Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2022 Travelers Championship picks. The guys give their fantasy golf picks and provide their one and done strategy for the event from TPC River Highlands.
2022 Travelers Championship: Field
156 Players | Top 65 & Ties Make The Cut
First Tee: Thursday, June 23
Defending Champion: Harris English
With the LIV Tour finally launched and attempting to make headlines with signings, it appears the PGA TOUR got on the ringer and told their top guys there are no more off weeks, because the field at the 2022 Travelers Championship is DEEEEPPP: Rory McIlroy,
Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris, Mito Pereira, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson and defending champion Harris English.
Aaron Wise, Brian Harman, Seamus Power, Harold Varner III, Luke List, Si WOOOOO Kim, Marc Leishman, Davis Riley, Tom Hoge, Russell Henley, Keith Mitchell, Jason Day, Jason Kokrak, Joel Dahmen, Kevin Kisner, Adam Long and Brendan Steele are in competition, too.
I suppose there could be alternative reasons for this strength of field. The U.S. Open is as close as it’s ever going to be, and many of these top names are likely to skip out on the next few events to head overseas for Open Championship prep. And the flight from New England is about as short as you’re going to find for a PGA TOUR player. Until the Maine Open becomes a regular stop the week before the year’s final major, this is going to be it.
Plus, the Scottish Open, played the week before The Open, is now actually a PGA TOUR event, so expect many of these top names to show up there, or the week before at the Irish Open. Even if it’s simply to take that time to acclimate with the time zone shift and get over early.
Rickie Fowler is still listed in the field despite the talk of him joining the LIV Tour, which would have him suspended. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.
2022 Travelers Championship: Key Stats
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 4s Gained 400-450 yards
- Opportunities Gained
- Strokes Gained: Off The Tee
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2022 Travelers Championship: Course
- Course: TPC River Highlands
- Par: 70
- Yardage: 6,841
- Greens: Bentgrass (with Poa mix)
2022 Travelers Championship: Past Winners
- 2021: Harris English -13
- 2020: Dustin Johnson -19
- 2019: Chez Reavie -17
- 2018: Bubba Watson -17
- 2017: Jordan Spieth -12
- 2016: Russell Knox -16
2022 Travelers Championship: Course
After Pebble Brach GL, TPC River Highlands is the shortest course in the regular PGA TOUR rotation. Another Pete Dye course, measuring just 6,841 yards, this course boasts eight par 4s measuring between 400-450 yards while playing as a par 70. There are another two par 4s coming in below 400 yards, too. The most notable being No. 15, a drivable, 296-yard hole that over 90% of the field goes for from the tee box.
With its minuscule length, TPC River Highlands opens the door for almost any style of player. That’s how you get Dustin Johnson and Brendon Todd paired together in a final group, as well as Bubba Watson and Chez Reavie winning in consecutive seasons.
Looking back at the top five finishers over the past six years, it’s clear, regardless of driving distance, approach and putting are the two most important factors at the top of the leaderboard. As is the case for most courses that become birdiefests, SG: OTT has been twice as important as SG: ATG, and players hit almost 70% of fairways at TPC River Highlands against a PGA TOUR average of 62%. So, the big hitters don’t even have to dial back with their drivers. Basically, the golfer who can hit their wedges the closest is going to win.
Looking at the plotting on approach distance (thanks, Fantasy National), you’ll see the plurality of irons come from 175 and in. This is the opposite of most courses.
One thing to consider when looking at past events is the change in greens. For years, the Bentgrass putting surfaces were some of the slowest on the PGA TOUR. Four years ago, they were reconstructed with Bentgrass (mixed with Poa Annua) putting surfaces, and the greens now run on the faster side of things. Normally, these putting surfaces are a decent-sized adjustment for the field, as there are very few Northeast tournaments, but with the U.S. Open having just been outside Boston, many will already to be acclimated. The grass isn’t exactly the same, however, it’s about as close as you’ll find for this event the week before.
While this is a Pete Dye track, there has been a considerable crossover between the top of the leaderboards of the Valspar Championship, Riviera and Phoenix over the years. And it goes beyond Bubba Watson, who has won three teams at both Riviera and the TPC River Highlands. Paul Casey has experienced success at all three. Ditto with Dustin Johnson. Kevin Streelman and Jordan Spieth have won the Valspar and the Travelers in their careers. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe it’s a shot-shaping issue, but there are a lot of players in the field this week who have experienced a lot of success at those three courses but very rarely played at the Travelers Championship.
Pete Dye Courses on the PGA TOUR:
- TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS Championship)
- Harbour Town (RBC Heritage)
- TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship)
- TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic)
- Austin Country Club (WGC Match Play)
- TPC Stadium Course at La Quinta (two rounds at The CareerBuilder)
- Crooked Stick (2012/2016 BMW Championship)
- Whistling Straits (2015, 2010, 2005 PGA TOUR Championship)
- Kiawah Island (2022 PGA TOUR Championship)
Oh, there’s a new tee at No. 17 for 2022. No real importance, but I thought I’d pass that along.
2022 Travelers Championship: Picks
Jordan Spieth ($9,900)
We’re back at the site on one of Spieth’s most iconic moments when he chipped during the playoff to snatch the victory from Daniel Berger. This year, Spieth is trending back to the winners circle again. The driving is massively improved, and even at the U.S. Open, despite the poor overall showing, the irons were not an issue for him. It’s been his work on the putting surface. And, as we know with Spieth, that can flip at any moment. Keep up the tee to green, find a solid putter, grab his second win of the season.
Adam Long ($7,000)
It’s been a reversal of fortunes lately for Long. After a sterling run towards the end of the swing season, the beginning of 2022 was not kind, until the Valero. Since, Long has made five of seven cuts with a top-35 finish every time he’s made the weekend. It doesn’t sound like much, however, run a field this deep, you’re going to need names to back fill your roster this week.
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was a finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
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