The Travelers Championship is one of the premier events of the PGA Tour and is part of the FedEx Cup Series. It is a professional golf tournament that is hosted in Cromwell, Connecticut, at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) River Highlands golf course.
The TPC River Highlands was the third PGA-owned golf course - it was purchased in 1984 and has been redesigned to better host the championship. The TPC River Highlands is one of 30 different PGA-owned clubs which are used on the tour.
This event is beloved by spectators and participants alike. The design of the course, the way the event is run and almost guaranteed beautiful weather result in one of the most popular days of the PGA Tour.
Unsurprisingly, the championship has been awarded the “Players Choice Award” multiple times.
There are moments of intrigue and tension throughout the course, but according to Steward Cink, a professional on the PGA Tour, the most exciting and dramatic stretch of holes at TPC River Highlands are holes 15 through 18, claiming that they are “four of the most exciting finishing holes in a group anywhere in the world”.
History of the Championship
Originally founded in 1952, where it was branded the Insurance City Open, the championship is now sponsored by Travelers Insurance, hence the name, which uses the event to raise money for the local community.
The title sponsor since 2007, Travelers donates 100% of the net proceeds of the tournament to charity.
The TPC River Highlands golf course has a par of 70, two less than the average golf course. When betting on golf, this lower par adds to the excitement, encouraging spectators to reexamine their expectations of the participants and decide who is worth their bet that year.
On the PGA annual schedule, this is the second most attended event, with hundreds of thousands attending the weeklong tournament.
Big names in attendance
Many big names have committed to this year’s tournament, including six of the top ten players in the world. These names include, in order of ranking:
Scottie Scheffler (1), Rory McIlroy (3), Patrick Cantlay (4), Justin Thomas (5), Viktor Hovland (8), Sam Burns (9), Xander Schauffele (12), Brookes Keopka (19), Bryson DeChambeau (29), Tommy Fleetwood (40) and Mito Pereira (45).
There are some returning players such as Rory McIlroy -currently ranked third in the world, who are fan favorites. In a statement about his commitment to the tour, Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Travelers Insurance, said:
“I’m thrilled that Rory will be joining us this year, and I know he’s excited about coming back to play in front of the best fans in golf… Rory exemplifies the best golfers in the world who will be in our field, and by playing our event, he’s helping us achieve our goals of attracting thousands of fans and generating significant money for charity.”
Another example is Sam Burns, who is returning for his fourth year of competition. He hopes to finish better this year after tying for 13th place in 2021.
Something that the Travelers Championship does really well is allow younger players like Chile’s Mito Pereira, who is only 27, to participate in a PGA event. This is his first trip to the TPC River Highlands for a PGA event, but he has had five top-10 finishes already on tour.
Course full of excitement
Hopefuls and seasoned pros both know how exciting this course can be. A fact that was overtly demonstrated last year when Harris English, now ranked 28th in the world, won in a sudden-death playoff on the eighth hole against Kramer Hickok and went on to win the tournament.
English had come back from being two shots behind and shot 5-under par, only to be greeted by Kramer Hickok who then ranked 331st in the world. The two played seven more holes, staying tied the entire time. It was not until the eighth that English was able to break away and win the championship.
In a post-tournament interview, English said: “This is a validation win…It took me seven years to win again ... this is a validation of where my game is right now.”
It is incredible moments like these that make the Travelers Championship so unique.
Unfortunately, the tournament organizers do not release the field list until the Friday before the tournament. Though frustrating, it is a pragmatic move, as players can be added or removed until this deadline.
However, if even half the players who have committed decide to compete, it is going to be an enjoyable week in Connecticut.
The tournament has become a tradition to some and a curse for others – where someone always comes from behind on the Sunday to give whoever is in the lead a run for their money. Make sure to tune in to see who this is in the third week of June!
Note: All rankings mentioned were accurate as of the week of June 12th, 2022.