“We’re proud to be a hometown company, supporting a hometown event that impacts the hometown community,” Travelers Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Bessette said. “Raising money for charity is the most important part of the event.”
Bessette thanked his staff, along with the 165 charity organizations in attendance. In addition to the proceeds, tournament director Nathan Grube said there was a $68.2 million economic impact on the state, and encouraged charities to take advantage of “free money” by partnering with Travelers going forward.
“This is truly, for a lot of reasons, a great day in Connecticut,” regional managing partner Ed Kindelan of CohnReznick, a tournament sponsor, said. “We had an unbelievable field, an unbelievable crowd and an unbelievable tournament finish.”
A highlight recap was shown of the finish to the 2017 tournament, which saw Jordan Spieth sink a difficult shot from a sand bunker to win the tournament at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
“Aside from the majors, this is the best stop on the PGA Tour,” Bessette said. “That video gives me chills every time I watch it. We’re still looking at ways to improve for next year, but how do you duplicate that?”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called Travelers “inspirational in their own right,” and credited the tournament for promoting community welfare. Similar to Bessette, he thanked the charities for their philanthropic efforts.
“A recent poll conducted by Sacred Heart University showed that, overwhelmingly, people like the community of Connecticut,” Malloy said. “That’s evidenced by the meaningful work of the 165 organizations here today.”
Guest speaker Sherry Bruening spoke in support of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the primary beneficiary of the 2017 event’s fundraising. The camp, which is free of charge, offers a week of outdoor activities to children with serious illness.
Bruening’s 13-year-old son, who has eosinophilic esophagitis, an esophageal disease, attended this past summer. Her 10-year-old daughter followed suit.
“He said the camp was perfect, and the real world isn’t perfect,” Bruening said. “Hole in the Wall Gang gave my children memories they will forever hold in their hearts.”
A second video highlighting other charities, including the Hospital for Special Care, Gil Foundation and Legacy Foundation.
The 2018 Travelers Championship will be held from June 18-24. Thursday’s event opened with the announcement of Stanley Black & Decker as a presenting sponsor.