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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Future of Travelers Championship to be determined Thursday

Travelers Insurance has called a press conference for Thursday morning to discuss the future of its title sponsorship with the Travelers Championship golf tournament.

Travelers is entering the final year of four of its title sponsorship agreement with the tournament.

Travelers has been the title sponsor of the tournament since 2007. The first two agreements with the tour went for four years each.

All indications are Travelers is remaining on board. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is expected to be in attendance. So is Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. I don't imagine they would be in attendance if Travelers was ending is partnership with the tournament.

Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube had no comment when reached Wednesday afternoon. When asked for an update on the negotiation last month, Grube said, "Bottom line is we are really, really close."

The PGA Tour allowed Travelers to extend its window for negotiation beyond the initial time period, which was to be concluded by the end of last September.

Andy Bessette, the executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Travelers, said back in September that he wanted the deal in place by the end of the calendar year.

“I think (the word) negotiation is too strong. This is more like a partnership (with the PGA Tour),” Bessette said at the time. “Negotiation has the connotation of sitting across the table beating the daylights out of each other. It’s not like that.”

A big key to the recent negotiation, according to Bessette, was to keep its tournament the third week of June. Also of concern is the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when golf will be an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904. Even though the Olympics itself won't conflict, how the players schedule around the Olympics might.

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