Here We Go! Travelers Championship Set to Begin.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
A dynamite field is lined up for this week’s Travelers Championship at the TPC River Highlands course in Cromwell.
Three of the world’s top players, the always entertaining Bubba Watson, “El Nino” Sergio Garcia, and Jason Day, who contended at last week’s U.S Open, are scheduled to play, although Day battled vertigo at the Open and is doubtful he will play this week, as he continues to receive medical care. Other glamour player commitments include four-time Major winner Ernie Els, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, New England native Keegan Bradley, Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, and Luke Donald.
Late commitment were received from Davis Love III, David Toms, Gary Woodland, 2006 champion J.J. Henry, 1997 and 2008 champion Stewart Cink, Tim Clark, Angel Cabrera, Vijay Singh, Bo Van Pelt, Lucas Glover, Morgan Hoffmann, and 2013 champion Ken Duke.
Kevin Streelman will also be on hand to defend his title. Streelman played spectacular golf his final two rounds to claim his second career PGA Tour victory at the 2014 Travelers Championship. Following a third round 64, Streelman entered the final round four strokes back of the leader.
After shooting one-over par 36 on the front nine, Streelman told his caddy that he needed to shoot 29 on the back nine to “make some noise.” At that point, Streelman was tied for 20th, five strokes back of the leader. He was chasing proven PGA Tour winners and up-and-coming talent. Streelman then went on to play flawless golf on the back nine shooting a seven-under par 28 for a final round 64. He finished his round with seven consecutive birdies to win the tournament, breaking a PGA Tour record that dates back to 1956.
Based on the results of the recently concluded U.S. Open, the player field is subject to change. Four additional spots in this year’s field will be filled by qualifying Monday at Crestview Country Club in Agawam, Ma.
“This year’s tournament is shaping up as one of the best we’ve ever had,”
said tournament director Nathan Grube. “Between the strong player field, the celebrities attending throughout the week, and the numerous events we have planned, we will provide fans with a world-class experience. The most important part of the Championship is our commitment to our charity partners throughout the region who will receive 100 percent of our proceeds.”
LitchfieldCountySports.com will be on hand all week with staff coverage bringing the fans back home all the action and behind the scenes interviews with players.
Make sure to visit www.litchfieldcountysports.com each day for the latest on the biggest golf event of the year in Connecticut.
The tourney was founded in 1952 as the Insurance City Open and in 1967 it was renamed the Greater Hartford Open, a title that was retained through 2003. From 1973 to 1988, the GHO also bore the name of the late entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., who would often play in the pro-ams and bring in some of his big-name friends, such as Bob Hope and Flip Wilson. Canon, the camera giant, was a title sponsor from 1985 to 2002, the car company Buick was title sponsor from 2004 to 2006, and The Travelers Companies, a Connecticut-based insurance provider, took over sponsorship in 2007.
The tournament was played for its first three decades at Wethersfield Country Club. In 1984, after the PGA Tour bought and redesigned Edgewood Country Club, the event moved to the new TPC of Connecticut in Cromwell. In 1991, the course was redesigned with a completely new back nine holes and renamed the TPC at River Highlands. The Cromwell facility was the third PGA Tour-owned/managed golf course in what would grow to a network of over 30 TPC clubs.
The purse for the first tournament, won by Ted Kroll, was $15,000. In 2006 tournament, under Buick's sponsorship, the purse grew to $4.4 million, with $792,000 going to the winner. From 2007 to 2010, the purse under Travelers' sponsorship was $6 million, with $1,080,000 going to the champion. It is up slightly this year to $6.4 million, with $1.152 million going to the winner.
The tournament has seen a who’s who of professional golf claim the title over the years, from Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper to Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. Its position on the calendar has varied. In 2005 it was played in late August but in 2006 it was played in late June. Part of the FedEx Cup, the Travelers Championship has been played in late June, the week after the U.S. Open, ever since. The Travelers is one of the most attended events on the PGA Tour and the tournament set a record attendance in 2002 with nearly 400,000 fans for the week.
The Insurance City Open was founded by the Greater Hartford Jaycees as a means to raise funds to support their philanthropic causes. The Jaycees are international leadership development organization for men and women ages 21 and 40. In 1971, The Greater Hartford Jaycees Foundation, Inc. was established as a grant-giving entity by the Greater Hartford Jaycees, Inc. with the help of PGA pro Bob Murphy, who donated part of his winnings as 1970 Greater Hartford Open champion. The event raises almost a million dollars a year for local charities.
Tickets for the tournament may be purchased at the gate or online at www.TravelersChampionship.com.