Jordan Spieth was a part of the most raucous moment in the history of the Travelers Championship: His holed bunker shot (and club fling, and chest bump with caddie Michael Greller) to win the 2017 event in a playoff over Daniel Berger. But for the third week in a row, no fans will be allowed at TPC River Highlands, and the players will once again be left to create their own excitement.
On the upcoming schedule, only the Memorial Tournament, slated for July 16-19, has announced that it will welcome a limited number of spectators. The PGA of America confirmed this week that it will play the first major of the year without fans on-site.
What’s the effect of the fan-free environment?
“In general, it’s easier to win on the PGA Tour without fans is what I’ve seen the first couple of weeks,” Spieth said. “It’s easier to just be zoned in on pure golf.”
Not much has changed in terms of the “X’s and O’s” of a round, Spieth said. Maybe the targets and sight lines are a tad different, without a grandstand in the distance or a fan waiting behind the green. Errant tee shots are perhaps punished a bit more without people standing along the rope line to knock down the ball.
“Clearly there’s no way of measuring this having not played a major yet,” Spieth said, “but I would imagine it would be easier to win for your first time in a major without fans just because of the atmosphere.”
In contention over the weekend in the restart event at Colonial, Spieth said it “felt like I was playing Thursday’s round. It felt no different. You know where you are by looking at the scoreboard, but without any fans and roars and that stuff that make an impact, and then the settings on the last few holes that you normally get at Tour events, it’s very much different. I would think it’s more comfortable coming down the stretch than it would normally be.”