by Jeff Skinner
1. Yea, Rory Sabbatini had an ace on Sunday but earlier in the week the Sabbatini family had another big day. “Earlier in the week at Operation Shower, Sabbatini’s wife Amy surprised four military moms-to-be expecting twins whose spouses are deployed members of the U.S. Navy, Naval Submarine School and Connecticut Army National Guard by announcing that she would cover airfare for the moms-to-be to fly their moms in for the birth of the babies.” Rory may have a rep as a hard ass on the course but he does so much for the troops it is amazing.
3. Charley Hoffman once again showed what being a ‘standup guy’ means. After he threw away his lead at the Travelers Championship he stood in there and answered every question the press had for him. That’s not an easy task in his frame of mind.
4. Hats off to U.S. Open Champion Webb Simpson and not for his T29 at the Travelers but for just showing up in Connecticut. With a major win on Sunday and a cross country commitment many players would have backed out of this tournament. But that’s not Simpson. He honors his word and pays back the Travelers for giving him a sponsor’s exemption very early in his career.
5. The weeks before and after a major championship are normally tough weeks to get good fields but the Travelers has come a long way. They have a very good business model and it is paying off. Many good young players are given exemptions into the Travelers and the tournament keeps these players as regulars. They also have a million activities going on to keep fans and their kids entertained. The fields are very good and the attendance gets larger every year. They do it right in Connecticut.
6. Stacy Lewis continues her great year as the leading American on the LPGA Tour. In her last five starts she won in Mobile, took fifth at Sybase, won the Shop Rite, tied for second at the Wegmans LPGA Championship and was T5 this week and one shot from the playoff. She’s the top dog for the red, white and blue.
7. The TPC River Highlands Course at Travelers will never be mistaken for a U.S. Open setup and thank god for that. Two consecutive weeks of “defensive golf” might be too much. But the 6844 yard par 70 doesn’t lack character. The last four holes offer players equal chances at fame or disaster. Fifteen is a drivable par four that has danger right and water left. Sixteen is a par three over water to a potato chip green. Seventeen forces sweating palms with the lake seemingly starting at the tee and continuing to the flagstick. And the eighteenth just needs a straight drive and a wedge but sees few birdies. And there are plenty of good viewing areas for the thousands of fans. It really makes the finish at the Travelers fun.
8. Bubba Watson played well after two straight missed cuts and finished T2 but he also said he is done until the British Open. He still has that Masters hangover.
10. Success sometimes comes in small doses and that was the case for Michelle Wie this weekend. At least she was around to play this weekend and managed to tie for 68th. Wie has seen her golf game desert her and missed the cut in five of her last six starts coming into this past week. She is still taking too many putts and making way too many bogeys and ‘others’ but maybe this week could be the start of something for her.
Bonus. Mark Leishman’s win was nice, Lang’s was overdue, it’s good to see Calc win another and Danny Willett’s playoff win in Germany seemed like a marathon but the win of the week certainly was Melissa Reid’s. Playing with a heavy heart a month after losing her mother, Reid’s was a victory of the human spirit.