Weekly PGA Recap: Scottie Snags a Sixth

Weekly PGA Recap: Scottie Snags a Sixth

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Recap series.

There were so many guys bunched atop the leaderboard at the Travelers Championship all week. Really, it was anybody's tournament, a complete toss-up. Seriously, like 10 guys or more had a chance to win.

[Editor's note: We don't know what he's talking about. It wasn't a complete toss-up. Scottie Scheffler was in the tournament.]

But in the end, Scottie Scheffler emerged victorious, defeating good friend Tom Kim on the first playoff hole at TPC River Highlands for his sixth title of the season.

Scheffler and Kim -- both of whom celebrated birthdays during the tournament -- finished regulation at 22-under, one shot shy of Keegan Bradley's record set last year, and were two clear of third place.

The tournament took a surreal turn as the final group -- Scheffler, Kim and Akshay Bhatia -- approached the 18th green at a very tense moment. Climate-change protestors stormed the green and set off what appeared to be red smoke bombs, disrupting play before they were forcibly removed by security. 

Following the delay, Scheffler had a long birdie putt to win it but missed. Kim then, somehow, steadied himself for a must-make 10-footer to force a playoff -- and make it he did.

But on the first playoff hole, Kim put his approach into a greenside bunker with a plugged lie, and that was that.

The Travelers was the eighth and final Signature Event of the season. This concluded the most compacted stretch of the PGA Tour season, with three Signature Events and two majors in a seven-week span. We now won't see Scheffler for a month, until the Open Championship. He said he'd also play the Olympics in August, and that will be it until the playoffs.

Most of the top guys will break for two weeks and return for the Scottish Open the week before Royal Troon, though Kim will be one of the few name players to tee it up this coming week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Then comes the John Deere before the Scottish.

TPC River Highlands has been criticized for being too easy for today's modern golfers, an anachronism at around 6,800 yards. Yes, the scores go way low, but there's also no denying the tournament is a huge success with a longstanding title sponsor, the biggest galleries outside of Phoenix and it's close almost every year leading to a tense finish.

"Yeah it was a tight leaderboard out there," Scheffler said. "Akshay was playing some really good golf there. I think standing on 13 tee, we were all tied and I kind of told myself, I felt like if I birdied three of the last six it would be a playoff at worst, and so that kind of got me to a different frame of thinking, because I really felt like I hit a lot of good shots and I hadn't really made as many birdies as I hoped to during the day and I felt like I was playing really well, so if I stayed patient and continued to do what I was doing I was able to make some birdies, which I was able to do."

There's not much to tell you about Scheffler that you don't already know, so we'll just point out some of the historical landmarks he reached with his 12th career victory. And note that ALL of this happened since March, after he switched to a mallet putter.

  • He's the first player with six wins in a PGA Tour season before July since Arnold Palmer in 1962. That means that Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods never did it. Palmer also did it in 1960, along with Sam Snead in 1950, Ben Hogan in 1946, Byron Nelson in 1945 and Jimmy DeMaret in 1940. That's pretty good company for Scheffler.
  • He's just the fourth player in the past 40 years to win six times in a single season. Woods did it a bunch – nine in 2000, eight in 1999 and 2006, seven in 2007, five in 2005 and 2009. Vijay Singh won nine in 2004 and Nick Price won six in 1994.
  • He's the only player with multiple Signature wins this season. And he won four of the eight, not to mention THE PLAYERS and the Masters.
  • And we'll throw in one more just because the Tour sent it out but it seems more like random trivia than a noted accomplishment: He's the first to win the Arnold Palmer, The PLAYERS, the Masters, the Memorial and the Travelers in the same season.

For those of you who played Scheffler in DFS, you got a real bargain. He was priced at $12,500, and the only reason he was that low was because DraftKings released its prices before Rory McIlroy withdrew. Otherwise, Scheffler could very well have been $13,500 or higher.

MONDAY BACKSPIN

Tom Kim
Kim was leading most of the week, then needed to make that gutsy 10-foot birdie putt on 18 just to get into the playoff. This was only his second top-10 all season and the other one came at the RBC Canadian Open earlier this month. In between, he just missed a top-25 at the U.S. Open, so perhaps he is turning his season around. As we mentioned, Kim will play again in Detroit this week, and that'll be his ninth straight week of action. 

Sungjae Im
Im has really turned it around himself after a slow start to 2024. His tie for third was his fourth top-10 in his past six starts, though the other two tournaments were missed cuts at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. He also missed the cut at the Masters, so you'll have to decide for yourselves whether Im is having a good season or not. He is back inside the top 30 of the OWGR at No. 28.

