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Friday, June 13, 2014

The Travelers Championship field

Ben Alvarado
Alex Aragon
Aaron Baddeley
Sang-Moon Bae
Briny Baird
Ricky Barnes
Charlie Beljan
Kris Blanks
Jonas Blixt
Justin Bolli
Keegan Bradley
Scott Brown
Jonathan Byrd
Angel Cabrera
Chad Campbell
Patrick Cantlay
Miguel Angel Carballo
Paul Casey
Bud Cauley
Greg Chalmers
Kevin Chappell
K.J. Choi
Dan Chopra
Tim Clark
Chad Collins
Erik Compton
Ben Crane
Brian Davis
Jason Day
Brendon de Jonge
Graham DeLaet
James Driscoll
Ken Duke
Joe Durant
Harris English
Derek Ernst
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano,
Kevin Foley
Brad Fritsch
Tommy Gainey
Sergio Garcia
Scott Gardiner
Brice Garnett
Bobby Gates
Brian Gay
Fabian Gomez
Retief Goosen
Oliver Goss
Paul Goydos
Luke Guthrie
Chesson Hadley
James Hahn
Brian Harman
J.J. Henry
Jim Herman
Tim Herron
Justin Hicks
Charley Hoffman
Morgan Hoffmann
John Huh
Billy Hurley III
Trevor Immelman
Ryo Ishikawa
Freddie Jacobson
Dustin Johnson
Zach Johnson
Matt Jones
Jerry Kelly
Russell Knox
Ben Kohles
Matt Kuchar
Bronson La’Cassie
Doug LaBelle II
Neal Lancaster
Scott Langley
Danny Lee
Rich Lee
Marc Leishman
Spencer Levin
David Lingmerth
Ed Loar
Andrew Loupe
Jamie Lovemark
Jeff Maggert
Hunter Mahan
John Mallinger
Peter Malnati
Steve Marino
Troy Matteson
Billy Mayfair
Scott McCarron
William McGirt
John Merrick
Troy Merritt
Bryce Molder
Ryan Moore
Seung-Yul Noh
Sean O’Hair
Thorbjorn Olesen
Louis Oosthuizen
Greg Owen
John Peterson
Tim Petrovic
Carl Pettersson
D.A. Points
Ted Potter, Jr.
Dicky Pride
Alex Prugh
Michael Putnam
Adam Rainaud
Patrick Reed
Jim Renner
Tag Ridings
Wes Roach
Patrick Rodgers
John Rollins
Andres Romero
Vijay Singh
Heath Slocum
Brandt Snedeker
Kevin Stadler
Kyle Stanley
Brendan Steele
Shawn Stefani
Robert Streb
Kevin Streelman
Chris Stroud
Brian Stuard
Andrew Svoboda,
Hudson Swafford
Vaughn Taylor
Michael Thompson
Nicholas Thompson
David Toms
Kevin Tway
Tyrone Van Aswegen
Bo Van Pelt
Jhonattan Vegas
Camilo Villegas
Johnson Wagner
Nick Watney
Bubba Watson
Charlie Wi
Will Wilcox
Tim Wilkinson
Cameron Wilson
Mark Wilson
Bobby Wyatt
Y.E. Yang
Four spots from Monday qualifier

Watney, Villegas, Toms late additions to Travelers field

Former PGA Tour winners Nick Watney (above), Camilo Villegas, David Toms were among the golfers committing to the Travelers Championship at Friday’s evening deadline.

They are added to arguably the best field Travelers has had since taking over title sponsorship in 2007. The field had six of the world’s top 15 players in the current rankings: Bubba Watson (3), Matt Kuchar (5), Jason Day (7), Sergio Garcia (8), Zach Johnson (14) and Dustin Johnson (15).

“We had some great pickups late to add to one of the strongest fields we’ve had, if not the strongest,” Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube said. “Getting guys to commit really early is very beneficial for us to be able to promote and market them.”

The tournament begins Thursday at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

The most notable withdrawals were two-time champion Stewart Cink (1997, 2008) and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir.

Former major championship winners in the field include: Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA), Angel Cabrera (2007 U.S. Open, 2009 Masters), Retief Goosen (2001 and 2004 U.S. Opens), Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters), Louis Oosthuizen (2010 British Open), Vijay Singh (2000 Masters, 1998 and 2004 PGA), Toms (2001 PGA) and Y.E. Yang (2009 PGA).

Former champions in the field are: J.J. Henry (2006), Hunter Mahan (2007), Bubba Watson (2010), Freddie Jacobson (2011), Marc Leishman (2012) and defending champion Ken Duke.

Four of Travelers eight exemptions went to amateurs who will turn pro at the tournament. Patrick Rodgers, the No. 1 amateur in the world from Stanford University, missed the cut in 2012 at the Travelers. He is skipping his senior year at Stanford.

Rodgers’ college teammate, Cameron Wilson, hails from Rowaynton, won the NCAA Division I individual championship in May and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. Oliver Goss is turning pro after just two years at Tennessee. He was the low amateur at the Masters in April. The last amateur, Bobby Wyatt, helped lead Alabama to its second straight NCAA Division I team title.

The other three sponsors exemptions went to tour pros Tim Petrovic, who played at the University of Hartford, Billy Mayfair and Vaughn Taylor.

“We really have a good crop of four amateurs,” Grube said. “We also wanted to give exemptions to three guys who have played us every year since Travelers took over (title sponsorship) in 2007. Travelers wanted to say ‘Thank you’ to those guys.”

Two notable alternates awaiting withdrawals this week are former major championship winners David Duval and John Daly, who Grube said did request a sponsor’s exemption.

The final four spots in the field will be determined at a qualifier Monday at the Black Hall Club in Old Lyme.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My three picks to win the U.S. Open

1. Luke Donald: Has three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season. Was once the world's No. 1 player. A win here would get him back into the top 10 of the World Rankings (currently 18th).

2. Phil Mickelson: The sentimental choice who is running out of chances to complete the career Grand Slam. Having his worst season as a pro with no top-10 finishes. But of his six runner-up finishes in this event, his first came in 1999 to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst.

3. Retief Goosen: Was the third-round leader the last time the Open was played at Pinehurst (2005) before collapsing with a final-round 81. recent history says no chance for the two-time Open champion, but with his success in this tournament, he could contend.

Here are the starting times for the opening two rounds Thursday and Friday.