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PGA increases COVID-19 safety measures ahead of the 2020 Traveler’s Championship

PGA increases COVID-19 safety measures ahead of the 2020 Traveler’s Championship

The PGA Tour heads north this week for the third stop on its shortened schedule at the Traveler’s Championship in Cromwell, Conn.  Just like at Colonial and RBC, this field is full of the best players in the world who continue to want to pack as much competitive golf in as possible.  eight of the top 10 players in the world are headed to TPC River Highlands for what is always a favorite stop on tour – even in normal times.

Again, we go without fans for the third consecutive week and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Especially with Nick Watney and Cameron Champ testing positive for COVID-19 last week.  In response to these positive tests, the PGA Tour will require players to wear WHOOP bands.  WHOOP is a health-monitoring band used to monitor and manage sleep patterns, exercise, recovery and more.  Ahead of his withdrawal last week, Nick Watney noticed abnormalities with his WHOOP measurements which led to an eventual positive test.  Additionally, Brooks Koepka pulled out of the tournament Wednesday after learning that his caddie tested positive for the virus.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who has drawn criticism for preaching social distancing while not exactly practicing it, addressed the media and added the following:

We’ve got all top-5 players in the world this week, last year’s winner is Chaz Reave and last week’s winner Webb Simpson in the field.  All signs point to another epic week on the course.

Let’s tee it up!

The Course

 TPC River Highlands is a short one at only 6,841 yards, par 70.  It’s the oldest course in the TPC network and easily the shortest, however, that does not take away from the difficulty it can provide.  Situated on a gorgeous bluff that overlooks the Connecticut River, this course rewards the pure shot-makers while still giving the long hitters room to abuse the track.

It’s a Pete Dye redesign that really shines in that final four-hole stretch.  Known as the “Golden Triangle,” holes 15,16 and 17 rest around a four-acre pond that demands some critical thinking when it comes to how to play them.

Here they are:

15th, 296 yards, Par 4

 This hole may be the most exciting on the golf course.  At such a short distance, players have the option off the tee to go for the green – which is protected by water on the left and bunkers on the right.  The other option is a lay-up that requires accuracy to avoid the lurking fairway traps.

TPC River Highlands

16th, 171 yards, Par 3

 At only 171 yards, this hole often gets overlooked by the two holes it’s sandwiched in between.  However, with a large amount of water to carry and bunkers guarding every side of the green, this hole can provide plenty of drama.  It’s a nerve tester situated right before the toughest hole on the golf course.

 

TPC River Highlands

17th, 420 yards, Par 4

 This is the hardest hole on the course and it’s very difficult to come out ahead on this hole.  Push the ball to the right and you’re in the lake.  Play it towards the left side and you risk ending up in a fairway bunker or a vicious sidehill.  The lake run all the way down the right side before meeting up with the green which makes for a long, forced carry at 370 yards to safety.

Bryson DeChambeau and his newfound muscles managed to carry the water in a practice round Tuesday.  We’ll see if he brings it out when it matters most.  Typically, this is a make it or break it spot for players.

TPC River Highlands

18th, 444 yards, Par 4

 In normal times, this hole features a large stadium seating set up that allows fans to overlook the final moments of action.  Obviously, this won’t exist in this year’s tournament but that shouldn’t take away from the drama it can provide.  This hole rewards players who play it well with a realistic birdie opportunity following a well-placed tee shot.

Jordan Spieth famously chipped in for the win against Daniel Berger in 2017.  Ah, the good times.

 

The Field

The field this week is without Tiger Woods again, but adds Phil Mickelson who makes his first start since the restart

Here are the featured groups:

Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson
Thursday: 7:35 a.m. ET (No. 10); Friday: 12:50 a.m. ET (No. 1)

Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas
Thursday: 12:50 p.m. ET (No. 1); Friday: 7:35 a.m. ET (No. 10)

Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie, Webb Simpson
Thursday: 7:25 a.m. ET (No. 10); Friday: 12:40 p.m. ET (No. 1)

Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth
Thursday: 12:40 p.m. ET (No. 1); Friday: 7:25 a.m. (No. 10)

Gambling Corner:

I like San Diego State product Xander Schauffele this week.  He nearly won the Colonial and is always right in the mix.  WEST SIDE!

Here are some betting odds:

Some value guys:

Jordan Spieth +4000

Viktor Hovland +5000

Joaquin Niemann +5000

Here’s how to follow along:

Television:

Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).

Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS).

PGA Tour Live:

Thursday-Friday 6:45 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (featured groups)

Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. ET (featured groups)

Saturday-Sunday 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (featured holes)

This course is majestic, the field is stacked and great golf is expected.

Enjoy!

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