Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's golf, the 2021 Travelers Championship.
Travelers Championship - Winner
We welcome back another Dye design here at TPC River Highlands and the standard of PGA tour field continues to be strong throughout this period despite being tucked in after the US Open. This is one of the shorter tracks on the circuit demanding a fair deal of accuracy and precision from tee to green. Dustin and Bubba standout among Reavie, Spieth, Knox, Streelman and co as being the big hitters, but on their day they can be extremely accurate with their power game.
Joaquin Niemann at 40/1
If another long hitter is to make the frame this week I'd rather take the chances of Joaquin Niemann than gamble the two at the front of the market. Bryson makes fair appeal but the odd mistake here can prove costly as the winning score is usually towards the late teens under par. The 12/1 is fair enough and did tempt me to be honest having been around 14/1 last year with Rory and Thomas to contend with. Dustin still looks a little below par of late and Niemann, who hits it further than him off the tee appeals much more at over three times the price. The Chilean has become a consistent sort playing to a high standard. He hasn't quite hit the heights of earlier in the season when he had back to back runner up finishes in Hawaii but he is an explosive enough sort to make his presence felt here with low scores on offer depending on the weather. 31st last week was fine preparation and 5th here a couple of years back is enough to suggest he can go again at this track. It surprises me that the likes of Ancer and Harman are ahead of him in the market and I'm excited to take the 40/1.
2pts each-way J.Niemann 40/1 (1/5 8)
Justin Rose at 66/1
One fighting for a Ryder Cup place who shouldn't be underestimated in the circumstances is Justin Rose. The Englishman is on the bubble and could do with a big performance to at least guarantee him a pick, if not an automatic spot. It is no coincidence that his form is improving in the Ryder Cup year finishing 2nd in Saudi, 7th at the Masters and 8th at the PGA. A MC was disappointing last week but he arrives here a bigger price than the US Open despite a weaker field. He lost his way early last week at Torrey and inevitably lost a little interest when the halfway cut was beyond him. Nevertheless, he has been slightly overlooked in the market with a top 15 in one of his two appearances here so the course certainly should be no negative. Two major top tens in the last two months seem to have been quickly forgotten by the bookmakers.
1.5pt each-way J.Rose 66/1 (1/5 8)
Ian Poulter at 80/1
Ian Poulter has been stepping up his game over the past few months and can't be ruled out from landing another PGA tour title with the Ryder Cup only a few months away. 3rd at the Charles Schwab and 25th at the Palmetto were the meat in the Major sandwich finishing 30th in the PGA and 40th last week at Torrey. His game went on the same upward curve ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup, peaking for around that time. Similar looks to be playing out here and Poulter can not be easily dismissed whilst he is putting very well and at a track that is often exposed to wind. He also has plenty to play for over the coming months to try and find himself inside the top 50 in the world. He may go well at the Open in a few weeks but it would be no surprise should his game take that extra leap it needs to win one of these sooner.
1pt each-way I.Poulter 80/1 (1/5 8)
Rickie Fowler at 60/1
Rickie Fowler can be suited by a track that doesn't overly test distance and this can be seen as one of his better chances to get back in the winners enclosure this year. His only outing here was in 2013 where he finished 13th and there are recent signs that his game has returned. His last two efforts at the PGA and the Memorial were exceptional finishing 8th and 11th. It didn't quite work out at the US Open qualifying but watching from home last week should spur him on after those recent finishes. News he is to become a Dad in a few months time should be a positive also and with a great attitude towards the game I certainly expect Rickie to get back to where he belongs sooner rather than later. Just like Spieth earlier in the year, Fowler is showing similar signs of a comeback and the 50/1 looks ok to wager.
1pt each-way R.Fowler 60/1 (1/5 8)
Max Homa at 80/1
I backed Max Homa in this event last year at 125/1 and given he has won the Genesis this year and posted top 10s at Muirfield Village, Copperhead, Bayhill and Pebble it's surprising to see 80/1. He missed the cut last week by a couple of shots although it is worth noting he beat the field average on day two. Previous to that he had finished 6th at a very strong field at the Memorial. There have been missed cuts littered throughout this season but the fact remains he can turn it on in a flash, and often in high class fields. His short game has been a weakness of late but it should come under less pressure here and the slower greens may help. Three missed cuts here certainly contributes to his price but I'm more than happy to take the chance that he fires in his 6th top ten of the season.
1pt each-way M.Homa 70/1 (1/5 8)