HARTFORD, Conn – The Travelers Championship got another early major boost this week when Justin Thomas became the second marquee player to commit to the $7.2 million tournament at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
Thomas, the 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year and No. 4 in Official World Golf Ranking, was ranked No. 1 for four weeks last year and will be playing in the tournament for the fifth consecutive year. He made his Travelers Championship debut as a 20-year-old amateur in 2013, when he tied for 30th while playing on a sponsors’ exemption, and shared third in 2016. He tied for 52nd last year at 2-under-par 278, 15 strokes behind Bubba Watson, who captured his third tournament title, second all-time to the four of World Golf Hall of Fame member Billy Casper. Watson donated $200,000 of his $1,260,000 winnings to give the tournament a record $2 million for charity in a single year.
“In just a few years, Justin has gone from college All-American to tournament- and award-winning PGA Tour star,” Travelers Championship tournament director Nathan Grube said. “We appreciate that Justin enjoys coming to TPC River Highlands and look forward to welcoming him and so many of the best players in the world in June (20-23).”
Thomas has nine career PGA Tour wins, including five in the 2016-17 season, when he also captured the season-long FedExCup points race. His victory in the 2017 PGA Championship was his first major title, and he followed that with his first FedExCup playoff victory in the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. Thomas won three more times in the 2017-18 season and already has two top-10 finishes this season, including a third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Thomas was a member of the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team and played in the Presidents Cup in 2017.
“While Justin is a world-class golfer, he’s an even better person with whom we’ve built a strong relationship over the years,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “He’s one of the most exciting young golfers on the PGA Tour, and our field is already shaping up to be one of the best we’ve had.”
Thomas’ commitment comes a week after that of 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year Brooks Koepka, who a year ago became the first player since 1983 Greater Hartford Open champion Curtis Strange to repeat as U.S. Open winner (1988-89) and then won the PGA Championship in August. Koepka has five PGA Tour wins after starting his professional career overseas on the Challenge Tour (four victories) and European Tour (one). He tied for 19th in the 2018 Travelers Championship at 271, eight strokes behind Watson, and is currently ranked No. 2 behind Justin Rose, who won the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.
Watson beat the best field since Travelers became title sponsor in 2007 that included Koepka, Thomas, defending champion Jordan Spieth, Masters champion Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, former Travelers titlists Stewart Cink, Marc Leishman, Kevin Streelman and Fairfield native J.J. Henry, the only Connecticut player to win the event; and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, who shot a PGA Tour-record, 12-under-par 58 in the final round in 2016.
A few days after the tournament ended, construction began on a new $17-plus million state-of-the-art clubhouse that will be 40,000 square feet, four times the size of the original clubhouse. The latest major improvement follows a new practice facility and major course enhancements in the past decade that also were financed by Travelers and the PGA Tour.