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2024 Travelers Championship Power Rankings: Top-10 Golfers To Watch at TPC River Highlands


I hope everyone had a terrific (Father's Day) Sunday watching the drama unfold at the U.S. Open. The best players in the world have already boarded their flights to Cromwell, Connecticut to tee it up in another Signature Event for the Travelers Championship. They'll play this coming week at TPC River Highlands, a familiar stop on the PGA Tour summer schedule but it's a test that will be the polar opposite from Pinehurst No. 2 in terms of course conditions and setup.

While TPC River Highlands does not require the patience and fortitude needed at Pinehurst, you would have to imagine that players will show some fatigue at the tail end of a brutally tough stretch. A shortened field with guaranteed payday should ease the pain and this has always been one of the most well-attended and supported events annually on Tour. Several big names had the weekend off in North Carolina and will come in more rested and motivated to win the final signature event of the 2024 season.

As always with this article, my primary goal is to provide a place to start your research and preparation for the incoming week. I have carefully evaluated the field-to-project course fits and past results in team golf formats. This will give you a glimpse at how my brain operates when it comes to handicapping this unique event. Here are my top 10 players to watch out for and a brief write-up of my reasons why. Enjoy the Travelers Championship, and here are the players you need to watch out for!

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No. 10 - Brian Harman

You can pretty much pencil in Brian Harman for a Top-10 finish every year at the Travelers Championship and that is exactly what I am doing in my power rankings this week. Harman has a ridiculous four Top-8 finishes in the last five years at TPC River Highlands which includes a tie for second place in 2023. He's been quietly coming back into form lately which is a welcome sight for Harman who is now less than a month away from defending the Claret Jug at the Open Championship.

A short, positional course that requires better-than-average short game and putting is just the type of test that Brian Harman passes regularly with flying colors. His noted improvement in his approach play, particularly at the PGA Championship and Charles Schwab Challenge where he gained 5+ strokes in each tournament. Harman hung around tough at the U.S. Open which should facilitate his confidence heading to Cromwell!


No. 9 - Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley has been dismantling courses with his ability to drive the ball long and straight off the tee. He'll need to improve moderately with his irons if he wants to repeat as champion of the Travelers. In 2023, he gained 7+ strokes on approach AND putting which was plenty enough to propel him back into the winner's circle. Bradley also has a T2 finish in 2019 and T19 in 2022 to further cement himself as a true horse for the course at TPC River Highlands.

The main defense of the course is the thick rough and difficult bunkers. It makes sense why Bradley has had so much success here because he is great at handling those elements, ranking third on Tour at scrambling out of thick rough and greenside bunkers. It was an emotional win for Bradley, who seemed certain that victory had earned him a spot on the Ryder Cup team at the time. It was hard to see him get snubbed in the end, but remembering the week that was should put the Northeast native back in a comfort zone and ready to play well.


No. 8 - Viktor Hovland

Somewhat predictably, Viktor Hovland struggled to deal with the tightly mown short grass around the greens at Pinehurst No. 2. The thick greenside rough at TPC River Highlands should be a welcome sight for Hovland whose statistical numbers dramatically improve with this type of course setup. Hovland gained 1.4 strokes around the green at the PGA Championship at Valhalla which has similar rough to TPC River Highlands. For reference, Hovland lost nearly three strokes on the short grass at Pinehurst in round one alone.

He's been driving it much better recently as well. When Hovland is playing his best and primed to win, he's as dominant of a player from tee to green as we have on the PGA Tour. He's definitely looking for a spark to get the ball rolling on another summer like he had in 2023, and this will be a great opportunity for him to finally earn himself a victory in the 2024 season. His best finish to date at the Travelers Championship is a T11 in 2020.


No. 7 - Sahith Theegala

Sahith Theegala has started to break the mold in terms of being a player that you could only be confident in on certain courses that suit his game best. His 2023 game has traveled everywhere and is set for redemption at the Travelers Championship. It does feel like his game profiles best on these shorter layouts that allow position and strategy to take place on the tee box. I do have concerns again about his around the green game but I'm hopeful that he can rely on his putter to make up for any deficiencies.

He grinded his way through the cut and played his best golf on the weekend at Pinehurst. His shotmaking ability should translate well to a course like TPC River Highlands, and we have seen him come so close here before. I'll never forget when he got aggressive with this bunker shot as a younger, less-established touring pro. 2024 may be his time, and we'll have to see if he has learned from his past mistakes down the stretch. You just can't double-bogey the last hole.


