Travelers Championships 2022 Overview
The US Open lived up to the hype last week in what a truly fascinating watch. This week the tour moves 2 hours up the road to TPC River Highlands, Bubba Watson’s backyard. He has the three victories here. However, don’t let that lead you to think this course is all about power and length. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. One of the significant challenges with this course is there is no particular type of skill set that the course favours. All types have players have won from Bubba, Chez Reavie, Jordan Speith and Freddie Jacobson.
The field this week is strong. This is clearly a stop on the tour that players like as much as the fans. This week should see the second biggest attendance in the golf calendar year behind only The Players. We have 5 of the world’s top 6 in attendance so let’s hope for another enthralling contest. Remember, 5 of the last 11 Travelers events have ended in playoffs. Expect more drama this week.
TPC River Highlands is a classic parkland golf course in the northeastern United States. The short nature of the course requires higher precision off the tee to fairways that aren’t tough to hit for players who concentrate on course management than the typical Pete Dye challenge with approach play.
The green complexes are a standard short Par 70 affair at 5,000 square feet. River Highlands is a second-shot course that requires precise approach play. Accurate drivers or players who consistently gain strokes off the tee box thrive, yet bombers may compete, as Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson demonstrate, neither of which you associate with accuracy but do consistently gain strokes off the tee week in and week out on tour. As I will come onto, ball striking is the aim of the game here at TPC River Highlands. Six holes feature approximately 70 bunkers, five water hazards, and plenty of doglegs for shaping shots. These lakes and ponds add to the beauty and architecture of the course, particularly the most famous segment of the course, a three-hole stretch from 15 to 17. The “Golden Triangle” is made up of these holes plus the adjacent four-acre lake.
Let’s break down the critical skill sets required to lift the trophy this week and reveal those all-important outright picks. In these low-scoring tests putting will always play a significant part, so for those doing their own research, consider this when making your final picks, but the key things to consider are players who dominate off the tee and with iron in hand. That’s how this event is won and lost.
Key Skills Set Required
- SG T2G – High-quality ball strikers have success here at TPC River Highlands, Watson, Speith & DJ, to name just a few, in the last five years. T2G excellence is required here. There isn’t a stand-out stat from approach, around the green or putting here at River Highlands, and the course is an actual test of ball striking from T2G. A typical Pete Dye test.
- Proximity To Hole – 125-175Yards – This is a short course by PGA Tour standards, with lots of position play required off the tee. Players with the natural length of the tee are forced to lay up to certain parts of the fairways, meaning all players face seconds shots of similar length. There is a high majority of shots coming from the 125-175 yards distance, and we want players onside who are dialled in with their mid irons over recent weeks.
- Par 4 Scoring – Quite simply, to win this event, you must make lots of birdies, and you must dominate the Par 4’s. Players who contend here take advantage of one of the most straightforward courses on tour regarding Par 4 scoring.
- SG Around the green – TPC River Highlands is one the most challenging course on tour when it comes to getting up and down from around the green. It has ranked in the top 5 most demanding courses for SG around the green in 5 of the last six years. Even from the run-off areas, the course proves demanding around the green. Players with excellent short games can excel here.
- Birdies or Better – The data tells us you need to make plenty of birdies here at TPC River Highlands, at least 5 per round or over 20 from the four days of play. Let’s look for those aggressive golfers who look to attack the pins and have the ability to get up and down when naturally they miss a green or two.