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Scheffler and McIlroy highlight the strength of the Travelers


CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — It’s been a grueling two weeks for the PGA Tour’s top players as they faced the usual rigors of a US Open and the unusual stress of losing big names to upstart LIV Golf Series.

But six of the 15 highest-ranked players in the world, including No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and No. 2 Rory McIlroy still managed to make the short trip from Brookline, Massachusetts, to Connecticut to play in the Travelers Championship.

McIlroy, who won the Canadian Open two weeks ago and then tied for fifth at the US Open, is playing for the fourth straight week. He hopes to maintain the momentum that has seen him reach his highest ranking since July 2020, but said he is feeling physical and mental fatigue.

“Four weeks in a row is pretty rare for me these days,” said the four-time major winner. “I haven’t played four in a row in a while and you’re starting to remember why.”

Scheffler is playing for the third straight week and fourth in the last five. The Masters champion has nine top-10 finishes in 19 starts, including major finalists at Brookline and in May at Colonial.

He acknowledged that it would have been easy to take a break.

“I like to be a man of my word, so this would be another event where playing the week after a major isn’t necessarily easy, especially when you’re in contention,” he said. “But for me, I got myself, I got involved in this event, and I want to be here.”

McIlroy said it’s important for many PGA Tour pros to attend events like the Travellers, if only to support the fan community that these tournaments have built.

“You look somewhere like Dublin, Ohio,” he said. “I mean, (Jack Nicklaus) basically built a town around a golf tournament. So when you think about PGA Tour events and what they can do for communities, that’s a good example, Memorial is a good example, and obviously a number of others.

The potential for a showdown between the best players in the game is also significant for the tournament, which has seen some big names drop out.

These include Justin Thomas, who retired on Wednesday to rest an ailing back, and Brooks Koepka, who earlier this week became the latest player to defect to LIV Golf. He plans to play next week in Portland, Oregon, the first LIV event in the United States.

But the lure of the PGA Tour still means something to golfers like 11-year-old veteran Harris English, who won last year’s tournament in Connecticut beating Kramer Hickok in an eight-hole playoff and will defend that title this week.

“I still have to pinch myself every day while playing on the PGA against the best players in the world,” he said. So I like it here and like I said, winning this tournament last year, looking at the names on this trophy, that means more to me than anything. Having my name on a trophy with Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, you can make a list of everyone who won that tournament. You can’t take that away from me now, my name is going to be on that trophy for years and years and that’s something I’ll never forget.

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