HARTFORD - Fan-favorite Bubba Watson is returning to Cromwell to defend his Travelers Championship title.
Watson, a three-time Travelers Championship winner, including in 2018, has committed to play at the tournament hosted by TPC River Highlands this June 17-23 the Travelers announced Tuesday.
“The Travelers Championship is one of my favorite tournaments - and favorite weeks - on the PGA Tour,” Watson said in a statement. “It will always hold special meaning to me because it was the site of my first Tour victory, but the way the entire community embraces it, and how the tournament team goes above and beyond to ensure it’s a great experience, truly makes it special.”
The Travelers Championship has always had a special meaning to Watson, which he first won in 2010 when he beat Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in a playoff as his late father was battling cancer. He also won the event in 2015 in a playoff against Paul Casey. Last year, Watson came back from a six-stroke deficit, beating Casey, Stewart Cink, J. B. Holmes and Beau Hossler.
In addition to the win, Watson donated $200,000 to the tournament’s primary beneficiary, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. In 2016, pledged $100,000 toward the Bruce Edwards Foundation Benefit Dinner, which raised money for ALS causes. Overall, Watson he has donated $300,000 to tournament charities the last three years.
“We’re proud of the relationship we have with Bubba and his family, and we can’t thank him enough for all he’s done for this tournament,” Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers Andy Bessette said in a statement. “He’s had tremendous success on the course and he’s helped us bring our charitable initiatives to the next level by generously contributing funds toward the tournament’s causes. He’s a great partner, and we can’t wait to welcome him back this year.”
In addition to this three Travelers Championship wins, Watson is a two-time Masters champion, a four-time participant in the Ryder Cup, a two-time representative of the United States in the Presidents Cup and was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
He is currently ranked No. 17 in the World Golf Rankings and joins a crowded field that already consists of Brooks Koepka (No. 3), Justin Thomas (No. 4), Bryson DeChambeau (No. 5), Francesco Molinari (No. 10) and Tony Finau (No. 13). There was a fear that with the U.S. Open being played out in Pebble Beach, Calif. a week before the Travelers, many top players would skip the tournament than make the cross-country trip. But Watson made it clear after last year’s tournament ended he would defend his title last year.
“Bubba has been such a wonderful ambassador for our tournament,” Travelers Championship tournament director Nathan Grube said in a statement. “Our fans enjoy seeing Bubba play every year, and the fact that he’s the defending champion for the third time will bring even more excitement to what promises to be an incredible week.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org