PGA Tour Opening Drive: Travelers Championship
Now that we have managed to catch our breath after an incredibly memorable 2013 U.S. Open at the (un)expectedly brutal Merion Golf Club, we can look forward to the next event on the PGA Tour schedule. The guys will be moving on from Philly to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. Interestingly enough, TPC River Highlands will be the second consecutive par-70 track the players will face. Something tells me it won’t be quite the test that Merion was last week.
Originally opened in 1928, there have been a few different incarnations of TPC River Highlands. It was originally opened as Middletown Golf Club and later Edgewood Country Club before officials settles on its current name. The course was redesigned in 1982 by Pete Dye and then again in 1989 by Bobby Weed with some help from Roger Maltbie and Howard Twitty. The final stretch of this track (numbers 15 – 17) will have the golfers playing their way around a four-acre lake and never fails to deliver excitement and drama.
Eight of the top 25 golfers in the world, including U.S. Open Champion Justin Rose are scheduled to tee it up this week. There will be 47 golfers in this week’s field that teed it up at Merion last week – all of whom, save Rose, will be looking to take out some frustration on this track. Defending champion Marc Leishman will try to repeat, but will try to do so without having to overcome a six shot deficit in the final round as he did last year.
I will be looking forward to seeing what kind of golf these guys are able to play early in the week, as I’m sure the 47 that played Merion last week are both physically and mentally exhausted right now. The chances of a first time Tour winner taking home the hardware are pretty good, as five of the last seven champions at this tournament fit that distinction.