HARTFORD, Conn. – If you thought the best Travelers Championship field since the insurance giant became title sponsor in 2007 couldn’t really get much better, you would have thought wrong.
Jordan Spieth, author of the most memorable shot in tournament history two years ago, committed to play next week at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
Spieth notched his 10th PGA Tour victory in 2017 in historic fashion when he holed a 61-foot bunker shot on the first playoff hole to beat Daniel Berger. It’s the only time in PGA Tour history that a player holed a bunker shot in a playoff to win, and his celebration with caddie Michael Geller is arguably the best ever. When Spieth’s shot disappeared into the cup, he tossed his putter into the air, sprinted out of the bunker and leaped into a hip-check with Geller, who had tossed a rake skyward. After Spieth finished his interview obligations, he and Geller returned to the historic spot in the bunker to have a picture taken before walking up the hill adjacent the 18th green as Geller held the flagstick.
“Nobody will ever forget what Jordan accomplished two years ago at TPC River Highlands,” tournament director Nathan Grube said. “The way he won – his reaction and the reaction from the crowd around the 18th hole – shows the type of excitement he can bring to the event. We’re thrilled that he’ll be playing this year.”
A month after his Travelers Championship victory, Spieth rallied to beat Matt Kuchar in the British Open for his third major championship title to go with the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015. He was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2013 and then was Player of the Year in 2015, when he won five tournaments and the FedExCup title. He also spent 26 weeks as the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking.
After struggling somewhat for 18 months, especially with his usually reliable putter, Spieth has resurrected the good times this year. In his last three starts since early May, he tied for third in the PGA Championship, tied for eighth in Charles Schwab Challenge and tied for seventh in the Memorial Tournament. That streak has moved him to 28th in the world rankings, 52nd on the money list with $1,513,913 and 66th in the FedExCup standings with 498 points.
Spieth, 25, who turned pro in 2012, will be making his third consecutive Travelers Championship appearance a week after competing in the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. He’ll play the first two rounds of the year’s third major championship with No. 4 Justin Rose and No. 5 Tiger Woods, who won the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 strokes. Woods is one victory shy of tying Sam Snead’s career record of 82 and three shy of Jack Nicklaus’ major championships record of 18.
“Jordan authored one of the iconic moments in Travelers Championship and PGA Tour history,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “He’s a great friend of the tournament, he’s done great things at our event and the fans will be excited to hear that he’s coming back. His presence is a fantastic addition to what promises to be an amazing tournament week.”
Spieth joins a field that already included highly-ranked players such as Brooks Koepka (No. 1), who won a second consecutive PGA Championship title in May and shoots for a third straight U.S. Open title this week, British Open titlist Francesco Molinari (No. 6), Justin Thomas (No. 7), Patrick Cantlay (No. 8), Bryson DeChambeau (No. 9), Tony Finau (No. 14), Paul Casey (No. 15), Jason Day (No. 16), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 18), defending champion Bubba Watson (No. 20), 2012 Travelers Championship winner Marc Leishman (No. 21), Louis Oosthuizen (No. 22), Patrick Reed (No. 23), Phil Mickelson (No. 24), Kevin Kisner (No. 27) and Vermont native Keegan Bradley (No. 37). Mickelson is the only repeat winner (2001-2002) since the tournament began as the Insurance City Open in 1952, and Watson will be trying to match that feat and tie Billy Casper for most tournament wins (four).
The event begins with opening ceremonies and pro-am on Monday, and the $7.2 million tournament is June 20-23.