Round one of the Travelers Championship is underway and there was a big crowd Thursday. For the first time since 2019, the tournament has no capacity limitations and the bigger crowds have already increased the energy level at TPC River Highlands.
The crowds were vocal on day-one and that volume could continue to increase throughout the weekend. Fans are coming to Connecticut from around the region.
“It’s pretty cool. I get to see a lot of the guys I watch on TV all day,” said 17-year-old Jack O’Connor from Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
Up close in person, Rory Mcilroy, the number two golfer in the world, appeared to be Thursday's crowd favorite, drawing large gatherings at every hole. Galleries were large on day-one and expected to swell to pre-pandemic levels.
“I haven’t been to any place that had a big crowd since before the pandemic, and I like being out in the crowd,” said Eric Wright of Bristol.
In 2020, no fans were allowed. Last year, capacity was capped at 10,000 people per day. This year, there are no limitations.
“I think it’s probably great for the players to hear all the cheering and to see the gallery full again,” said Natalie Cummings of Bristol.
Pam Barth’s home is located next to the eighth fairway of TPC River Highlands, and on Thursday, her patio was the place to be.
“Oh, this is nothing. Wait 'till Sunday. I’ll have about 65 people here,” said Barth, while hosting a party of about a dozen people.
Two hundred and two people in the golf community surrounding the course. Living there, they could watch the last couple tournaments in person but say this year is a welcomed return to normalcy.
“Oh my God, there is no comparison,” Lori Langan said. “I mean it’s only Thursday and it feels like it’s Saturday or Sunday, the energy level is so high.”
Just how big are the crowds? It’s hard to say, as the tournament has not released those numbers. However, tournament director Nathan Grube said ticket sales are on pace to be even greater than they were in 2019.