Travelers Championship kicks off with opening ceremony - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Travelers Championship kicks off with opening ceremony

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The opening ceremony for the Travelers Championship got underway on Monday morning. (WFSB) The opening ceremony for the Travelers Championship got underway on Monday morning. (WFSB)

The opening ceremony of the Travelers Championship took place on Monday morning.

While the tournament itself doesn't get underway until later in the week, events are scheduled all week long.

The ceremony happened at 9 a.m. from the First Tee Box at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

“This is definitely a celebration and a ceremony, there is a formal aspect to it to really kick off what we are doing," said Nathan Grube, tournament director. "I am sure we understand the impact of this event means.” 

Gov. Dannel Malloy also took part.

“When you have been governor as long as I have and you know that you’re not going to be governor much longer, you start to count these events as you are doing them the last time," Malloy said. "And I absolutely wanted to be here once again with the tournament, with the Travelers."

Following the pop and circumstance, the Aetna Tournament Players Pro-Am gets underway at 12:30 p.m.

It's an exclusive opportunity to take on the course alongside PGA Tour professionals.

Grube said fans may notices some new things along the course.

"We have three new venues this year that are climate-controlled, have shade [and] are free to the fans," he said. "Anybody that's walking around can go into them. That's that first time we've done anything like that. We have free WIFI in the Fan Zone. We have charging tables, we have more shuttles in the parking lot [and] we revamped our concession program."

Andy Bessette, executive vice president and chief administrator officer of Travelers said it's important to improve every year.

"I read a long time ago that if you don't get better, you get worse," Bessette said. "So I've always said from day one that the status quo is unacceptable."

The tournament is really about charity. It generates about $1.7 million for various charities.

The one that benefits the most is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. It's a camp that serves children who are coping with cancer and other illnesses.

Three campers served as co-chairs this year.

"I'm really happy to be here because it's a major championship, and I'm happy because Travelers does a lot for Hole in the Wall," said Tyler Backus, a camper.

"It's important for me to be here today to support Hole in the Wall and help them get what they need so they can help other kids struggling as well," said Carly Demartino, a camper.

Official tournament play gets underway on Thursday. Organizers announced the player field this past Friday. See the list here.

The celebrity pro-am is Wednesday.

Complete coverage of the Travelers Championship can be found in Channel 3's special section here.

For more on the Travelers Championship itself, check out its website here.

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