PGA Tour Picks: Travelers Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/18/2014
They say close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes, but the way the 2013-14 golf season is going for projecting winners, I'm relatively pleased with myself that American Dustin Johnson finished T4 at last week's U.S. Open at Pinehurst. I had him as my winner, and he wasn't close to that, finishing 10 shots behind Germany's Martin Kaymer. But, hey, fourth.
Kaymer led wire-to-wire, and really the tournament was never in doubt after his back-to-back 65s to kick things off. The TV ratings were among the worst in U.S. Open history, not a huge surprise with a non-American taking a dominating lead, Phil Mickelson not in contention and Tiger Woods still on the sideline. Kaymer is the seventh wire-to-wire winner in U.S. Open history when there were never any ties after a round. He was the first player to shoot two 65s in U.S. Open history, and his eight-stroke win was the fourth-largest margin in tournament history. Kaymer, who also owns a PGA Championship to his credit and looks on the way back to being a Top-5 player again (he jumped to No. 11 in the world), is the sixth player to win the Players Championship and U.S. Open in the same season.
It really was a drama-free, boring tournament. Mickelson never broke par and finished T28 as he tried to win the one major that had eluded him. Reigning Masters winner Bubba Watson, who is in the next tier down of top U.S. golfing stars after Lefty and Tiger, missed the cut. I didn't hit on much last week. I did get Johnson at +250 on a Top 10. Barely missed on a tie for the top English player as Ian Poulter, my pick at 13/2, finished just a shot behind Justin Rose (T12). Also hit on Sergio Garcia at -175 as the top Spanish player as no other Spaniard made the cut.
So now most of the big names take a few weeks off as the PGA Tour shifts to the Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlands course outside Hartford. A total of 55 players who teed it up at Pinehurst are supposed to play. No one likes to play a tough course the week after the grueling test that is the U.S. Open, and this isn't one. It measures just 6,841 yards and it's going to take double digits under par to win. Kenny Perry holds the tournament record of 22-under 258 five years ago.
Ken Duke is the defending champion. Chris Stroud chipped in on his 72nd hole with Duke in the clubhouse to force a playoff, but Duke won it with a birdie on the second extra hole. It was the then-44-year-old's first win on Tour in his 187th start. Duke was the fourth straight player to get his first Tour win at the Travelers, preceded by Aussie Marc Leishman (2012), Swede Freddie Jacobsen ('11) and Watson. Duke is a cool 150/1 to repeat at Bovada. Don't think I'll be going there. He hasn't had a Top 10 since.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Travelers Championship Favorites
Watson is the 12/1 co-favorite with Matt Kuchar. Watson loves playing here and obviously won't be worn out from last weekend. In addition to his 2010 win, in which he came from six shots back on Sunday and won a playoff, Watson was runner-up in 2012 here and fourth last year after holding a share of the lead after 54 holes.
Kuchar is in a minor slump for him in that he hasn't had a Top-10 finish in his past three starts. He played OK last week, finishing T12, although his rounds got worse each day. Kuchar last played here in 2012 with a T8 at 11 under.
Johnson and Jason Day are 14/1. I'm surprised both aren't skipping. It's the seventh straight event for DJ, and he has had back problems in the past. Johnson hasn't played this event since 2009. I didn't like Day much last week as he's been struggling with a thumb injury but he was T4 -- Day always contends at majors. He hasn't played this event since 2008.
Sergio rounds out the favorites at 20/1, and he hasn't played here since 2009. Why isn't he in Europe getting ready for the British Open?
PGA Tour Picks: Travelers Championship Predictions
Have to take Watson for a Top 10 at +110; throw out last week, the course simply didn't suit him. Kuchar is also overdue for a Top 10 (+110). Also like Keegan Bradley (+180) and Hunter Mahan (+275), who got his first win here in 2007. Take Jacobson at 5/1 as the top European and Marc Leishman at 4/1 as the top Aussie. Head-to-head, take Kuchar (-115) over Day (-115), Ryan Moore (-115) over Graham DeLaet (-115), and Watson (-125) over Johnson (-105).
Charley Hoffman is nice value at 40/1 to win. He didn't play last week and was co-second here in 2012 and T7 last year. However, I'm going with Moore at 33/1. He has finished second here twice and was T7 last year as well. He's due. You can also get Moore at +360 in a fivesome with Bradley (+260), Zach Johnson (+350), Brandt Snedeker (+400) and DeLaet (+400).
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