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Travelers' Field of Dreams

Mickelson won the event when it was the Canon Greater Hartford Open in 2001 and 2002 (Photo: GolfWeek)

CSGA (June 21, 2020) In any other year the field that Tournament Director Nathan Grube has assembled for the 2020 Travelers Championship would shatter attendance records. This year, it will play to a crowd of exactly zero, a kind of Field of Dreams minus that final traffic scene.

This past week the tournament added 2017 Champion Jordan Spieth and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, completing one of the deepest—and most popular—fields in the Travelers’ 68-year history. The Travelers begins Thursday at the TPC River Highlands.

“With the top seven players in the Official World Golf Ranking and eight of the top 10, it already feels like the best player field we’ve ever had, and now we’re adding to it with Phil Mickelson,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, of course, the PGA TOUR has announced that the tournament will be a TV-only event, with no spectators permitted on-site. Even the media covering the event will endure restrictions. “You have to be able to look at this year in this bubble that we are in,” said Grube, “and say, man, we are going to actually be able to pull this off in a safe way, in a way that is going to be one of the strongest fields we have ever had, and in a way that can show the world that Connecticut can be a part of this message that we can get back to some sort of normal in a very careful way.”

Clearly the players are finding that new normal. Like those baseball legends emerging from the cornfield in the classic 1989 Kevin Costner movie, the last month has seen golfing great after golfing great join an already strong field that includes Rory McIlroy, Defending Champion Chez Reavie and now Mickelson. “Phil is one of the most popular and decorated players in golf history and having him in our field definitely adds a layer of excitement,” said Grube.

(For details on how Tournament Director Nathan Grube and his team have prepared for the first Travelers ever without a gallery, listen to the CSGA’s Sam Dostaler’s interview with Grube.)

Here’s who’s joined the field since May 15:

  • Brooks Koepka, No. 3 player in the world and defending PGA Champion;
  • Justin Rose, 2013 U.S. Open Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist and 10-time winner on tour;
  • Tony Finau, No. 16 in the world;
  • Paul Casey, winner of 17 events on the U.S. and European tours, who has starred at the Travelers, once losing in that playoff to Bubba Watson in 2015;
  • Dustin Johnson, world No. 5, the 2016 U.S. Open winner and a winner of a tournament in the past 12 consecutive years;
  • Jason Day, the 2015 PGA Champion;
  • John Rahm, No. 2 in the world;
  • Webb Simpson, 2012 U.S. Open Champion, also playing well in this early 2020 season, including last week’s victory at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.

Sponsor’s exemptions this past week went to Connecticut’s J.J. Henry, Stewart Cink and Hunter Mahan, all former champions. 

As the New Haven Register’s Joe Morelli reminded us, there’s only one huge name missing at this point:  “Now everyone waits to see if a certain player decides…to make his first appearance at TPC River Highlands. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope, but stranger things have happened.”

If this incredibly strong field, with or without that guy, coaxes you to watch, here is television information for the 2020 Travelers:

Round 1: Thursday, June 25, 2020 – Golf Channel*– 3:00 p.m – 6:00 p.m.

Round 2: Friday, June 26, 2020 – Golf Channel* – 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Round 3: Saturday, June 27, 2020 – Golf Channel* – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  and CBS– 3:00 p.m.– 6:00 p.m.**

Round 4: Sunday, June 28, 2020 – Golf Channel* – 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  and CBS– 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.**

* Simulcast on PGATOUR.COM, GolfChannel.com, NBCSports.com
** Simulcast on PGATOUR.COM, CBSSports.com

For more information, visit www.TravelersChampionship.com.

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About the CSGA

Founded in 1899, the CSGA is the country's oldest state golf association and, as an Allied Golf Association of the USGA, provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. In addition to administering handicaps for over 40,000 members at 181 member clubs, the CSGA conducts more than 85 days of competition throughout the year for golfers of all ages, genders, and skill levels. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the CSGA supports a variety of golf organizations within Connecticut, including the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Connecticut Section PGA, Connecticut Women’s Golf Association, CSGA Scholarship Fund in honor of Widdy Neale, LPGA-Amateur Golf Association, Southern New England Women’s Golf Association, and The First Tee of Connecticut.