Write-Up & Photos By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett  Former UConn and NBA standout Scott Burrell signs autographs  during the Traveler's Championship Pro-Am Day in 2011.

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett Former UConn and NBA standout Scott Burrell signs autographs during the Travelers Championship Pro-Am Day in 2011; he is scheduled to play this year.

One of the premier sporting events in New England, The Travelers Championship returns to the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut from June 16-22. In addition to a “strong field of golfers” there will be a weeklong military appreciation, the 6th Annual Women’s Day, performances from Jefferson Starship and Little River Band and the ever popular Celebrity Pro-Am Day.

“These acts, mixed with seeing golf from one of the strongest playing fields in the tour’s history will be a thrill for our fans,” Nathan Grube, Traveler’s Championship Director, was quoted as saying in a press release.

Golfers will include reigning champ Ken Duke, two time Masters winner Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Joanas Blixt, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson and Patrick Reed.

a Traveler's Championship practice field at beautiful River Highlands.

A Travelers Championship practice field at beautiful River Highlands.

Always a big attraction, playing in this year’s Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday, June 18 are singer/songwriter Javier Colon who gained fame on The Voice, Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie – nicknamed ‘Cutie Flutie’ back in the day, Chris Berman from ESPN, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad, actor James Naughton, from the WWE – Sgt. Slaughter, NFL Hall of Famer Andre Tippet and celebrity chef Ming Tsai. Once again there will be a strong University of Connecticut connection with many UConn sports figures making encore appearances. Both the men’s and women’s 2014 basketball national title head coaches Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie are scheduled to play, in addition, associate head coaches George Blaney and Chris Dailey, former UConn and NBA standout Scott Burrell  and Director of Athletics Warde Manuel.

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As always, a strong UConn connection at The Travelers Championship.

Thanks to special event sponsor Saint Francis Care, again this year there will be a weeklong Military Appreciation. Complimentary admission is available for active, reserve and retired United States military and their dependents. E-tickets can be obtained online, or at the gate Common Access Cards or ID are required. Discounted tickets are available at $20 for U.S. veterans and dependents – 50 percent of proceeds from those tickets will be donated to the PGA charity Birdies for the Brave. The Patriot’s Outpost, a climate controlled hospitality venue offering free food and beverages Wednesday-Sunday will be set up for active, reserve and retired U.S. military. (In October the TPC River Highlands will host a Birdies for the Brave tourney.)

Jim Calhoun and singer Michael Bolton paired up for Pro-AM Day in 2011.

Jim Calhoun and singer Michael Bolton paired up for Pro-Am Day in 2011.

Enjoying coffee and donuts on Celebrity Pro Am Day.

Enjoying morning coffee and donuts on Celebrity Pro-Am Day.

Jefferson Starship and Australia’s Little River Band that topped the charts in the 1970s and 1980s with hits like “We Built this City”, “Sara”, “Lonesome Loser”and “Lady” will headline the Powerstation Concert Series. Music gets underway at 7 p.m. when the last golfer’s are expected to have finished their rounds, according to tournament organizers. Little River Band will perform Friday June 20 and Jefferson Starship Sat. June 21 – both are to appear at the Fan Zone near the course center.

Arianna Huffington, founder of the Pulitzer Prize winning Huffington Post and celebrity chef Ming Tsai will be on hand for the 6th Annual Women’s Day on June 19. Tickets cost $65. The day offers a “networking” breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., tours of the Golf Channel Studio and the course, Huffington will speak, 10 percent off at the merchandise tent and preferred bleacher seats. Proceeds go to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to benefit children with serious illnesses.

“Since its inception in 2009, Women’s Day has grown in prominence becoming one of our most popular days during tour week,” said Doreen Spadorcia, Travelers vice president.

The Travelers, which has been part of this event since it earliest days, notes that one hundred percent of money raised by the championship will go to charities in the region. Since 1952 the event has raised more than $31 million for charity.

Advance one day ticket prices before June 16 are $29, for seniors $24; after June 16 $39, seniors $29. Advance Practice/Pro-Am Day tickets $24, seniors $20, after June 16 $29, seniors $25. Age 15 and under accompanied by an adult – free. A weekly badge -$75.

Go to http://www.TravelersChampionship.com for more information.