Tom Hoge
Hoge also tied for third thanks to a closing 62, and that got him into the Open Championship next month, along with Christiaan Bezuidenhout (T23). The qualification was being in the top-20 of the FedExCup Standings after the Travelers, and they were the only two not already exempt. This was Hoge's third top-10 of the season but first since February. Instead, he has piled up top-25s to position himself in the top-15 of the standings and looking pretty good for the TOUR Championship.

Patrick Cantlay
This tournament has always been in Cantlay's wheelhouse, ever since he shot a 60 as an amateur in 2011. Still, he's never won it, though this tie for fifth was his second top-10 there in a row. After last week's good showing at the U.S. Open, Cantlay might be reversing what had been a terrible season for him.

Tony Finau
Finau's last five starts have gone: T18-T17-T8-T3 and now T5. Whatever was amiss with his game earlier in the season clearly is not an issue now. The stretch started with the PGA Championship and the T3 was at the U.S. Open.

Justin Thomas
After another high-profile missed cut/terrible week at the U.S. Open, Thomas was back at it with a tie for fifth. He' now has five top-10s to go along with two other T12s. Like with Im, you'll have to decide for yourselves how good Thomas' season is.

Akshay Bhatia
Bhatia is really showing he can compete with the top stars on Tour. He tied for fifth – which he'll probably view as disappointing considering where he was for much of the tournament. And before that he tied for 22nd at the Memorial and for 16th at the U.S. Open. Bhatia is another guy playing this week in Detroit in what will be his eighth straight start.

Cameron Young
Young is also playing the Rocket Mortgage this week, and after his performance at the Travelers, he really has to be thinking he's primed for his first Tour win. He shot a 59 on Saturday, then opened Sunday with four straight birdies. Young cooled a bit after that and wound up tied for ninth after holding a share of the lead at times on the weekend.

Wyndham Clark
Clark tied for ninth, his first good result in two months. We never like to make decisions going forward based on one good week, but Clark is too good of a player to stay down for too long.

Patrick Rodgers
In scrolling down the leaderboard, Rodgers was the first "lesser" guy to appear (yes, that's subjective). He tied for 16th. He qualified for all the Signature Events, which was tantamount to a built-in boost for earnings and points. Rodgers is inside the top 50 of the FedExCup Standings, meaningbe in the second playoff event if it started today. He hasn't done great in the Signatures, but he did finish top-25 at Bay Hill and tied for fifth at Harbour Town. He plans to tee it up this week in Detroit.

Adam Svensson
Svensson was another lesser guy with a good week, also tying for 16th. He'll also play the Rocket Mortgage. This was just his third top-25 on the season, but because he's playing the Signatures, he'd be in the playoffs (top-70) if they started today.

Rickie Fowler
It's been a dreadful season for Fowler. He tied for 20th at the Travelers, giving him a little bit of momentum heading into his title defense at the Rocket Mortgage. This was just his second top-25 all season and he would not be in the playoffs if they started today.

Ludvig Aberg
Aberg shot a 62 on Saturday but for the third straight tournament he shot his worst round of the week on Sunday. A 71 at the Travelers is almost like a 75 or 76 elsewhere. Aberg tied for 27th.

Michael Thorbjornsen
The PGA Tour's newest member acquitted himself nicely in his pro debut. Thorbjornsen tied for 39th and we should see a lot of him the rest of the regular season, beginning this week in Detroit. 

Webb Simpson
We joke as much as anyone about Simpson getting sponsor invites to Signature Events. But there's no denying he holds his own once he's there. He tied for 48th after being in the top-25 early on Sunday. Nothing great, though almost two dozen guys finished worse than him, including these next two.

Max Homa
This season is really turning into a stunning disappointment for Homa. He needed a 66 on Sunday just to move up to T61. He has only three top-10s on the season and the only tournament he's even come close to contending in was the Masters, where he tied for third.

Jordan Spieth
As bad as Homa's season has been, Spieth's has been far worse. He tied for 63rd in this 71-man, no-cut field. He has only three top-25s all season, though they also doubled as top-10s. The last one was in early April and the other two were in January and February. Spieth is now outside the top-30 in the world rankings.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for nine years. Len is a three-time winner of the FSWA DFS Writer of the Year Award (2020, '22 and '23) and a five-time nominee (2019-23). He is also a writer and editor for MLB Advanced Media.
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