Bubba Watson Among the 15 Golfers to Watch at the Travelers Championship

Mike LynchContributor IIIJune 21, 2011

Bubba Watson Among the 15 Golfers to Watch at the Travelers Championship

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 17:  Bubba Watson hits a tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Bubba Watson headlines the field at this years Travelers Championship. 

    Located at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, the event attracts the second-most patrons on the PGA Tour schedule.  The course is short, measuring 6,844 yards, but plays only to a par-70. 

    Past winners of the event include legends such as Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Greg Norman.  Bubba Watson returns to defend his championship.  Here are 15 golfers to watch this week at the Travelers.

John Daly

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Is he a contender? Absolutely not, but there is no doubt John Daly still attracts crowds. 

    His ridiculously-long swing is still something to behold, as are his outrageous pants.  He will surely provide a few shots that remind you of the talent he had.  The two-time major champion was playing the bomb-and-gouge golf you see now, 20 years ago.

Morgan Hoffmann and Kevin Tway

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    Morgan Hoffmann
    Morgan HoffmannStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Who are these guys?  The golf powerhouse Oklahoma State has two former members making professional debuts this week. 

    Morgan Hoffmann qualified for the 2010 US Open and missed the cut by one stroke.  In 2009 he was ranked first in the amateur rankings, ahead of then teammate Rickie Fowler.  He has played three Nationwide Tour events, placing in the top 10 every time.  He was a member of the victorious Walker Cup team in 2009 and won the 2011 Big XII Championship

    Kevin Tway is the son of former PGA Tour player Bob Tway.  He qualified for the 2008 US Open, missing the cut by four strokes.  He finished second to Hoffmann in the Big XII championship this spring.  He won the 2005 US Junior Amateur title.

Corey Pavin

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 27:  Corey Pavin hits his tee shot on the par 4 12th hole during the second round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Valhalla Golf Club on May 27, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Corey Pavin nearly won this event last year, despite being a Senior Tour member. 

    The 2010 US Ryder Cup captain lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson.  He still hits the ball straight, and the length isn't too much for him.  The 1995 US Open Champion is a long shot, but this is a course that suits his game well and he has made the cut in two of the three PGA Tour events he's entered this year.

Vijay Singh

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    BETHESDA, MD - JULY 02: Vijah Singh tees off during the first round of the AT&T National at the Congressional Country Club on July 2, 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Vijay Singh saw his streak of consecutive major starts end last week. 

    The 34-time PGA tour winner has played better than last year, finishing in the top 10 three times.  The three-time major champion is known as a tireless worker.  He will want to prove something to himself and the world this week.

Padraig Harrington

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 18:  Padraig Harrington of Ireland smiles as he walks off the second tee during the third round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 18, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Padraig Harrington has had a poor season and has been disappointing since his last major.  Still, the three-time major champion is shy of 40 and could get back into form rather quickly. 

    It would be wise to keep an eye on him, because if something clicks, he's capable of great golf.  He still has putted and scrambled well this year.  The short layout should allow him to avoid the driver, which has been troublesome this year. 

David Toms

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 17:  David Toms watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    David Toms is a perfect fit for the short TPC River Highlands. 

    He is very accurate with the driver and can use it with confidence.  Many of his peers will pull out a fairway metal, thus negating length advantages.  He already has won at Colonial and been in a playoff at Sawgrass. 

    It's been a rejuvenating season for him, and this course should help him continue with it.

Anthony Kim

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 18:  Anthony Kim hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 18, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Anthony Kim has been a disappointment this year and overall. 

    However, he remains a very talented player and will not have to use the driver much.  With this club not needed, his mentality should be much more positive.  If Kim stays in play off the tee, he can make noise this weekend.

Zach Johnson

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 18:  Zach Johnson walks to the 14th tee during the third round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 18, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    The former Masters champion, Zach Johnson, is another prototype for this course. 

    He is accurate but not a long hitter.  He is also a very good putter, ranking eighth on the PGA Tour.  This combination of precision and putting will give him a chance on the short layout.

Ian Poulter

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 17:  Ian Poulter of England walks off the tee bosx on  the 14th hole during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Englishmen won the Volvo Matchplay over world No. 1 Luke Donald. 

    He has been steady on the PGA Tour this year, with only one missed cut.  He is very accurate off the tee.  He played poorly and missed the cut at the US Open, don't expect two straight bad tournaments. 

    Ranked 14th in the world, Poulter is very capable of winning this tournament.

Brandt Snedeker

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 18:  Brandt Snedeker waves to the gallery on the 13th green during the third round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 18, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Brandt Snedeker is coming off of an 11th place finish at the US Open. 

    He has already picked up a victory this year, besting world No. 1 Luke Donald in a playoff at Harbor Town.  He ranks third on the PGA Tour in putting.  He's been in good form lately and this is a course that suits his game.

Jim Furyk

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 17:  Jim Furyk hits his second shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Despite a subpar season, Jim Furyk has to be considered a contender this weekend. 

    It was only last year that he won three times and took home the FedEx Cup.  This course suits Furyk's game well as he is very accurate with the driver.  This would be the perfect week for him to get going on the year.

Nick Watney

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 16:  Nick Watney hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 16, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Despite missing the cut at the US Open, Nick Watney has had a great season. 

    He has seven top 10 finishes and won the WGC at Doral against a loaded field.  With his consistent play this year, and a relatively weak group of competitors, Watney should excel at TPC River Highlands

Hunter Mahan

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 17:  Hunter Mahan hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The 2007 champion, Hunter Mahan has also had a great season despite missing the cut last week. 

    He has seven top 10 finishes, but hasn't been able to win.  With a great track record on this course that includes two second-place finishes, Mahan could break through and grab his first win of the year.

Bubba Watson

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    BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 16:  Bubba Watson waves to the gallery on the fifth green during the first round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 16, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Bubba Watson returns to the scene of his first ever PGA Tour victory.  

    He has won twice on the tour this year and is ranked 13th in the world.  He has gained much fame and popularity since he was last here.  He has the ability to completely overpower the course, as he did last year. 

    Ranking second in driving distance and first in greens in regulation, Bubba could put on quite the show to repeat as champion.