No. 6 - Rory McIlroy

I'm genuinely not sure how he is going to recover from what just happened. I'm still in shock, nearly an hour after he missed a gimme on 18 at Pinehurst No. 2. I simply have to put him inside my Power Rankings, as he played the U.S. Open better than any other player on the PGA Tour. No stats, course history, or form could make me come anywhere close to betting on McIlroy this week. I'll give him a sympathy No. 6 ranking, but I would not be surprised one bit if he withdrew. Enough said here.


No. 5 - Ludvig Aberg

There was arguably more than one disappointing collapse down the stretch of the U.S. Open besides McIlroy. Ludvig Aberg held the lead for much of the tournament. He never let his signature charming smile leave his face despite an untimely triple bogey that ejected him quickly from the competition down the stretch. Only one player in the field gained more strokes off-the-tee at Pinehurst than Aberg.

It's part of the reason I don't love him at TPC River Highlands because the course somewhat deemphasizes his biggest strength as a player which is his hyper-elite ability with Driver. Aberg tends to struggle from time to time around the greens. This all said, I'm optimistic because his ceiling is so astronomically high and we have seen him win on a course previously that was positional and did not require a ton of drivers. It'll be his second time playing the Travelers, and he's looking to build on last season's T24.


No. 4 - Collin Morikawa

I said this in last week's article, but Collin Morikawa being one of the best ball strikers on the planet is once again a thing. He looked destined to miss the cut at the U.S. Open, but continued to fight and earned himself a Top-10 finish. The numbers would indicate that the resurgence is real. On paper, TPC River Highlands would appear to be a perfect course setup for a player like Morikawa who consistently hits fairways and flushes his mid-irons with elite precision.

That hasn't exactly been the case. In his last three starts at the Travelers Championship, Morikawa has missed the cut twice and his best finishing result was a mediocre T36 in 2019. It's possible that the course may have his number and doesn't fit his eye. It's just hard to ignore the consistent uptick in performance he receives on this type of course. It should be right in his wheelhouse to get himself another PGA Tour victory. It's been way too long for a player with his talent.


No. 3 - Patrick Cantlay

The award for "player who proved he is still really good at golf" at Pinehurst went to none other than Patrick Cantlay. I went into the week confident that Cantlay had zero chance, but I'm willing to admit that I was dead wrong. He's still unflappable. He's going to play his game, slowly, but he possesses all the tools to win big-time events on the PGA Tour.

Cantlay's irons had been terrible all year, but he put in a new set of clubs ahead of the U.S. Open which paid major championship dividends. Cantlay ranked third in SG: approach at the U.S. Open and also finished inside the top 10 in putting. He's a closer, and while it did not happen at the U.S. Open, I do believe it could come soon. Here are his results in the last 5 years at the Travelers: T4, T13, T13, T11, and T15. He's been right there, now it's time to prove that you are a closer sir!


No. 2 - Xander Schauffele

Do you know which player had the 2nd most strokes gained on approach for the week at Pinehurst No. 2? Well, it was none other than Xander Schauffele, who we mysteriously barely saw anything from on the weekend coverage. Schauffele fired a final round 68 to slide in the backdoor of another Top-10 result at the U.S. Open. He has now finished inside the Top-15 in all eight of his appearances at the U.S. Open throughout his career which is quite unbelievable.

In my opinion, he's the clear second-best player in the world at the moment on the PGA Tour. He played alongside his closest friend in the final pairing at the Travelers Championship two years ago and touched Cantlay to win the 2022 event. Schauffele has also finished inside the top 20 in both of his other appearances at TPC River Highlands over the past five years. His consistency is what makes him great and should set him up for another week, at a familiar course, in which we will see Xander Schauffele in contention down the stretch on Sunday.


No. 1 - Scottie Scheffler

Is it time to start worrying about Scottie Scheffler? I'm not. Despite finishing T41 at the U.S. Open, it felt like Pinehurst No. 2 just introduced a randomness variable to many of the missed fairways that essentially disadvantaged a player like Scottie Scheffler. He also never got comfortable on the Bermuda greens at Pinehurst which were lightning fast and continued to firm up as the tournament went on.

Scheffler failed to finish inside the Top-50 in the field in strokes gained putting in all four rounds played at Pinehurst. Now, am I expecting him to light the world on fire on the greens at TPC River Highlands? No, but it probably doesn't matter. He'll be back to dismantling the field with his tee-to-green game and crushing his opponents with his prowess and chipping touch. This guy is just the best. Until somewhat can unseat him from the throne, Scheffler is atop the Power Rankings any time he pegs a tee in the dirt!

Enjoy the Travelers Championship and thanks for reading! Good luck, RotoBaller family!


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