We discuss Congressional, Sammy Davis Jr., golf's version of the "Rat Pack" and of course, this week's PGA Tour stop
Where: Cromwell, Conn.
Course: TPC River Highlands
Defending champion: Bubba Watson defeated Scott Verplank and Corey Pavin in a playoff for his first PGA Tour title.
This Week's Fix Six
2. Hunter Mahan
3. Nick Watney
4. Bo Van Pelt
5. Ryan Moore
6. Heath Slocum
Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Fix, where we're still trying to figure out if that was the U.S. Open or the John Deere Classic. Don't get me wrong, I loved having a major conveniently located in our nation's capital, but Congressional wound up playing way too easy. In fact, it's too bad the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge wasn't held this year. Forget trying to break 100, the contest-winning amateur probably would have been disappointed if he/she didn't break 80. Moving on, though, despite half the year's majors being in the books, we will stay focused and try to build some momentum leading up to the next one, the British Open. Let's get to it.
The PGA Tour heads to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., for the Travelers Championship. Contrary to popular belief, the tournament will go on despite the absence of golf's new darling and superstar, Rory McIlroy. In fact, 20 of those players fortunate enough to make it to the weekend at Congressional will tee it up here.
Random tournament fact: This event was once known as the Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open. True story.
Bubba Watson It was here last year where the free-swinging lefty went from novelty act to a winner. He picked up his first PGA Tour title in a playoff over Scott Verplank and Corey Pavin (Didn't see that coming, did you?) and has added two more since to emerge as one of the top players in the game. After a tough four days at Congressional, he might not have a lot in the tank.
STUD OF THE WEEK
Hunter Mahan. He missed the cut here last year, but before that he had a tremendous run of four straight years in the top four. His 2007 victory was bookended by a pair of runner-up finishes. Unfortunately, his buddy Rickie Fowler isn't in the field due to a knee injury, meaning only 75 percent of the new boy band, "The Golf Boys," (Watson and Ben Crane are the others) will be in Hartford. Speaking of that, Hunter, buddy, I might have you listed as a "stud" this week based on your golf game, but you might want to try doing a set of crunches every once in a while...
PLAYERS CONTENDERS TO PLAY
David Toms and Paul Goydos. Neither of these guys really move the golf needle, but at this course, that isn't a problem. Toms let us down in Memphis, but his recent play is too good to overlook. Goydos hasn't done much in 2011, but his T-3 at TPC Sawgrass showed he could be turning the corner. Also, they both happened to tie for second here in 2009.
CONFUSING NAME SELECTION
Heath Slocum. Hartford-area natives might remember the name Heath Slocumb, a former relief pitcher for the Red Sox. But while he's most known for being trade bait in a lopsided deal for Boston, Slocum (minus the "b") is actually known for winning, even if he only has four PGA Tour titles to his name. Coming off a T-11 at the U.S. Open, look for the accurate driver to have a strong week at an event where he has a solid record.
FAN MAIL BREAK
"Hey, Alex. I just wanted to thank you for showing faith in me as your sleeper for the U.S. Open. It's been a tough last year-and-a-half and you seem to be one of the few writers that hasn't written me off (like that pun?). Take care, Sergio Garcia."
No problem, Sergio, though I guess you didn't see some of the stuff I was writing about you earlier in the year. Seriously, though, the man dubbed "The Next Tiger" before Rory is still only 31 and one of the best ball-strikers around. When it comes to putting, however, even I might be able to give him a few pointers... No, Sergio didn't actually write, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Please feel free to e-mail me with comments, questions or just to make fun of my picks. And of course, you can follow me on Twitter.