This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
TPC River Highlands
The PGA Tour heads to Connecticut this week, and although the first positive COVID-19 test is in the books, there are no signs the Tour is slowing down. It must be somewhat of a relief that the Tour was able to get through a positive test without a setback. Perhaps the protocols in place are working or perhaps it's just dumb luck. Whatever the case, while parts of the country are getting worse, the PGA Tour has remained relatively unscathed to this point. With any luck, the positive tests will remain the exception to the rule and we'll actually get to play out the rest of revised schedule. This week we have the Travelers Championship, which has been held at the same course since 1991, and that gives us plenty of course history. We also have two weeks of recent form to use as well. It's almost like we are getting back to normal, with the exception of "mashed potatoes" of course. Similar to the previous two weeks, there are a lot of big names in the field this week, many of which do not have a lot of experience on this track.
Rory McIlroy (14-1)
After two relatively poor showings since the restart, the odds-makers have made an adjustment with McIlroy. He's still the favorite, but his odds continue to rise. Unlike previous weeks though, McIlroy does have a bit of a track record at this event. In two starts here, he's posted a T17 and a T12. It's not great, but it's something. With that said, considering his current form, there's still no value with McIlroy this week.
Bryson DeChambeau (14-1)
DeChambeau has been in position to win during each of the past two weekends, but he's failed to finish the job each time. The fact remains though that he's really close right now and he's bound to pick up a win if he continues to play like he's been playing the past two weeks. His track record here is fairly solid, with a pair of top-10s in four starts. The odds don't provide much upside, but there is value here.
Justin Thomas (14-1)
The last of the three co-favorites this week, Thomas has performed much like DeChambeau out of the break, but his results have come through the back door. Thomas is also close and like DeChambeau, he's bound to break through soon. The issue with Thomas this week is an inconsistent track record on this course. In six starts, Thomas has just one top-10, which came in 2016 when he finished T3. He's also missed two cuts here.
THE NEXT TIER
Brooks Koepka (20-1)
For a brief moment last week, it looked like Koepka was jumping into "major-mode" and was about to take control of the event, but in the end, there was too much ground to make up on Sunday. Though he failed to make up the needed ground last week, he starts with a clean slate this week and should be in the mix from the beginning. Koepka's track record here is a bit scattered however with four cuts made in four starts, but just one top-10.
Justin Rose (30-1)
I wrote that Rose was "very close" last week and though he didn't win the RBC Heritage, he again posted another strong finish. In other words, he's still very close. This week he returns to an event where he's had plenty of success and that might be what gets him over the hump. In eight starts at this event, Rose has six cuts made and three top-10s. At 30-1, Rose might have the most value on the board this week.
Bubba Watson (30-1)
Everything is lined up for Watson this week. His track record here is unmatched and his form looks pretty good entering this week. Anyone that follows the PGA Tour knows that Watson has a handful of events where he plays his best each year and this is one of them. In 13 starts here, Watson has 11 made cuts, six top-10s and three wins. Yes, this is definitely one of Watson's courses. As for his form, though he ended with a T52, he played very well on three of four days, with only a 3rd-round 73 standing between him and a top-10.
Paul Casey (40-1)
It's almost like the odds-makers got together and decided to give everyone a bonus this week. There is so much value on the board this week, it's unlike anything I've ever seen. We've yet to see Casey since the break, which is a concern, but his track record here is second to only Bubba Watson. Casey has yet to win here, but he's made in the cut in all five of his starts and he's finished in the top-5 in four of those starts.
Joaquin Niemann (50-1)
Niemann grabbed a lot of attention this past week at the RBC as he closed on a high note, but in the end, it wasn't quite enough. His track record at this event is limited, but he did post a T5 in his only start here. If he can carry some momentum over from last week into this week, he should again he a factor and at this price, he's worth a look.
Highly-owned Pick: Paul Casey - Casey is going to be a popular pick this week, even with his lack of recent play. His track record is too much to overlook and although many will be on this train, it's still a solid option this week. One thing to consider though is that Casey hasn't faced fields like this in the past, which holds true for everyone in the field with a strong track record here. It may not have mattered, but perhaps his, and other's accomplishments here wouldn't be as impressive if they were up against fields like we have this week.
Moderately-owned Pick: Bubba Watson - Watson and Casey will clearly be the most popular picks this week, but Watson has likely been used by many OAD owners by this point as there were great spots for him early in the season, so they are effectively interchangeable as the one and two. I can't argue with Watson this week and if I still had him to use, I'd seriously consider using him in this spot.
Lightly-owned Pick: Matthew Fitzpatrick - This pick comes a bit out of left field as he has no track record here, but his rounding into form and could make some noise this week. Fitzpatrick has posted eight rounds in the 60's since his return and although he has no track record at this event, that hasn't slowed him at all the past two weeks.
Buyer Beware: Rory McIlroy - I had Rory in this spot two weeks ago and Rahm here this past week. You probably see a trend developing – the best odds don't always equal the best results. As for McIlroy this week, he's done nothing the past two weeks that would suggest he's about to win or even contend in Connecticut. He certainly could contend – and win – as he's one of the best golfers in the world, but there's no reason to take a chance on him right now.
Last Week: Bryson DeChambeau (T8) $186,375 Season - $2,885,496
This Week: Justin Rose - If I had everyone to choose from, this might be Casey or Watson, but I've used both of those guys, which leaves Rose as my best option. Rose has been in the mix in each of the past two weeks and there's no reason to think he won't be a factor this week. I do have Koepka and J.T. available, but I'm saving those two for majors.
Last Week: Matt Kuchar (T41) - Streak - 10
This Week: Keegan Bradley - Bradley is a perfect 9-for-9 here in cuts made and he's finished in the top-30 in five of those starts. His form looks to be good enough also as he posted a T32 two weeks ago at the Charles Schwab.