After last week's star-studded field at the U.S. Open, the field this week is less top heavy.
We are in Cromwell, Connecticut at TPC River Highlands for the 2012 Travelers Championship. Fredrik Jacobson is the defending champion. The winner will take home $1,080,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points.
TPC River Highlands is one of the easier tracks on the PGA Tour. It is a shorter (6,841 yards) par-70 golf course. Scoring will be at a premium this week. Big hitters who are putting well can put up some very low scores here. Given the composition of this course, accuracy will be less emphasized than in previous weeks. Where the U.S. Open was a "grinder's" golf tournament, it is almost the complete opposite this week. Go big or go home.
Yahoo! Weekly Lineup Game
Matt Kuchar (Starting)
Kuchar is probably the best golfer in the field this week. On the PGA Tour, he is 5th on the money list, he ranks 8th in the all-around ranking metric and he's 2nd in scoring average. If Kuchar has a good weekend, he could absolutely rip this course up. Kuchar doesn't have much of a history here, but if plays as well as he's been playing all season long, he will be in the hunt on Sunday.
Zach Johnson (Bench)
Johnson is another golfer who has been playing well this season. Johnson ranks 6th on the PGA Tour money list, he's 11th in all-around ranking and 9th in scoring average. Not to mention 6th in strokes gained putting. Johnson finished T24 here last season, and he could definitely finish better than that here in 2012.
Also worth using: Webb Simpson
Bubba Watson (Starting)
Watson is a major wild card here. And I like that. He's missed the cut in his last two events, but a bit of letdown after his win at Augusta was almost to be expected. He won this event in 2010, and finished T38 last year. Watson leads the PGA Tour in driving distance and greens in regulation (GIR). He is 9th in the all-around ranking, 6th in birdie average and 13th in scoring average. He could go nuts here.
Ryan Moore (Starting)
Moore hasn't been playing as well recently as he had been a few weeks ago. But he is the "horse for the course" here. He finished T2 here last year, T13 in 2010 and T4 in 2009. I guess he really enjoys playing the Travelers Championship. Moore ranks 28th in birdie average and 32nd in the all-around ranking metric.
Hunter Mahan (Bench)
Mahan has been a very steady golfer in 2012, and that should continue here. Mahan is 2nd on the PGA Tour money list and 24th in scoring average. He hits a ton of fairways (13th on Tour) and greens (6th on Tour). He finished T43 here last season and should be looking to improve on that this year.
Fredrik Jacobson (Bench)
Not only is Jacobson the defending champion, he's been playing some solid golf recently. Jacobson has three top-30 finishes in his last four PGA Tour events. Statistically, Jacobson isn't a strong option here, although he does rank 45th on Tour in scoring average. If he can repeat his success from last year, he'll make a nice fallback option on your bench.
Also worth using: Bo Van Pelt
Padraig Harrington (Starting)
Sometimes you don't notice how well a golfer is playing because they haven't won an event recently. Harrington has finished in the top 15 in each of his last three events. He's got a good history here having finished T5 back in 2010. He's not a birdie machine, but ranks 8th on Tour in scoring average and 29th in all-around ranking.
John Huh (Bench)
Huh has struggled with his consistency in 2012, but he also has four top-6 finishes, including a victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic back in February. Huh ranks 22nd in scoring average and 36th in birdie average. He sits at No. 12 in the all-around ranking and is 21st in strokes gained putting. He could do anything from winning here to missing the cut. That makes him a nice bench option if Harrington falters.
Also worth using: Louis Oosthuizen and Bud Cauley
Picks for The Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge
Group One: Matt Kuchar
Group Two: Ryan Moore
Group Three: Chad Campbell
Group Four: Mark Anderson
Who to choose in your Weekly Survivor/Eliminator/Earnings League
Looking at who I have left, and who I'd like to save, I've come up with three options this week: Ryan Moore, Bo Van Pelt and Padraig Harrington.
My initial instinct is to use Harrington, but if he continues his strong play I will be able to use him elsewhere. Bo Van Pelt is not a big name, but he's a consistent golfer, and I can find a spot for him later on in the season.
So almost by default I am going with Ryan Moore this week. Moore has an outstanding history here, but he hasn't been playing well enough recently to make me positive I will use him somewhere else. So I might as well use him on the course where he has the best track record.
Already Used: Bryce Molder, Steve Marino, Bill Haas, D.A. Points, Martin Laird, Hunter Mahan, K.J. Choi, Rory McIlroy, Jarrod Lyle, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, John Senden, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Bo Van Pelt, Fredrik Jacobson, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Ben Curtis, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
Good luck to all this week. If you have any comments or questions, please use the comments feature or reach out to me on Twitter.
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