Spieth's Playoff Win Caps Record Attendance For PGA Tour Travelers Championship
PGA Tour Travelers Championship Dir Nathan Grube said that the total attendance for the tournament this past week, which saw Jordan Spieth win in a playoff yesterday, was "about 290,000," according to a front-page piece by Tom Yantz of the HARTFORD COURANT. Grube: "The metrics for parking, tickets, concessions and the eye test, there were more fans this week than in any of the (11) Travelers tournaments. It had to be a 30 percent or greater increase in fans from last year" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/26). ESPN.com's Jason Sobel noted Spieth and Rory McIlroy this year both "decided to play here for a first time; Jason Day joined for a third time." The atmosphere "changed instantly" with those names. Tuesday's practice-round galleries "were like previous Thursday galleries, Wednesday pro-am galleries were like weekend galleries, and the weekend galleries were like nothing ever before witnessed" at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut (ESPN.com, 6/25). Golf Channel Senior Researcher Justin Ray tweeted, "I have never been to a non-major that had a better environment for a conclusion of a tournament than today at TPC River Highlands." ESPN's Scott Van Pelt added, "Such a phenomenal scene at @TravelersChamp Really happy for the event. They pulled out the stops, got a great field & the finish of the year."
ONE FOR THE AGES: CBSSPORTS.com's Matt Norlander wrote Spieth's bunker chip-in for birdie that sealed his victory during the playoff at hole 18 gives "birth a long-awaited mainstream moment for one of the PGA Tour's most underrated events." Spieth's "club-chucking, boisterous explosion of disbelief against the backdrop a wall of sun-soaked fans was great theater." It also gave fans a "new, fun, fantastic look at one of the true few players who will be asked to carry golf for the next two decades." The grassy amphitheater at TPC River Highlands "exploded into a frenzy." Golf saw "perfect convergence" yesterday, and the "long-underrated Travelers Championship is getting a spotlight it deserves." The tournament is "held annually the week after the U.S. Open, meaning it's not prone to bring an abundance in big-name golfers." Despite the obstacles, it has "become one of the more well-attended events on the PGA Tour." Spieth "remarked how closely it resembles Phoenix's Waste Management Open, which uses its massive crowds and open unruliness as a unique selling point vs. other spots on the tour" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/25).
STAY COOL: In Hartford, Stephanie Sheehan noted the Stanley Black & Decker Chill Zone, "debuting this year, is one of the lesser-known amenities at the Travelers." There are "four zones: the 18th-hole concession stand, at the Patriots Outpost, the 15th tee and between holes 5 and 6." It is a "cushioned seat that fits four or five people, and none of the seats face the course" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/25).