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Friday, June 18, 2010

Field set for Travelers

Nathan Grube is excited about the field at the Travelers Championship field and well he should. I believe this field beats last year and is close to the best field it has had in the last decade - in 2002.
In the last month, the tournament was able to nab three of the most popular foreign-born golfers: Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen and Adam Scott. Harrington and Goosen have five majors between them and Scott has four wins on the PGA Tour.
"I wasn't expecting Retief," said Grube, the tournament director about the South African, who committed on Thursday. "It looked like it wasn't going to fit into his schedule and he has never played here. We've been asking Retief for years. ... If you had told me a month ago if Adam Scott would have come, I would have said no."
This is Scott's first time playing at TPC River Highlands. It is the second time for Harrington, the other being in 2007. There's no rhyme or reason why players come to tournaments and skip others. With the Europeans, my theory is this: they need to head back overseas to tune up for the British Open in a month. Connecticut is a nice pitstop before going back. When the U.S. Open is closer to home, like last year when it was out on Long Island, it can be more appealing.
"It is all about relationship-building," Grube said. He's right: the tournament personnel talk to each of the players in the top 150 multiple times during the year. The goodwill the tournament has been spreading since Travelers came aboard has been noticed by the tour players.
Grube has always said he likes the dates on the schedule, following the U.S. Open. While Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson normally don't play the week after the Open, it doesn't stop Travelers from making a pitch to them each year.
And while it is more likely Mickelson, the former two-time champion (2001-02) will return before Tiger, at least fans can hope for the current No. 1 - even if it lasts only a few more days.
The only notable addition to the field who committed Friday is Brian Gay, a two-time winner on tour last year.


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