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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Travelers Championship moves to early August in 2016

The Travelers Championship will not be held the week after the U.S. Open next year for the first time since Travelers took over title sponsorship.

The golf tournament announced Thursday that the event will be held Aug. 1-7, 2016, instead of the third week in June. The PGA Tour’s entire 2016 summer schedule has been revamped due to the Summer Olympics.

Golf will be held in the Olympics (Aug. 5-21, 2016) for the first time. Sixty players will participate with up to four players from each country represented and the top 15 in the world rankings automatically qualify. Those dates are Aug. 11-14, 2016.

“We are the lead-in event to the Olympic men’s golf competition,” said Andy Bessette, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Travelers. “Golfers want to play the week before  a major. We will see if players play the week before the Olympics. There were two weeks of an eight-week period I wanted. One was our normal week and the other was the first week in August. I think our field be very, very good.”

The Travelers Championship will return to the week after the U.S. Open in 2017. Bessette said “the tour doesn’t talk about dates much, but I’m assuming the dates are that week for ‘17 and beyond,”

The 2016 Travelers will follow the PGA Championship, normally held in mid-August, which moved up to the July 28-31 slot so to not coincide with the Olympics.The PGA will be held at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield Township, New Jersey.

Travelers normally provides a charter flight for players and their families from the U.S. Open to its event. Bessette said Travelers is already considering transportation from Connecticut to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, site of the Summer Olympics.

TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, a PGA Tour property and site of the Travelers Championship, will undergo a multi-million dollar project scheduled to begin in October, according to Bessette. That will include the movement and renovation of bunkers, modifications to greens and enhancement for fans viewing play on the final four holes.

“We are planning to flatten the hill and retaining wall behind the 16th hole so the area can accept a small grandstand to sit behind 16,” Bessette said. “We are also looking to thin out some of the brush between the 15th fairway and the 16th tee box (so fans on 15 can see players tee off on 16).”


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