Travelers Championship Betting Preview: Which Golfers Have the Best Course History at TPC River Highlands?
Photo credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Casey
Earlier today, I wrote about which golf metrics have best predicted success at TPC River Highlands, the site of this week’s tournament, the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
See that post for the data, but the quick version is that we have yet another ball-striking course. It’s one of the rare PGA TOUR tracks to play under 6,900 yards, which means distance off the tee won’t be as important again.
And that jives with the golfers who have done well here in the past, including Paul Casey, Brendan Steele, Brian Harman, Chez Reavie and Marc Leishman. Guys with distance have gotten hot and contended — J.B. Holmes and Beau Hossler finished second in 2018 — but on average, iron play and especially those second shots into greens will be incredibly important.
At the bottom of this post, I’ll insert a table with “Course History Ratings,” which basically highlights how well golfers have done here over the past six years.
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It incorporates Adjusted Round Score, our proprietary metric at FantasyLabs, and I also account for how many times a golfer has played here in that time frame.
In other words: A golfer playing well once is nice; doing it consistently over the years is more impressive. Likewise, a golfer who consistently underperforms will be penalized more than one who had a bad random year. Ratings are adjusted for the field.
Top Golfers in TPC River Highlands Course History Rating
Bubba Watson has won here three times, but it’s Paul Casey who owns the top rating this week at River Highlands. The dude has just been so consistently excellent over the last five years (our sample size in this exercise is six years):
- 2019: 5th
- 2018: 2nd
- 2017: 5th
- 2016: 17th
- 2015: 2nd
He hasn’t gotten the buzz because he hasn’t actually won the thing, but four top-fives and a 17th is about as good as it gets.
Bubba has still been incredible — don’t get me wrong. He’s tied with Brendan Steele for the second-best rating this week, and if I expanded the sample size beyond six years, he’d probably have the top spot.
The problem is that he’s been a little all over the place: In his last six visits, he’s won twice but been outside of the top-20 the other four times. One of those was a missed cut, and he finished 54th last year.
Other golfers with excellent history, as mentioned above, include Harman, Reavie, Leishman, Keegan Bradley and Kevin Tway.
Two of the more interesting names this week are Bryson DeChambeau and Joaquin Niemann. The former since the return two weeks ago has been nothing short of beefy and brilliant. He might be the best all-around golfer in the game right now — and if he isn’t, he’s trending that way. He has very solid history at this track and should be incredibly popular as a bet and DFS pick.
Niemann put together an incredible weekend last week at Harbour Town, sneaking up into contention on Sunday after almost missing the cut. The youngster has just one visit to River Highlands but impressed last year, finishing fifth. He clearly can contend here, and if his game follows the weekend trajectory, he can absolutely win this thing.
Worst Golfers in TPC River Highlands Course History Rating
Some of the golfers with the worst ratings this week are already priced at like 1,500/1, so let’s instead talk about some of the top golfers who have historically underperformed at this course.
Honestly, most of the top guys have pretty neutral ratings; none of them have been egregiously bad; a bunch just haven’t played here that much. Rory McIlroy and Bryson have the best history among the very top guys, and then it’s mostly neutral until you get to the guys with great ratings like Bubba, Casey and Patrick Reed.
All in all, I don’t think any of these guys are fades based on historical play at River Highlands, although some of them might be based on course fit and/or recent form.
A couple interesting names this week are JT Poston, Jason Kokrak, Ryan Palmer, Byeong Hun An and Branden Grace, most of whom have had solid moments over the last few weeks and have gained in popularity as bets and DFS plays as a result. Unfortunately, those guys all have pretty poor history at River Highlands, although note that could definitely change moving forward.
Enough analysis: See full course history ratings below.
TPC River Highlands Course History Ratings
|Name||To-Win Odds||Course History Rating (1-10)|
|Si Woo Kim||+30000||5.25|
|Harold Varner III||+16000||4.57|
|Bo Van Pelt||+150000||4.04|
|Ted Potter Jr.||+75000||3.36|
|Byeong Hun An||+17500||2.78|
|Davis Love III||+150000||2.47|
|Rafa Cabrera Bello||+17500||N/A|