2022 Travelers Championship Preview
HARRIS ENGLISH returns to defend his title at the Travelers Championship, hoping for a slightly easier time than he had last year, when he needed eight extra holes to defeat Kramer Hickok after both birdied the final hole of regulation to force the playoff.
English shot a 5-under 65 to finish the fourth round at 13 under, then made a five-foot putt on the seventh trip down the 18th hole of the day. Hickok had missed a 36-foot birdie putt and finished the playoff with eight consecutive pars.
The record for a sudden death playoff is 11 holes in the 1949 Motor City Open, when Lloyd Mangrum and Cary Middlecoff were declared co-winners by mutual agreement due to darkness; four other events have reached an eighth playoff hole.
The eight-hole playoff was a record for the tournament, which went seven holes in 1961 (Ted Kroll) and again in ’62 (Bob Goalby), when it was known as the Insurance City Open.
It was the second win of the year and the fourth career victory for English, who also finished third at the 2021 U.S. Open. He won $1,368,000 and 500 FedExCup points, moving into second in the standings.
A star-studded field at TPC River Highlands will be led by Rory McIlroy, winner of the recent Canadian Open. It will be his fourth appearance in the tournament. It is worth looking at some of the Northern Irishman’s achievements on the PGA Tour.
He has been named PGA Tour Player of the Year three times, in 2012, 2014 and 2019, won the FedExCup twice (2016, 2019), has won three majors on American soil and his victory in Canada was his 21st PGA Tour success. Still only 33 years old, he is a six-time member of the European Ryder Cup team and has spent 106 weeks as world No.1 during his career.
Significantly, McIlroy has improved his finish each time he has played the Travelers Championship. He was T17 in 2017, T12 in 2018 and T11 in 2020.
He will be joined by Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood.
When Spieth won this tournament in 2017 he was walking on water and claimed the title when he holed a spectacular bunker shot to beat a stunned Daniel Berger in a sudden death playoff. A few weeks later, Spieth performed further heroics to win The Open at Royal Birkdale. He has emerged from a dreadful slump and is now a genuine threat every time he tees it up.
Thomas is having a spectacular season and there is no reason to believe that will not continue here. He won the PGA Championship at Southern Hills and went toe to toe with McIlroy in Canada.
Fleetwood continues to search for the form that gave him three top-10 finishes in major championships, including second place at the 2018 U.S. Open and second place at The Open in 2019. He also finished fourth at the U.S. Open in 2017.
He has five wins on the DP World Tour but the most recent of those came at the Nedbank Challenge in 2019, and he is long overdue another success.
It was won in 2015 and 2018 by Bubba Watson, in 2016 by Russell Knox, in 2017 by Jordan Spieth, in 2019 by Chez Reavie, in 2020 by Dustin Johnson and last year by Harris English.
Jordan Spieth has happy memories of both the course and the tournament, having won here in 2017. And he is back to his best, having won the RBC Heritage and finished second at both the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Byron Nelson Classic. Rory McIlroy is flying once again after his victory at the Canadian Open and has never finished outside the top 20 in this event.
TPC River Highlands is a par 70 designed by Robert Ross in 1928 and updated by Pete Dye in 1982 and Bobby Weed in 1989. The course record is 58, achieved by Jim Furyk in 2016. It measures just 6,841 yards and you can be certain that the winning score will be low. It features plenty of trees and gently rolling terrain.
Jordan Spieth. Back to his brilliant best
Rory McIlroy. Course is made for him
Golfers to Follow:
Jordan Spieth. Looking to tune up for St Andrews with another win
Rory McIlroy. Impossible to ignore
Justin Thomas. Just so impressive
Patrick Cantlay. Looking to recapture last season’s blistering form
Five Outsiders to Watch:
Matthew Wolff. Has been in the doldrums
Cole Hammer. Make a note of his name
Mito Pereira. Hits the ball a long way
Harold Varner III. Moving up in class
Chris Gotterup. A young player you are going to be hearing a lot of
How to Watch:
Thursday, Friday, Sky Sports Golf, 8pm
Saturday, Sunday 5pm
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