Power Rankings: Travelers Championship
Beginning at this time last year and extending two months, the customary lineup of PGA TOUR events was thrown off kilter to accommodate the Olympics. The first tournament affected was the Travelers Championship. It was shifted from its traditional date the week after the U.S. Open to the first week of August. Now, with the Olympics beginning its three-year hiatus, it's back to business as usual in Cromwell, Connecticut. Taking advantage of the extra few weeks since the 2015 edition, TPC River Highlands underwent a makeover in advance of last year's contest. Greens, bunkers and trees were targets of the renovation. The scorecard, however, was not, nor was overall scoring. More on this beneath the ranking. TPC River Highlands remains a stock par 70 at 6,841 yards. It hosts 156 golfers who will be attempting to avoid four-inch rough and tackle bentgrass greens ready to run 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. Faded to T9 at Erin Hills but third-round 63 was historic. T4 in previous start at Memorial. Polished off T3 here last year with 62. Leads TOUR in birdie-or-better percentage. One of four co-leaders at the midpoint at Erin Hills; he finished 26th. Still has unfinished business at TPC River Highlands where he lost in a playoff in his debut two years ago. Consistently strong performance at Erin Hills where he tied for ninth and ranked T4 in GIR. Top 25s in last three starts at the Travelers; T11 in 2014 and T10 in 2015. The 2012 champ is perfect in six tries. Added a T9 last year. Two top 15s in last four starts upon arrival. Seventh on TOUR in adjusted scoring, 28th in bogey avoidance. Debutant. Whether it was rust, a new putter or a mismanaged approach at Erin Hills (MC) – all three? – dismiss the negative. As the old saying goes, class is permanent. Fresh off a career-best solo eighth at the U.S. Open where he ranked T4 in greens hit. He's 6-for-6 at TPC River Highlands since 2010 with a pair of top 10s. Personal-best T13 at the U.S. Open. Led the field in putts per GIR and par breakers. The Travelers regular is 5-for-6 with a T5 (2014) and four more to top 25s. First-timer. Sputtered at Erin Hills, but he closed out a T35 with 69. (Only four others went lower.) Leads TOUR in strokes gained: approach-the-green; T1 in proximity. Disappointing finish at the U.S. Open where he held the 54-hole lead, but the T2 extended months of phenomenal form. Solid slate here includes a solo third in 2015. Can't seem to get out of his own way, but obviously entirely capable of flipping the switch at any time. Tops on TOUR in strokes gained: around-the-green. Back for redemption after squandering a three-stroke lead entering last year's finale. And like last year, arrives as the freshly minted champion of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Default inclusion given two top 15s and another pair of top 25s in his last five starts. Reprised sharp greenside game at Erin Hills en route to a T13. Tied for 11th here last year. Thoroughbred for the course gets benefit of the doubt. Two-time champ and all-time earnings leader at TPC River Highlands where his scoring average since 2008 is 67.19. Solo third in 2013 and solo fourth in 2015, but missed his first Travelers in seven years when he sat out briefly with anxiety in 2016. T10 in his last start at Memorial. Coming off first two-week break in two months. Sixth on TOUR in GIR, 28th in birdies-or-better percentage. T25 and 7-under 273 in both prior starts at TPC River Highlands. Power Rankings: Travelers Championship RANK PLAYER COMMENT Defending champion Russell Knox, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson and Jim Furyk are among the notables who will appear in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider. Despite all of the modifications, TPC River Highlands yielded a scoring average (69.668) last year in line with its recent history. Not unlike last week's objective at Erin Hills, playing from the shortest grass here will be a popular narrative for those who score well, but unlike the U.S. Open, it's not a prerequisite to thrive at the Travelers Championship. As The Confidence Factor on Tuesday will illustrate, those who will contend should rank among the best on approach and around the greens. Last year's greens-in-regulation split of 68.87 percent (or 12.4 per round) was a five-year high, but its birdie-or-better percentage of 26.23 slotted 11th-lowest among all courses in 2015-16. Further emphasizing the value of finding the putting surfaces averaging 5,500 square feet, last year's field got up and down just 55.69 percent of the time, a nine-year low. Seasonable conditions are forecast throughout the tournament. Daytime highs will reach the mid-80s. The threat of rain and perhaps a boomer enters the picture on Friday and lingers into the weekend. As usual with the energy, winds may kick up and affect a segment of the field. ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week. MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings TUESDAY*: Sleepers, The Confidence Factor, Fantasy Insider WEDNESDAY: One & Done THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO * - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.
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