The Travelers Championship kicks off this week and Wednesday will mark the return of spectators to the course for the Celebrity Pro-Am.
It’s a day golf fans have been counting down to for almost two years.
“This is my 17th tournament, hands down the one most excited about,” said Nathan Grube, Travelers Championship tournament director.
And what has Grube so excited is for the return of spectators to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.
“You know what you have here when the crowds are going crazy and you have the energy here. But when it’s not here you just miss it,” said Grube.
After the pandemic forced the course to be nearly empty last year, this year, golf fans will once again get an up-close view of some of the best players in the world.
There is a limit of 10,000 people a day which we’re told is still less than normal.
“We made sure that we calculated if we have this many people from concession lines to tables and stuff like that, we wanted to make sure that people felt comfortable being out here,” said Grube.
It’s not just fans who are going to be back. This year, there’s going to be a lot more volunteers.
Among roughly 1,000 people helping out is Richard Laury of Middletown.
“A couple of teammates that we’ve seen we’re greeting each other with open arms and just looking forward. Just looking forward to the experience again. Everybody is. It’s just so exciting. It’s a lot of fun,” said Laury.
This is his 23rd year here. But he had to stay home last year when the typical several thousand volunteers were reduced to just a few hundred.
“It was extremely disappointing. I mean, I love golf. I love to watch golf. But there is something about being part of the action that’s really, really special,” said Laury.
While so much is getting back to normal, there are health and safety changes including more open venues, spaced out seating and guidance that unvaccinated people should wear masks.
Still, there’s a lot to look forward to later this week as tournament play gets underway Thursday.
“It’s almost like reunion is what it feels like,” said Grube.