HARTFORD, Conn. – Golf’s marquee names continue to commit to the Travelers Championship.
Brooks Koepka, ranked 11th in the world and winner of four major championship, joined the field for Connecticut’s biggest sporting event this week. Koepka, who has eight PGA Tour victories, joins early commitments from defending champion and No. 1-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 and reigning U.S. Open titlist Bryson DeChambeau, No. 7 Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson, who will try to tie Hall of Famer Billy Casper’s record for tournament wins (four) at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell on June 24-27.
“Brooks has put together a remarkable list of accomplishments, with many of them coming in golf’s biggest events,” tournament director Nathan Grube said in a statement. “Brooks is a great player who keeps giving himself opportunities to win, and we’re thrilled that he’ll be returning to Connecticut in June.”
Koepka, 30, won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2017-18 and back-to-back PGA Championships in 2018-19. He will be making his fifth career start at TPC River Highlands and had his best finish in 2016 when he tied for ninth. He was the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world when he played in the 2019 Travelers Championship about a month after winning his second PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Koepka was going to play in last year’s tournament when he was ranked fourth in the world but withdrew before the first round out of caution after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for COVID-19. His brother, Chase, also withdrew after earning a spot in the field in open qualifying, but tournament officials pledged to give him a sponsor’s exemption this year.
Koepka’s most recent win came in the Waste Management Open in February, and he tied for second in the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship three weeks later. But the 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year who has been No. 1 for 47 weeks had surgery four weeks ago for a dislocated right kneecap and rehabbed feverishly to be able to compete in the Masters last week but missed the cut after shooting 74-75.
“We want the best players in our field, and Brooks has arguably been the best over the past few years,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “We appreciate his support and his willingness to add our tournament to his schedule in 2021. This is shaping up to be a fantastic Travelers Championship, and having a strong field helps our commitment to generate as much money as possible for local charities.”
After no spectators were allowed to attend the tournament last year because of the pandemic, Grube said he expected “thousands” this year.
“It’s not in the hundreds. It’s in the thousands,” Grube said. “There’s going to be a good bit of access out there for the tournament, but it’s going to look different. Players are saying, ‘I can’t wait to be back playing in front of your fans.’ ”