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Travelers Championship 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 17 Jun 2024

The week following a major normally sees many of the game’s leading players taking a break to recharge their batteries. But that will not be happening this week as The Travelers Championship is now one of the PGA Tour’s signature events, boasting a prize fund of $20m and a first prize of a cool $4m.

It means that most of the world’s top 50 will be teeing it up once again as the countdown begins to The Open Championship, the final major of the year at Royal Troon.

And once again the obvious question would seem to be: who is going to finish second to Scottie Scheffler. In recent years we have seen periods of domination from Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm, but nobody comes close to what Scheffler is achieving in 2024.

Winning golf tournaments is meant to be an exhausting process but you would never know it from watching Scheffler. His statistics are truly mind-boggling. He leads in scoring average, greens in regulation, approaches and strokes gained. He has absolutely no weaknesses whatsoever.

He is not as thrilling to watch as Tiger Woods in his prime and the reason for that is pretty simple. Woods used to miss a lot of fairways in his quest for distance from the tee. Scheffler is a machine who hits most fairways and plays the majority of his golf from the middle of the fairway. And when you are as good an iron player as he is, then it makes this an easy game. 

The tournament was won 12 months ago by Keegan Bradley, one of two victories the former PGA champion enjoyed last year. He was bitterly disappointed to miss out on the Ryder Cup and that may have provided him with the motivation to continue his fine play in 2024. Bradley is hugely frustrating golfer to watch but there is no denying his ability.

Collin Morikawa came within a whisker of catching Scheffler at The Memorial. In a rare off-day, Scheffler closed the tournament with a round of 74 and had to hole a tricky putt on the final green to win by a shot. Morikawa spent some time in the wilderness after winning The Open. His laser-like iron play deserted him but he is now back to his brilliant best and will be hoping that he does not finish second best to Scheffler again.

Ludvig Aberg will also be looking to continue his extraordinary form. I still find it almost impossible to believe that this is his first full season. That means he is seeing many of these golf courses for the first time. But you would never know it. 

Missing the cut at the PGA Championship was undoubtedly a shock to the system but it simply proves he is human after all. He was second at the weather-affected Pebble Beach Pro-Am and, most impressively, was runner-up to Scheffler at The Masters in what was his Augusta debut. If anybody had any doubts about his ability he laid them to rest with that performance. He also enjoyed top-10 finishes at The Players Championship, RBC Heritage and The Memorial. These are all tournaments that are played on the most difficult courses on the PGA Tour.

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that Aberg will win multiple majors and is a future world number one. He has a fabulous temperament and the best news of all is that he is European.

Ludvig Aberg

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Speaking of Europeans, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Tommy Fleetwood will also be in action at TPC River Highlands.

Hovland is a hugely impressive individual. Like Aberg, he is able to quickly shrug off poor shots and move on. It says a lot about him that he was prepared to tweak his golf swing after winning three times last season. And it says even more about him that having concluded he was going down the wrong road then it was time to go back to doing what he knew best. Despite his missed cut at Pinehurst, keep an eye on Hovland at Royal Troon next month.

McIlroy remains one of our sport’s great conundrums. That he is the most naturally gifted golfer of his generation is beyond dispute but I can’t help feeling that he gets in his own way sometimes. He has won three times this year - the Dubai Desert Classic, the Wells Fargo Championship and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Shane Lowry - but I can absolutely promise you that he will not be satisfied with his play at the tournaments that matter the most. His defeat at the US Open was heartbreaking, and it will be fascinating to see how he performs this week.

This tournament was won twice by Bubba Watson, which tells you that accuracy from the tee is not a prerequisite for doing well here. McIlroy is one of the best drivers of a golf ball that this sport has ever seen and he will arrive here knowing that he can win without finding lots of fairways. I expect him to do well despite what happened at Pinehurst. 

It could also be another big week for PGA champion Xander Schauffele, who is enjoying a fabulously consistent year. He is closing in on making 50 consecutive cuts. When you consider the different type of courses these guys play, that is a mind-boggling achievement. He was building a reputation for not being able to close the deal but he finally silenced the doubters at Valhalla. And he is a previous winner here.

Tournament Winners:

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, in 2021 by Harris English, in 2022 by Xander Schauffele and last year by Keegan Bradley.

The Course:

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.

Form Guide:

Collin Morikawa is ready to win again, and this is a golf course that rewards good iron play - the strongest part of the American’s game. Viktor Hovland will also be keen to put his US Open nightmare behind him as quickly as possible.

To Win:

Collin Morikawa. Back to his best

Each Way:

Xander Schauffele. A top-10 machine

Each Way:

Viktor Hovland. Believes again

Five to Follow:

Collin Morikawa. Brilliant iron player

Xander Schauffele. Full of confidence

Viktor Hovland. Has no weaknesses

Scottie Scheffler. It’s like watching Tiger all over again

Rory McIlroy. Who knows?

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Tags: PGA Tour Golf Previews FedEx Cup

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