Travelers Championship Review: A Great Week at The Travelers Championship. Wrap up by John Torsiello.
While he may not battle for as many titles as he once did, John Daly remains a crowd favorite wherever he plays. Rick Wilson talked with Daly on Saturday at the Travelers.
It was Woody Allen who uttered the classic, and very true, line that 80 percent of success is just showing up.
His advice was in evidence Sunday at the final round of the Travelers Championship, as tens of thousands of fans showed up around the 18th green and fairway to watch Kevin Streelman make history when he capped off a run of seven straight birdies to win the tournament by a stroke over Sergio Garcia and K.J. Choi. The 36-year-old’s magical run broke a PGA Tour record held by Mike Souchak, who birdied the final six holes of the 1956 St. Paul Open to take that title. Mark Calcavecchia holds the Tour record for most birdies in a row during a tournament, nine. But no one had birdied the final seven with the championship on the line to take home the trophy.
I was so happy for Streelman, kind of a journeyman until he won the Tampa Bay Championship last year. Adding a second title in a little over a year gives him validity as one of the main players on the PGA Tour stage, and at this point he’s among the top 30 in the FedEx Cup playoff points race. Good for him. It was a touching sight, seeing him hoist his six-month old daughter Sophie in his arms as he was greeted by his wife Courtney and fans lining the ropes as he walked off the 18th green on his way to the scorer’s tent.
It was a week full of great moments for the LitchfieldCountySports.com team. There was the main man, Tim “Gamer” Gaffney, battling through his knee problems with camera in hand tracking down the competitors. Veteran scribe Rick Wilson and I had a blast interviewing John Daly after Saturday’s third round and Rick wrote a great story on Big John, still one of the top draws on Tour despite going through all his troubles and not winning in a number of years. But, as Rick said, the fans still love Daly because, well he’s John Daly. What you see is what you get and he couldn’t have been kinder to us, giving us and the rest of the media all the time we needed as he lit up a cigarette outside the clubhouse. He laughed when I asked if him if had really said that the best thing about this garish apparel line is that when he gets up in the dark in the morning he doesn’t have to worry about putting the light on because nothing matches anyway. The guy is a classic and he will really juice up the Champions Tour in two years when he joins the older guys.
We also really enjoyed spending time with Retief Goosen, whom I have long considered perhaps the classiest touring pro out there. The guy never loses his cool and is the epitome of a golf professional, in both his dress, manner and sweet swing. The two-time U.S. Open champ and winner of 40 (yes, 40) events around the world has fallen on hard times in recent years as he battled injuries and the fact that he’s now 45 and can’t drive the ball as far as he once did. He still makes cuts but admitted his game was “crap.” He’s another player who will make another fortune when he joins the Champions Tour, where you don’t have to hit the ball 340 yards off the tee. His putting remains stellar.
The crowds were great over the weekend, rollicking at times but reserved and polite when they were asked to be. Of course, there were a few individuals who quaffed one to many pints and baked in the sun for an hour too long. But all in all, the crowd greeted the treated the players with respect.
Officials did a great job, right from Tournament Director Nathan Grube all the way down to the marshals and people in the media tent, who were more than kind in their treatment of us. The field was one of the strongest the event has seen in the last decade, and the fact that the Travelers has signed on for another 10 years as title sponsor means the tourney is safe and secure. And that is good for the state’s sports fans.
Oh yeah, the weather. It was probably the best it’s ever been for the event, a little rain Thursday morning but otherwise, ideal for early summer in New England.
We hope you all enjoyed our coverage of the event. I know I had a blast working it, as I have done in some capacity or some 40 years. It’s a long way from Wethersfield Country Club, baby. But it’s more fun than ever.