In two weeks, one of the best fields in the history of the PGA Tour’s annual stop in Connecticut will tee it up in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth and close friend Justin Thomas, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, are the headliners who will shoot for $7 million, the richest purse since the tournament began as the Insurance City Open in 1952.
The tournament is June 21-24, and the day before play begins for real, the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am will havw another star-studded field with a definite University of Connecticut flavor.
Celebrities scheduled to compete include:
Ray Allen: and remains a 10-time NBA All-Star after being named an All-American at UConn who won NBA titles with the Boston Celtics (2008) and Miami Heat (2013)the NBA leader in career 3-pointers made.
Chris Berman: ESPN broadcaster who has been named National Sportscaster of the Year six times while winning 10 Emmy Awards.
Nick Bonino: center for the Nashville Predators who attended Boston University before entering the NHL in 2007. The Hartford native previously played for the Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins, winning two Stanley Cup titles.
Jim Calhoun went 873-380 as a college basketball coach and won three NCAA titles at UConn. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and is now helping start a new men’s basketball program at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford.
Mike Cavanaugh became UConn men’s hockey coach in 2013 and recently finished his fifth season. He has led the Huskies to the Hockey East playoffs in each of the past four seasons, with the team advancing to the quarterfinals in 2017-18.
Javier Colon is a Connecticut native who won the inaugural season of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2011, has released four albums, and frequently appears on the show as a guest judge.
Chris Dailey has been the associate head women’s basketball coach at UConn since 1988, a span that has seen the Huskies win 11 national championships. She will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on June 9 as part of the Class of 2018.
Dane DeHaan is an actor and model best known for roles in popular movies such as “Chronicle,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Kill Your Darlings” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”
Randy Edsall is the head football coach at UConn who led the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl in the 2010 season. He is about to start his 14th season and has also coached for five seasons in the NFL.
Boomer Esiason played quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals during his 14-year NFL career. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, was named NFL MVP in 1988, and currently hosts the radio show Boomer & Gio on WFAN in New York..
Mike Gorman is an Emmy Award-winning commentator who has been the television broadcaster for the Boston Celtics for more than 30 years.
Christopher Jackson is a singer and actor who currently stars in the CBS drama “Bull” and played George Washington in the original cast of “Hamilton,” for which he earned a Tony Award nomination. He has also won a Grammy Award and an Emmy Award for his singing and songwriting.
Jermaine Kearse is a wide receiver for the New York Jets. He won a Super Bowl title in the 2013 season with the Seattle Seahawks, who drafted him in 2012.
George Lopez is a multi-talented actor who has had success in film, television and stand-up comedy. He is best known for his role in the show “George Lopez,” which ran on ABC for six seasons, as well as appearing in 21 movies such as “Valentine’s Day,” “Rio,” and more.
Norah O’Donnell has been the co-host of “CBS This Morning” since 2012 and contributes to “60 Minutes.” She is an award-winning journalist who has covered many of the biggest national news stories during her career.
Dan Orlovsky spent 12 seasons in the NFL as a quarterback with the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and is UConn’s career leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
Nancy Stevens is recognized as one of the top collegiate field hockey coaches in the nation with a record of 662-181-24 and a .777 winning percentage. She recently completed her 28th season at UConn and led the Huskies to national championships in 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Tim Wakefield was a knuckleball pitcher who won 200 games in a 19-year MLB career. He spent 17 of those seasons with the Red Sox, and won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
“The group of stars who will be participating in the Travelers Championship Celebrity Pro-Am this year will make for a uniquely fun experience for our fans,” tournament director Nathan Grube said. “It continues to be one of the highlights of tournament week and is a key piece in our commitment to offer something for everybody while generating money for charity.”
Other early player commitments have included Masters champion Patrick Reed, former No. 1s Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, two-time Travelers winner Bubba Watson, two-time major champions Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Charley Hoffman and Bryson DeChambeau, whose victory in the Memorial Tournament on Sunday was his second PGA Tour title in 10 months.
The PGA Tour named the Travelers the 2017 “Tournament of the Year” and Spieth earned “Shot of the Year” for his 61-foot bunker shot on the first playoff hole that beat Dan Berger, enabling him to join Tiger Woods as the only players to win at least 10 times by the age of 24. It’s the only time in PGA Tour history that someone holed a bunker shot in a playoff to win.
For more information, visit www.travelerschampionship.com