With the U.S. Open in the books, it's time for golf fans to look forward to the next event. They will have that chance when the Travelers Championship begins on Thursday, June 21. Not surprisingly, this tournament is being skipped by the majority of top players in the world. You won't see Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, or Luke Donald here. However, there are still some entertaining golfers for fans to watch.
Here is a look at the five most intriguing names in the field for the Travelers Championship. Don't be surprised to see any of these five players end the weekend with a title:
Simpson will tee it off just days after hoisting the U.S. Open trophy. Given that he is fresh off of a major win, he is going to be the hottest player in the field. Simpson was no slouch before the U.S. Open. He finished second on the PGA money list in 2011, proving that he can hold his own among the best in the world. Could he really follow such a big win with another one here? There is something to be said for letdowns, but it wouldn't be wise to count him out.
Simpson isn't the only 2012 major winner in the field. Masters champion Bubba Watson is also playing in this event. Since winning at Augusta, Bubba has been fairly quiet. He has only played in three events since the Masters and missed the cut in the last two. Still, this is a guy with four finishes in the top 5 so far in 2012. He also leads the Tour in greens in regulation, something that should help him get back on track. A strong finish at this event will give him some confidence as he prepares for the British Open in July.
Kuchar completes an impressive trio of big 2012 champions in this field. He picked up the Players Championship title in May and has had a very strong season so far. Not only has Kuchar not missed a cut in 2012, he also ranks among the best in several key areas. He is 2nd in scoring average and 13th in greens hit. That kind of consistency makes him a threat at every event. As a fan, I always appreciate watching a golfer that plays the game with the kind of precision that Kuchar does.
The three-time major winner has had a quiet but solid season in 2012. He has finished in the top 15 in three straight events, including a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open. Harrington brings instant credibility to this event, but he is more than just a big name. He ranks in the top 20 in both scoring average and total putts per round. If he continues those trends, he will have a real chance to pick up a win. He can build some momentum toward a third British Open title if he turns in another strong performance here.
Mahan has won two events in 2012 but has slipped a little lately. He has not had a top-10 finish in his last six PGA events, and has finished outside of the top 20 four times during that stretch. However, Mahan still ranks among the best in driving accuracy and greens hit. If he can combine those two aspects of his game at the Travelers Championship, he could become the first player to win three events in 2012.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.