PGA Tour Picks: Travelers Championship


Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele, from La Jolla and San Diego State, will defend his title this week against a loaded field in the 72nd Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

The field is strong, despite coming only one week after the 123rd United States Open at Los Angeles Country Club, because it is one of the PGA Tour’s new “designated events,” of which players can only skip one in a season or be fined.

“It’s the best part of sports for me,” Schauffele (pictured) said about playing in events with strong fields. “It almost feels like we’re at the playoffs with everything we have at these elevated events. “It’s a mixed feeling (among the players), to be completely transparent. Some guys are very happy with it, some guys are not as happy with it, feeling like there’s less opportunity.

“It’s obviously more added pressure for me (as defending champion). You feel you have a higher expectation just because you’ve played well on site, so I’m looking forward to the challenge. (But) for me to feel comfortable, I’d want to have like a nine-shot lead on that property.”

Last year, Schauffele did have a five-stroke lead after opening with back-to-back 63s, after shooting 67 in the third round, he was trailing by one shot and on his way to a closing 68 when things started to happen in front of him.

Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine held a one-stroke lead, but hit a wild shot of the tee en route to a double-bogey 6, and Schauffele came along behind him and hit his approach shot to within three feet before making the birdie putt to win by one over Theegala and J.T. Poston.

“What a weird spot, to be honest, just sitting on the tee, kind of waiting and watching stuff unfold in front of me,” said Schauffele, who has seven PGA Tour victories and also claimed the 2021 Olympic Gold Medal in Japan. “But I had 5o do my part too. It’s a win and I’ll certainly take it.

Also in the field this week from the top include top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, third-ranked Rory McIlroy, fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, fifth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, ninth-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, and 10th-ranked Jordan Spieth, the 2017 Travelers champion.

Others include Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, Harris English, Cameron Young, Tony Finau, Tom Kim of South Korea, Jason Day of Australia, Tommy Fleetwood of England, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Adam Scott of Australia, Corey Conners of Canada and surprise U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark.

The Travelers Championship was first played in 1952 at Wethersferd Country Club in Wethersferd, Conn., where Ted Kroll claimed the title, with Billy Casper claiming the title a record four times.     


1. Scottie Scheffler, United States – The top-ranked Scheffler hasn’t won since the Players in March, but he figures to find the winner’s circle again soon since he has five straight finishes in the top five, including solo third last week in the U.S. Open. He posted his best result in the Travelers last year, a tie for 13th, opening with three scores in the 60s and closing with a 70.  

2. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland – After falling just short in his bid for a fifth major title with a solo second in the U.S. Open, the third-ranked McIlroy has four consecutive finishes in the top 10 seven this season, including victories in the CJ Cup and the Dubai Desert Classic. He has placed in the top 20 in all four of his starts in the Travelers, the best a tie for 11th two years ago.   

3. Jon Rahm, Spain – Rahmbo seemed to end his recent mini-slump by shooting 65 in the final round to tie for 10th in the U.S. Open, his 10th finish in the top 10 this season including four victories, the biggest of course being his second major title in the Masters. The second-ranked Rahm is making his fourth appearance in the Travelers, with his best finish a tie for 25th in 2016.

4. Patrick Cantlay, United States – The fourth-ranked Cantlay shot 67-69 on the weekend to tie for 14th in the U.S. Open. his 11th finish in the top-25 this season, including a tie for ninth in the PGA Championship and another tie for 14th in the Masters. He is playing in the Travelers for the ninth time and has five straight finishes in the top 15, the highest a tie for 11th three years ago.

5. Xander Schauffele, United States – Following his opening record 62 to tie for the lead in the U.S. Open, the sixth-ranked Schauffele faded to a tie for 10th, posting his 10th result in the top 10 this season without a victory. He won three times last season, including the Travelers Championship by two strokes after opening with 63-63, for one of his seven PGA Tour victories.

6. Viktor Hovland, Norway – Coming off his fourth PGA Tour victory in the Memorial, the fifth-ranked Hovland was steady but not sensational in finishing solo 19th in the U.S. Open, giving him 13 finishes in the top 20 of a very consistent season. He is making his third start in the Travelers Championship and tied for 11th in 2020 after tying for 54th the season before.  

7. Tommy Fleetwood, England – Hopes to keep things going after shooting 63, the best score of the final round, to tie for fifth in the U.S. Open. That came a week after he lost a playoff to Nick Taylor in the RBC Canadian Open, and Fleetwood has nine results in the top 20 this season. He tied for 13th in his first appearance in the Travelers in 2019, but could only tie for 46th last year.   

8. Tom Kim, South Korea – The 20-year-old sensation recorded scores of 68-66-69 in the last three rounds to tie for eighth in the U.S. Open, the best finish of his career in the majors. Kim has recorded 10 results in the top 10 this season, including the 11th victory of his career and the second on the PGA Tour in the Shriners. He is making his first appearance in the Travelers.

9. Jordan Spieth, United States – The 10th-ranked Spieth missed the cut in the U.S. Open for the third time in his last five starts, but he’s still having a productive season with nine finishes in the top 20, including a playoff loss to Matt Fitzpatrick in the RBC Heritage. He claimed one of his 13 PGA Tour victories in the 2017 Travelers Championship in a playoff over Daniel Berger.   

10. Matt Fitzpatrick, United States – The defending U.S. Open champion played solid but unsensational golf in defense of his title to wind up solo 17th at LACC. The eighth-ranked Fitzpatrick has 10 finishes in the top 10 this season, including a playoff victory over Jordan Spieth in the RBC Heritage for his ninth pro victory. He’s making his debut in the Travelers.   

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Wyndham Clark, United States; Rickie Fowler, United States; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Max Homa, United States; Sungjae Im, South Korea; Harris English, United States; Jason Day, Australia; Cameron Young, United States; Corey Conners, Canada; Collin Morikawa, United States.


1. Stephan Jaeger, Germany – Six-time winner on Korn Ferry Tour has five finishes in the top 20 this season, including a T-9 in Houston and a T-11 in Byron Nelson. T-30 in 2019 Travelers.  

2. Davis Riley, United States – Teamed with Nick Hardy to win Zurich Classic in April and lost 2022 Valspar playoff to Sam Burns. Three-time pro winner was T-64 in Travelers debut last year.  

3. K.H. Lee, South Korea – Another six-time winner as a pro was solo third in CJ Cup, T-7 in Sentry TOC and T-8 Wells Fargo this season. Lee finished T-19 in the Travelers last season.

4. Justin Suh, United States – Winner of 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Championship started 69-69 in U.S. Open and finished T-27. T-5 in the Honda, T-6 in Players this season. MC in 2019 Travelers.

5. Adam Svensson, Canada – Claimed fourth pro victory in 2022 RSM Classic, was T-13 in Players and has five top-20 finishes on PGA Tour this season. T-25 in the 2022 Travelers.

For first-round tee times, and later tournament scores, visit

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