HARTFORD, Conn. – The Travelers Championship in June had its best field since the insurance giant became title sponsor in 2007.
With the likes of defending champion Jordan Spieth, two-time winner Bubba Watson, Masters champion Patrick Reid, U.S. Open titlist Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Jason DeChambeau, Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Retief Goosen and United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk walking the fairways of TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, the tournament drew more than 200,000 fans and raised $2 million, a record since Travelers became title sponsor. The total take was reached thanks to Watson donating $200,000 from his $1,260,000 first prize.
More than 150 local charities profited from the tournament, and charity representatives joined officials from Travelers and the tournament at The Society Room of Hartford for the annual Travelers Championship Charity Celebration in Hartford, where funds were distributed to each organization.
“This is always a special day because it signifies the hard work everyone puts into the tournament,” tournament director Nathan Grube said. “Through the support we receive from volunteers, fans, players and businesses, we’re able to help charitable groups across the region make the community a better place.”
This year’s effort brought the total amount generated for charity by the tournament to more than $16.7 million since Travelers became title sponsor. At least 750 charities have benefited over that time, and more than $40 million has been distributed to charity since the tournament began as the Insurance City Open in 1952.
“Reaching the $2 million mark is an important milestone, and it will have such a meaningful impact on so many local organizations,” Travelers executive vice president and chief administrative officer Andy Bessette said. “Bubba’s generosity mirrors our charity-first approach and follows a similar sentiment that runs through the PGA Tour and many of its players.”
Watson joined four-time winner Billy Casper as the only players to win the tournament more than twice with a 17-under-par 263 for a four-stroke victory over two-time champion Stewart Cink, Beau Hossler and J.B. Holmes. Watson is representing the United States in the Ryder Cup, which begins Friday in suburban Paris. He recorded a video message that was played during the Charity Celebration.
“Wish I could be there,” said Watson, who previously won the tournament in 2010 and 2015. “I just want to say thank you to Travelers for their hard work and their dedication to the community and all the charity dollars they’ve raised over the years. Especially this year; $2 million dollars, what an achievement.”
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was the primary beneficiary of this year’s tournament, with three campers also serving as honorary co-chairs. Watson directed his $200,000 donation to the Camp, which is naming the trading post at the Travelers Mini Golf Course on its campus in Ashford, Conn., as “Bubba Watson’s Trading Post” in recognition of the 12-time PGA Tour winner.
The tournament donates 100 percent of its net proceeds to charity, and preparation has already started for the 2019 Travelers Championship, which will be played June 17-23, when a new 34,000-square-foot clubhouse is scheduled to be finished.
In 2017, the tournament received four of the PGA Tour’s nine major awards, including “Tournament of the Year” and the new Players Choice Award. The event supports the PGA Tour’s Tradition of Giving Back by donating 100 percent of net proceeds to charities. Travelers, a leading provider of property and casualty insurance for home, auto and business, is the Official Property Casualty Insurance Provider of the PGA Tour. Travelers has been doing business in the Hartford community for more than 160 years and has been a corporate sponsor of this event each year since its inception in 1952.
For more information, visit www.TravelersChampionship.com.