Bet the PGA's Travelers Championship: Kern picks Paul Casey, Matthew Wolff, Rickie Fowler, and a BIG longshot
You know I almost never tell you that a fave is a good bet, but last week I broke with tradition and said Jon Rahm might be the way to go. Because it would be a great story. Not that the best story always win, because it doesn’t. But this time it did, and he paid off at 10-1 if you had him.
I also gave out Xander Schauffele, even though I had him in my yearlong pool and that almost never works out. But he got a seventh, which means if you played him to also finish in the top 10 you at least got a little something back. Of course you might have just had him to get a top five. That happens too. But Scottie Scheffler, who went off at 33-1 among the second-tier guys, got us back 6-1 for a top 10 by also finishing seventh. So overall not a bad week.
Let’s try to keep it going at the Travelers Championship from Connecticut, which has a pretty strong field for the week after a major.
Bryson DeChambeau, who of course imploded on the final nine holes at Torrey Pines, is 11-1. So who knows how he’ll respond. But this is a course that favors straight hitters, which might not mean him.
Dustin Johnson, the defending champ, is 12-1. But he’s only finished in the top 10 twice since he won the Masters in November. Patrick Cantlay is 14-1. Paul Casey is 16-1. He has four top fives here, including two runner-ups, with no wins. Brooks Koepka, who seems to play better in majors than regular tour events, is 16-1 coming off a good showing. Brian Harman is 18-1. He tied for eighth here in 2019 and was sixth in ’18.
Patrick Reed is 20-1. Scheffler is 22-1. Abraham Ancer is 25-1. He’s missed two straight cuts but was playing really well before that. He tied for 11th here last year and was eighth the year before that. Tony Finau is 25-1 as well. Kevin Streelman is 28-1. He won here in 2014 and was second last year. He hasn’t finished worse than 26th in his last four starts, and was 15th last week. Joaquin Niemann, Si Woo Kim and Matthew Wolff are 33-1. Wolff played well last week and would be another good story since he just came out about the issues he’d been dealing with for some time earlier this year.
Harris English is 35-1. Keegan Bradley, Charley Hoffman and Bubba Watson are 40-1. Watson has won here three times, and had a solid U.S. Open. Russell Henley is one of the ones at 50-1, coming off a contending week. Rickie Fowler is 55-1. He didn’t qualify for the Open but was eighth at the PGA and 11th at the Memorial.
Phil Mickelson is 66-1. He won here in 2001 and ’02. So is Brendon Todd, who hits 75 percent of his fairways, There are others, but that’s as deep as I’m going to go.
Among the favorites, I would go with Paul Casey at 16-1. It’s hard to overlook his track record at this place. And he’s also +350 for a top five, which is worth an insurance bet.
As for the next tier, I would try Matthew Wolff at 33-1. Call it a hunch as much as anything, so please don’t get too carried away. He’s also 7-1 for a top five.
And if you’re looking for something a little longer, how about that Rickie Fowler, at 55-1? He too would be a story worth celebrating. And he just announced that he and his better half are expecting, so there. Hey, it worked for Rahm, who made his first Father’s Day momentous indeed. Rickie is also 11-1 for a top five, and half that for a top 10.
And if you need a stab at triple digits, you could probably do worse than put a buck or two on Mackenzie Hughes at 100-1. And of course he’s 22-1 for a top five and 11 for a 10.
Happy hunting out there, as always.