HARTFORD, Conn. – Being one of the PGA Tour’s new “elevated” status events began to pay dividends for the Travelers Championship this week when Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, committed to Connecticut’s biggest sporting event in June.
McIlroy, 33, won his 23rd tournament worldwide, including four major championships, in the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday when he birdied the last two holes for a one-stroke victory. The personable Northern Irishman is one of the most popular players in the game, including at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, where he has finished in the Top 20 in his four appearances in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2022, when he shot an 8-under-par 62 in the first round.
McIlroy has reclaimed the No. 1 ranking while being an outspoken critic of players who left the PGA Tour for Saudi-backed LIV Golf League. He is part of the “elevated” tournaments in which the Travelers Championship will have a $20 million purse and is expected to get all of the top 20 players in the Player Impact Program, which ranks players on success as well as their popularity.
“We’re going to get a deep, star-studded player field, so hearing that Rory has committed is a great start and wonderful news for our tournament and our fans,” tournament director Nathan Grube said. “Rory has enjoyed coming to Connecticut and he’s played well at TPC River Highlands. Late June might seem far off, but the excitement for this year’s tournament is already building. If you’re someone who roots for Rory and appreciates watching the best players in the world, you need to make plans to be part of the action here.”
In response to LIV Golf, the PGA Tour has designated certain tournaments as “elevated,” likely on a rotating basis. The Travelers Championship, which is June 22-25 and raised more than $2.5 million for local charities in 2022, will more than double its purse for this first year of elevated tournaments.
“Rory is a great friend who has been incredibly supportive of our tournament, and we appreciate the relationship we’ve built with him,” said Andy Bessette, executive VP and chief administrative officer at Travelers. “Having Rory here competing against the top players in the world will really take this year’s Travelers Championship to the next level. It’s a world-class event that provides meaningful support for our communities and hundreds of local charities.”
A three-time PGA Tour Player of the Year, McIlroy won the U.S. Open in 2011, the PGA Championship in 2012 and 14 and The Open Championship in 2014. He won three events in the 2022 season, including the Tour Championship that earned him his record third FedExCup points title.