The Travelers Championship officially begins Thursday but there was action on the course Wednesday, and it was all about entertainment.
The celebrity Pro-Am tee’ d off around noon and there was a healthy mix of celebrities at TPC River Highlands.
Former professional athletes, actors, singers and some UConn coaches were among the invitees. They hit the course in misty and somewhat rainy conditions, but it didn’t dampen their spirits.
The celebrity Pro-Am began with a moving rendition of the national anthem sung by The Voice season one winner Javier Colon, who didn’t hit a single sour note. The same could not be said for some of the celebs who need to take mulligans off the first tee.
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Among those who attended this event on several occasions is Connecticut native and national sportscasting icon, ESPN’s Chris Berman.
“I’m proud of the Connecticut folk,” Berman said. “Because we look good this week.”
Whether it's sport or on-stage performance, the celebrities on Wednesday’s roster can handle pressure but say this may be a little different.
“Try standing over a 2-foot putt in front of a gallery with lightning-fast greens down-hill both ways,” joked 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie.
Fortunately for the celebs, they were each paired with a pro. PGA Tour member Aaron Wise said he understands what it must be like for the celebrities.
“I can’t imagine throwing out a first pitch or anything like that,” Wise said. “I’m sure that’s how they feel.”
UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma was under the weather Wednesday and withdrew but assistant coach Chris Dailey was there to represent the Huskies.
“I just hope I don’t [hurt] anyone on the first drive,” she joked before hitting a very respectable first drive straight down the middle of the fairway.
Hitting them straight and long, that’s the key to the game but for former Red Sox knuckleball ace, Tim Wakefield, he’d rather stick to what he knows best.
“I wish I could hit a knuckleball; it makes it fly a lot further but unfortunately there’s too much spin,” he said with a big smile.
As celebs and pros tee’ d off, people lined the fairways, trying to get a glimpse and perhaps a little more from their heroes.
Brother and sister Maddie and Trey Wallace of Wolcott were there and came away with a slew of autographs.
“I’ve gotten Rory [Mcilroy] so far. I’ve gotten Scottie Scheffler and I’ve gotten Kevin Kisner and I’ve got his glove and he signed it for me,” said Trey, who is a talented young golfer himself.