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July 4, 2022

Bordonaro: Travelers Championship shows Hartford region has ‘major league’ potential

PHOTO | JEFF YARDIS

The Travelers Championship this year raised $2.5 million for charity, providing an important lifeline for local nonprofits.

Just as significant is the impact the PGA Tour event has on promoting the Greater Hartford region. Throughout the four-day televised tournament — aired on the Golf Channel and CBS — viewers were treated to numerous shots of Hartford’s skyline and other regional assets including the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Greg Bordonaro

On Sunday — as the tournament at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell was winding down, and fans nationally were tuning in for another exciting finish with Xander Schauffele reclaiming his lead on the 18th hole —CBS broadcasters began waxing poetic about the event and Travelers Cos.’ influence on it.

They praised Travelers Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Bessette and Tournament Director Nathan Grube, for the quality of the event, its integration of company employees and fans, and the top-notch field it attracts on an annual basis. They went on to call it one of the best, if not the best, tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule.

That’s high praise that the Hartford region isn’t used to getting on the national stage. It also continues the tournament’s remarkable turnaround from earlier this century when the loss of two title sponsors over the course of a few years — Cannon and Buick — put it in jeopardy.

Travelers took over in 2007 and has brought it to new heights and recognition.

The Travelers Championship shows Greater Hartford can be a “major league” region.

It’s no secret that Connecticut residents can often have a negative outlook on the state. Taxes are high, our population has remained stagnant and we struggle to attract new, high-paying jobs.

And in many ways — particularly after the loss of the Hartford Whalers NHL franchise in 1997 — we’ve come to accept Hartford as a “minor league city.” And not just in a sports sense. That thinking, at times, has become steeped in the overall culture — a sense that Hartford can’t become greater than what it is today.

The Travelers Championship shows that’s certainly not the case. And in most instances it’s the business community that has the power and resources to lift the region up, just as Travelers Cos. has done with the golf tournament.

ICYMI: Photo gallery of scenes from the 2022 Travelers Championship

As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, the city of Hartford has a long road to recovery. It’s been hit hard by the changing ways people work — many Hartford employers are downsizing their office footprints as they establish a more permanent hybrid work environment, leaving fewer people in the city on a daily basis.

For Hartford to regain its pre-pandemic momentum, the business community needs to rally around the city and lead the way.

Travelers has shown us a roadmap for how to think bigger. Now, the city of Hartford needs its own turnaround story.

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