Travelers Championship tees off June 23-26

The 2022 Travelers Championship field will feature winners of the first two majors this year, the No. 1 player in the world, four of the top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking and eight previous winners, June 23–26 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. (CT)

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Travelers Championship added yet another marquee name to this year’s field.

Jordan Spieth, author of the most historic shot in golf history that produced a 2017 tournament title, was among the final players to commit to Connecticut’s biggest sporting event on the entry deadline June 17. Spieth sank a 61-foot bunker shot for birdie to defeat Daniel Berger on the first playoff hole and become the only player in PGA Tour history to win an event on such a shot in overtime. He committed to tournament director Nathan Grube via agent Jay Danzi after he shot an even-par 70 in the second round of the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Spieth, the 2015 U.S. Open champion ranked 10th in the world rankings, was tied for 40th after 36 holes at 141, seven strokes behind co-leaders Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen.

“He said, ‘Hey, we’re coming,’ ” Danzi told Grube, according to the New Haven Register. Grube had been talking with Spieth’s group for the past six weeks about returning to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

Other late entries included fan favorite Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Jason Day, Danny Willett, Aaron Wise, Brent Snedeker, Luke Donald, Lucas Glover, Charles Howell III and past champions Chez Reavie (2019), Russell Knox (2016), Kevin Streelman (2014), Stewart Cink (1997 and 2008) and Fairfield native J.J. Henry (2006), the only Connecticut player to win the event.

Jordan Spieth celebrates with caddie Michael Greller after blasting out for birdie from a bunker on the 18th green to win the 2017 Travelers Championship.

Other former tournament winners in the field are defending champion Harris English and Marc Leishman (2012). English won a record eight-hole playoff last year against Kramer Hickok, who is also in the 156-man field.

Spieth’s late entry gave the tournament, which is Thursday through next Sunday, the winners of the first two major championships, No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (Masters, one of tour victories this season) and No. 5 Justin Thomas (PGA Championship), four of the top five players in the world rankings, six of the Top 10 and 11 of the Top 20. Others in the group include No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who won the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday and was second in the Masters; No. 4 Patrick Cantlay, the 2021 FedExCup and PGA Tour Player of the Year; No. 8 Viktor Hovland; No. 9 Sam Burns, a three-time winner this season; No. 12 Xander Schauffele, the 2019 Olympic gold medalist; No. 14 Will Zalatoris, a playoff loser to Thomas in the PGA Championship; No. 15 Tony Finau; No. 17 Joaquin Niemann and No. 19 Brooks Koepka.

“When I look at it, our PGA Tour event is as strong as it’s ever been, and it’s one of the strongest fields ever,” Grube said.

Ben James of Milford, the No. 1-ranked junior player in the country, received one of four sponsors’ exemptions a day after losing in an eight-way playoff for a spot in the U.S. Open. The 19-year-old who played on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup and Junior Presidents Cup teams recently graduated from the Hamden Hall Country Day School and will attend the University of Virginia in the fall. Others who received sponsors exemptions were Chris Gotterup, Cole Hammer and Michael Thorbjornsen.

The final four spots in the field will be filled in the open qualifier Monday at Ellington Ridge Country Club. The tournament will be televised by Golf Channel 3–6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1–3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and CBS 3–6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Worked as sports writer for The Hartford Courant for 38 years before retiring in 2008. His major beats at the paper were golf, the Hartford Whalers, University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball, Yale football, United States and World Figure Skating Championships and ski columnist. He has covered every PGA Tour stop in Connecticut since 1971, along with 30 Masters, 25 U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships, 12 Deutsche Bank Championships, 15 Westchester (N.Y.) Classics and four Ryder Cups. He has won several Golf Writers Association of America writing awards, including a first place for a feature on John Daly, and was elected to the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. He also worked for the Connecticut Whale hockey team for two years when they were renamed by former Hartford Whalers managing general partner Howard Baldwin, who had become the marketing director of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the top affiliate of the New York Rangers.

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