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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.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goosen, Baddeley coming to Travelers

The Travelers Championship continue to bring in top-notch golfers as Retief Goosen and Aaron Baddeley will be at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell next week.
Goosen will be making his first-ever trip to the Travelers, while Baddeley will be making his sixth visit.
Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion (2201 and 2004), has seven career victories. He is currently ranked 17th in the official World Golf rankings with five top-10 finishes this season. His best result in 2010 came at the Sony Open where he finished fourth.
In less than eight seasons on the PGA Tour, Baddeley has quickly become one of the top young golfers, earning more than $10 million before the age of 30. He has two career victories that include a win at the 2006 Verizon Heritage and the 2007 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Baddeley has made 9 of 12 cuts in 2010, with his best finish being a tie for third at the Valero Texas Open.
Baddeley has never finsihed better than a tie for 61st place (2004).
Goosen joins Padraig Harrington and Adam Scott among others, making it a strong contingent of international players competing for the title.

Joe Morelli’s picks to win the U.S. Open

Here they are:

1. Phil Mickelson: Only man in the field who can win the Grand Slam. A victory here likely vaults Mickelson into the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings. He has won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am three times.
2. Lee Westwood: Came in third to Tiger Woods at the Open in 2008. He took advantage of his good fortune at the St. Jude’s Classic last weekend, winning in a three-man playoff after previous leader Robert Garrigus triple-bogeyed the final hole on Sunday.
3. Tiger Woods: Why some members of our profession are writing him off, I don’t understand. Remember when he won the Open two years ago with a torn ACL? The man did win the Open at Pebble Beach 10 years ago by 15 shots, still a major championship record.

sleeper pick: Dustin Johnson, winner of the last two AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournaments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ozzie, Calhoun coming to Travelers celebrity pro-am

Nine celebrities, including baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun, will play in the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am next Wednesday at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
Other celebrities scheduled to play include: former Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, New England Patriots football coach Bill Belichick, UConn football coach Randy Edsall, actors John O’Hurley, James Naughton and Rob Morrow, UConn associate basketball coaches George Blaney (men) and Chris Dailey (women).

Dziubina and Stone Win fifth Tournament of Champions

Matt Dziubina from Race Brook Country Club in Orange earned the top spot in the Club Champion division after a 5-under-par 67 at the 5th CSGA Tournament of Champions at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in South Kent.
Dziubina will earn 100 points toward the Dick Tettelbach Player of Year. Tied for the runner-up position was 2009 Player of the Year Jeff Hedden and 2008 Palmer Cup champion Phil Perry, who both play at the Black Hall Club in Old Lyme. Both players finished at two-under par 70. In the Senior Club Champion division, Lou Stone from New Haven CC shot a 1-under par 71.
Defending champion David Czaplicki (Race Brook CC) finished second with a 72.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pavin, Weekley coming to Travelers Championship

Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, along with Boo Weekley, Bill Haas, Scott Verplank and Lee Janzen, have committed to play in the Travelers Championship June 24-27 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
Pavin is a 15-time winner on tour, including a win in the 1995 U.S. Open. Currently splitting time between the PGA and Champions tours, Pavin has four top-ten finishes this year. Pavin has five top-ten finishes at the Travelers Championship in 17 career appearances.
A two-time tour winner, Weekley will be making his third start at the Travelers. Verplank has five career victories on the tour and will be making his 10th trip to TPC River Highlands.
Lee Janzen, who has a pair of U.S. Open wins to his credit (1993 and 1998) will be making his 13th appearance at the Travelers. He has eight career wins. Haas recorded his first career victory at the Bob Hope Classic in February.

Average Joe going for third straight win

Average Joe has taken a lot of heat over the years for his failure to beat a golf professional. But on Thursday, you can read about (or view on my alter ego's opportunity to win a third straight hole against a pro.
It will be the 11th hole, a par-3, at the Lyman Orchards Jones Course.

In addition, we profile Cheshire's Tom Gleeton, the head pro at CC of Waterbury, the only member of the Connecticut Section PGA to qualify for next week's Travelers Championship.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Adler, Williamson qualify for U.S. Publinx

Max Adler from Norwalk and Peter Williamson of Hanover, N.H. both shot 36-hole totals of 2-under-par 70s Monday at the Country Club of Woodbridge to qualify for the 85th U.S. Public Links Championship next month.
Adler fired a 65 in his afternoon round to earn one of the two invitations to the national championship at the Bryan Park Golf and Conference Center in Greensboro, N.C., July 12-17. Herbie Akins of Plympton, Mass. (142) and Tom McCarthy of Tolland (143) are the alternates.