CROMWELL, Conn. – Travelers Championship tournament director Nathan Grube continually says his favorite day of the year has nothing to do with long drives, crisp iron shots or memorable putts that produce birdies and eagles.
No, the day that Grube looks forward to every year is the Travelers Championship Charity Celebration when he announces how much the biggest sporting event in Connecticut raised for charity.
This week Grube’s pronouncement was of record proportions: $2,502,378. Slightly more was raised in 2016, but that included $1.1 million from a special dinner to raise money for the Bruce Edwards Foundation to combat ALS after the second round of the tournament. The event donates 100 percent of its net proceeds to charity and more than $25 million has been generated since Travelers virtually saved the tournament when it became the title sponsor in 2007.
“I say it all the time, but this is the best day of the year,” Grube said during the celebration at TPC River Highlands, the venue for the tournament since 1984. “It’s like your anniversary, birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.”
More than 140 charities benefitted from this year’s tournament, led again by the chief beneficiary, The Hole in the Wall Gang in Ashford founded by the late Paul Newman. A nice new touch to the charity breakfast was representatives from 10 nonprofits giving a synopsis of what they do. The group included The Hole in the Wall Gang, First Tee Connecticut, House of Heroes Connecticut, Special Olympics, Connecticut Foodshare, ReadyCT (educational opportunities), Medical Aid to Haiti, Hands On Hartford, Amy’s Angels (support for families with serious injuries) and Justice Dance Performance Project.
“The whole mission of the tournament aligns with the mission of the Travelers, concentrating on education,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “Delivering financial support and providing charities with a major platform to share their message is what makes the Travelers Championship so special. Our involvement with the tournament is another way for Travelers to support our community and help those who rely on the services these charities provide. We pledge to work hard to make the tournament better every year because we know a successful event has a direct effect on the organizations that benefit.”