HARTFORD, Conn. – The Travelers Championship field continues to get stronger and stronger.
The latest players to commit to the $7.4 million tournament June 24-27 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell are 2013 U.S. Open and 2016 Summer Olympic champion Justin Rose and 2012 Travelers titlist Marc Leishman. Three weeks ago at the Masters, Leishman tied for fifth and Rose shared seventh at Augusta National.
“Adding stars like Marc, who is a past champion and multiple winner on the PGA Tour, and Justin, who has an outstanding track record of his own including a major championship to his name, further strengthens our growing field of great players,” tournament director Nathan Grube said in a statement. “Our event is shaping up to deliver an exciting week of competition, and we’re thrilled about how it is coming together.”
Rose, 40, who will be making 10th Travelers appearance, has 10 PGA Tour victories, highlighted by the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. The Englishman also has eight European Tour wins, as well as victories in South Africa, Japan, Australia and Indonesia. Rose turned pro at age 17, one day after he holed a shot from the rough on the final hole to tie for fourth as an amateur at the 1998 Open Championship. He missed his first 21 cuts as a pro but has since become a member of the European Ryder Cup team five times, spent 13 weeks at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, finished second in the Masters in 2015 and 2017 and won the 2018 FedExCup playoffs and its $10 million first prize.
Leishman, 37, earned his first PGA Tour victory at TPC River Highlands, shooting a final-round 8-under-par 62 to erase a six-stroke deficit and beat Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson by one. The Aussie, who will be making his 11th start in Cromwell, has added four more individual PGA Tour wins and played in each of the past four Presidents Cups on the International team.
On Sunday, Leishman and fellow Aussie Cameron Smith won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana, beating South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel with a par on the first playoff hole in an alternate-shot format. The Aussies shot a closing 2-under 70 for a 72-hole total of 20-under 268 to catch the third-round leaders and then prevailed after Oosthuizen hit his drive into the water on the par-5 18th. After the Aussies lost a two-stroke lead in three holes, Leishman kept his side alive when he sank a 35-foot chip shot for birdie 3 at the short 16th hole after Smith hooked his drive into the water. Each team bogeyed the difficult par-3 17th hole and parred No. 18 to set up the playoff.
“Marc and Justin aren’t just great players, they are great people, and I’m looking forward to seeing them in June,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “Marc’s come-from-behind victory in 2012 is a great memory. There’s no doubt there will be plenty more memorable moments this summer, including raising significant money for charity.”
Rose and Leishman join other 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, No. 11 Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson, who will try to tie Hall of Famer Billy Casper for most tournament wins (four).
After spectators were not allowed at the tournament last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grube said he expects “thousands” to be able to attend in June, though final numbers are still being determined.
“I know our fans are eager for more information on how to get tickets,” Grube said, “and we plan to have an update available on that in the weeks ahead as we continue to work with the PGA Tour and local health officials about the on-site experience.”
Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont announced he will lift most outdoor-related COVID-19 restrictions by May 1. The remaining restrictions on indoor businesses will be lifted on May. 19.