Travelers champ Streelman gets face on M&M's

By Associated PressJune 24, 2015, 8:28 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Golfers who made the cross-country trip from the U.S. Open to Connecticut to play in this week's Travelers Championship may have been enticed by the $6.4 million purse or the nice trophy, but what many really want is their face on a piece of candy.

The tournament, which begins Thursday, has become known on tour for the little perks it offers players, including providing the champion with a supply of M&M's with his face printed onto the hard candy shell.

''The first time I saw my face on an M&M, it was a little strange, but it was very cool at the same time to give them to friends and family,'' said defending champion Kevin Streelman, who earned his M&M's along with $1.1 million last year by making birdies on seven straight holes to close out the tournament.

Mars Inc. makes personalized M&M's for events such as weddings or corporate get-togethers, and tournament director Nathan Grube says the idea to make them part of the Traveler's Championship prize package began at one such event that included candies with the Travelers logo.

''We thought, we're not going to be able to do a Wheaties box, but we can do this,'' said Grube. ''So, now we hand them out at media day, we use them for our sponsor prizes. Any little thing that we can show our champion that his win is very personal for us.''

Ken Duke became the first golfer to adorn the Travelers M&M's after winning the tournament in 2013. Grube said Duke called to ask for extra after running out of candy to give away at various charity events, hospital visits and meet-and-greets with fans and sponsors.

The tournament also offers some bigger perks to convince golfers not to take this week off, including a free charter flight from the U.S. Open for players and their families, spa days for wives and free dry cleaning for the caddies.

But Andy Bessette, Travelers Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, said it's the candy that players want to talk about when he goes out to promote the tournament.

''Guys love that and they say 'Hey you're the tournament that puts the winner on the M&M,''' Bessette said.

Here are some other items of interest as the 2015 Travelers Championship gets underway:


WISH COME TRUE: The Travelers invited 13-year-old Ethan Couch of Alberta, British Columbia and his family to join Streelman in Cromwell this week. Couch, who has an inoperable brain tumor, received the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to caddie for Streelman during his victory in April's Masters par-3 tournament. He also walked with Streelman during the Travelers celebrity pro-am on Wednesday. ''It's pretty amazing,'' said Couch's mother, Jennifer. ''It has really helped Ethan and it's helped our family and now we've got some great memories.''


PLAQUE: Streelman's record of seven consecutive birdies that clinched the 2014 championship has been commemorated with a plaque that has been placed at the 12th tee, where he started the tournament-ending run.


ELS RETURNS: South African golfer Ernie Els, a four-time major champion, is making his second appearance at the tournament and his first since 2002, when he finished in a tie for 10th place. ''I've heard from the players (Travelers) has done such a good job with the event and I thought I'd come back and give it a go,'' he said. ''Obviously the purse is one of the biggest on Tour, that kind of grabs your attention also. It's gone from a smaller event to one of the premier events on Tour.''


OPENERS: Two of the world's Top 10 golfers (No. 5 Bubba Watson and No. 9 Sergio Garcia) and seven of the top 15 finishers from the U.S. Open made the trip to Cromwell. No. 8 Jason Day withdrew from the Travelers after battling vertigo at Chambers Bay.

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”


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But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18