PGA Tour Confidential: The Travelers Championship

Bubba Watson
Jessica Hill/AP
Bubba Watson sank a three-footer on the par-3 16th to end the playoff and pick up his first PGA Tour win.

Every week of the 2010 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

GRADING THE PGA SEASON
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Wow! Another fantastic PGA Tour finish. Meltdowns by Justin Rose and Ben Curtis. The Tour's longest and shortest hitters involved in a playoff. An almost-holed approach and a true-grit putt on the first playoff hole. Since we're at the halfway point of the season, what grade do you give it so far?

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I'm going to say solid B. Lots of new faces, good finishes, Phil's Masters win, a great Open (on Saturday anyway) and the ongoing/continually developing Tiger story. As for the Travelers, here's a shout out to TPC River Highlands, one of the most fun courses on Tour. Where else can you get Corey Pavin and Bubba Watson in the same playoff?

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: When I think back, what jumps out are the Garrigus meltdown, Phil at the Masters and some of the young guys winning, so maybe a B- or C+. Clark, Rose and Watson breakthroughs are nice, but it took me longer to remember them. Been a little light on buzz.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: This week's finish was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a Tour event can thrive without Woods and Mickelson on the premises. I give the season a B+.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Hartford has prided itself on bringing out spectators in droves to the TPC since way before Tiger and Phil hit the scene. The locals really love the event and have supported it through thick and thin. And to Jim's point, while the course doesn't get a lot of mentioning, clearly it provides a ton of excitement and allows a lot of different players a chance to compete and win. My in-laws, who are not golfers, live in Central Connecticut and speak with almost as much pride about the GHO (they still call it that) as they do the UCONN women's basketball team.

Herre: David's right. The Hartford stop is one of the best-supported events on the PGA Tour, not that that seems to matter these days. I'd say Hartford is the PGA Tour's version of the now defunct Corning Classic on the LPGA tour — beloved by the area fans and many players, expendable to the powers that be.

Walker: I'm going to say A- for 2010 so far. Mickelson's Masters win was one for the ages, and the U.S. Open was fascinating. (While it's never good for a course to overshadow a tournament, at least the course was Pebble Beach.) Plus, week-in, week-out, the last hour on Sunday has often been pretty compelling stuff.

Dusek: I'll also go with B-. Phil's Masters was one I'll remember for a long time, but the U.S. Open will be remembered more for guys' losing than for McDowell's winning (which is a shame). The biggest storyline for me, though, is the emergence of all the young talent. The aforementioned Rose, Bubba Watson this week, along with Jason Day at Colonial and Rory McIlroy at Quail Hallow.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Phil's Masters win is about the only thing anyone will remember from the actual golf of 2010. So far, anyway. Maybe it will also be the year the young guys started to assert themselves, with McIlroy and Day and the rest of them.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: A for the season. So many young guys have stepped up, the Masters was epic, the Open memorable, and Tiger is the gift that keeps on giving.

WILL WATSON AND VERPLANK MAKE THE RYDER CUP CUT?
Walker: Both winner Bubba Watson and runner up Scott Verplank got a great audition with Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin today. Are they good candidates for this year's team?

Lipsey: Watson's putter is too shaky under fire, so one W doesn't earn my Ryder Cup vote. Verplank needs a good W.

Dusek: Agree about Bubba's inconsistency. To genuinely consider him for the Ryder Cup, he'd need to make this win the start of a hot streak. Maybe another win or a few Top 5s at least. Verplank's putter and experience could be useful, but again, I'd want to see the Hartford result as the beginning of a good summer run.

Shipnuck: Verplank was a warrior at the K Club. Bubba is too unpredictable, but he'd be a blast in fourballs.

Morfit: I agree that if Verplank is in the top 15 or so in points you've got to pick him. Guy's got a pretty good record as a battler.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Corey got a good look at Bubba this week. He could be a great weapon for the American team. He is comfortable in that Lee Trevino kind of way with almost anybody he would be teamed with. He gets nervous, which is a good thing, and he's emotional, which is always good at the Ryder Cup.

Gorant: Plus, he's good buddies with TW, assuming Pavin picks him.

Evans: One more thing on Bubba. Seeing the emotion he showed after the win was one of the best moments of the season for me. He's a breath of fresh air on a tour where too many guys forget how fortunate they are to be playing golf for a living. His dad, who is battling cancer, is a blue collar man who gave his son every opportunity in tiny Bagdad (Fla.) to make it to the show.

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