CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) – There is no shortage of the world’s leading golf players for celebrity Pro-Am Day in Cromwell on Wednesday, at the start of the Travelers Championship.
Despite a few raindrops, the day has carried on, and golfers are gathering for their favorite tournament from all areas of the globe.
Nearly every golfer is out on the practice range at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, preparing for the tournament ahead of them this upcoming weekend.
A few notable names are returning to the game this year, such as Justin Thomas, who is ranked 5th. Thomas returns alongside 2017 champion Jordan Spieth, who is currently ranked 11th in the world.
In preparation for the big day, mastering the short game is a priority for everyone, according to the players.
“I’d say just getting the greens down, they’re pretty fast, they’re faster than I thought and they’re pretty firm as well,” noted Ben James, a Milford native and graduate of the University of Virginia. “[I’m] just trying to figure out where the pins might be and playing breaks. Tee shots are a little tighter than I expected.”
James will tee off on Thursday at 2 p.m. off the first tee.
For defending Travelers Champion Harris English, the road back to Cromwell has been a rocky one.
English is recovering from a surgery he had on his hip in February. During that downtime, English said he had a lot to reflect on regarding last year’s big win.
“Well, this is all some tournament to win. And I don’t know, being back home over the last few months and seeing some of those names on that trophy, it just makes you realize how big the tournament is, how long it’s been around,” he said. “And a lot of legends in this game have won the tournament. So, it’s awesome to be a part of that.”
English is set to tee off at 12:40 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, and the pro-am starts Thursday morning at 7 a.m.
Watch the video above for News 8’s full interview with Jimmy Canton, CEO of Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.
Watch the video above for News 8’s full interview with Nathan Grube, director of the Travelers Championship.
Though some of the greatest golfers gather at TPC River Highlands every year, the tournament is about more than just the sport. Every time golf fans buy a ticket, they are also contributing to local charities.
“We get to see a direct correlation between how well we run the tournament, how much money we raise, how well we do selling tickets, selling corporate chalets, things like that, because if we do well with that, there’s more money going to charities,” explained tournament director Nathan Grube.
One charity that gets a lot of help from the tournament is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. It was founded by Paul Newman to let sick children have a summer camp experience, but the camp suffered a major fire in February 2021.
“But, our grief quickly turned to gratitude with the outpouring of support from the Travelers Championship,” said Hole in the Wall Gang Camp CEO Jimmy Canton.
Their programming changed, but never stopped, while they rebuilt what burned.
“We’ve added some more space, we’ve added a parent [and] caregiver space,” Canton said. “We’ve added a quiet room for campers who need a little more peace and more calm.”
The new and improved camp will open in just a few months thanks to the incredible support it received.