2009 Travelers Championship Impressions - Part I

The 2009 Travelers Championship is in the books and the PGA Tour has packed up and headed south. Today I'll be sharing my impressions in a couple of quick posts.

As a CT native and resident, The Travelers is special to me. It's our state's biggest sporting event and I feel a connection to it that goes back to my childhood when, even as a non-golfer, one week of each summer was subliminally colored by the CT PGA tournament.

This year at TPC River Highlands, the dominant colors were a leaden gray... prominently featured in the cloud-covered sky... and the jungle green of lush vegetation. It's been an extremely rainy June here, and play was interrupted a couple of times when thunder rolled in and the skies opened up.

But most of each day was spared. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday actually saw substantial sunshine and the mood seemed to remain upbeat regardless of the wet conditions. I'd even venture to say that the damp conditions and resulting softer course made the golf more entertaining for the spectators, as a barrage of birdies provoked continual cheers.
The galleries were clearly content when the ultra-affable Kenny Perry came out on top. His final round 22-under not only set a tournament record, but was one of the best scores in PGA Tour history... and his four-day total of 258 was the fourth-best score in tour history. I never understood Mr. Perry's appeal before, but I do now. His warmth really resonates in person. I'm a newly minted fan.

There was the inevitable scuttlebutt in the media center about the course being too easy. However, many of the players were quick to point out that this is simply a different kind of where shot-making skills are tested and consistency is crucial.

In the post-tournament press conference runner-up David Toms, who finished at 19-under in a tie with Paul Goydos, put it this way, “If you look at years past when it got firm and fast with a breeze, the scores weren’t as low as they were this week. I love to play here, and I think that’s why they get a good field. Everybody likes to play here. Bombers like to play it, the short-hitters like to play it. I think it’s a golf course that anyone can do well on.”

I'm quite certain most who were watching in Cromwell agreed. Look for additional observations on the Travelers Championship, along with my tournament photo gallery, later today.