Bobby Weed. The course uses a mixture of the water and sand to force calculated landing spots. The water especially on the back 9 sits in areas forcing the flop or fly question. Some rolling hills sprinkle through the course and a scattering of trees, the front nine plays much more open and forgiving then the back 9. Given the open play on the front nine putting has become the crux of winning this tournament.

A: 
Bubba Watson -€” I've said this before -€” I'm not prone to picking defending champions solely because it's rare to win a tournament back to back. I'd rather go with someone who has a great track record (which he does -€” 31st in 2014, 4th in 2013, 2nd in 2012) and someone who knows the course (which, obviously, he does). The biggest knock -€” his recent play has been less than formidable -€” 60th, 39th, 14th, 51st, 65th finishes over his last 5 starts. He does have a tendency to improve a bit down the fall stretch from July to the end of the year. 

B: 
Charley Hoffman -€” He's had an ok stretch recently, ignoring the bigger tournaments, over his last ten -€” MC, 77th, 33rd, 57th, 37th, 42nd, 12th, MC, 11th, 1st. He is familiar with Riverland, he didn't play last year but was 26th in 2014, 7th in 2013 and 2nd in 2012. He's 49th on the tour in strokes gained putting.

Brooks Koepka -€” Brooks last 5 tournament finishes: 4th, withdrew, 13th, 2nd and 2nd. His one start here was 51stin 2014. He has the skills and attributes to succeed here, he's 4th best off the tee and 16th in driving distance. He's 37th in greens in regulation and 14th in going for the green, if he can drill his drive and then approach from there, he's golden. Finally he's 22nd on the tour in strokes gained from putting.


C:
Jon Rahm -€” The rookie out of Arizona State has been flashing signs of great play during his rookie season. He has 4 top 25 finishes in his 6 starts including 2nd place at RBC Canadian Open and 3rd place at Quicken Loans National. He has a fantastic drive and is shining the way Bud Cauley did in his rookie season in 2011. He was granted

Sleeper Pick:
Tyrrell Hatton -€”
Who? Exactly. Between the European Tour and American he's risen the ranks to the point where he's in consideration for the Ryder Cup. He is 52nd in OWGR and heads into the Travelers Championship with these two PGA Tour finishes: The Open Championship -€” 5th, PGA Championship -€” 10th. He has seen equal success in European Tour with a 2nd place finish at Scotish Open, 33rd at Open de France, Missed Cut at BMW International Open, 20th at Nordea Masters, 7th at BMW PGA Championship and 5th at the Dubai Irish Open.

Last tournament results -€” PGA Championship (156 total) -€” Picks: D. Johnson, J. Dufner, Rory, T. Pieters, Lahiri -€” Back to back BRUTAL weeks, but that will happen.


A: 142nd place
B: 60th place; 87th place
C: 86th place
Dark Horse: 117th place

YTD Avg: (Average field of 134 people)
A: 38th place 
B: 37th place
C: 52nd place
Dark Horse: 51st place

Fun factoid about this tournament: It is the 2nd most attended PGA Tour event annually.