Momentum continued during Travelers Championship week in Connecticut Tuesday night as golfers left the links and fans headed to Hartford for the second annual Michael Bolton & Friends Benefit Concert.
“I just love Michael Bolton,” said Avon resident Janet McPhee about the Grammy-award winning New Haven native whose concert benefits his Branford-based Michael Bolton Charities. ”I really don’t care much about the golfing but my husband does, so I told him I would go to the tournament with him this week if he would come here with me tonight.”
The evening was a packed one as guests, som paying up to $500 to attend a meet-and-greet with the Connecticut singer following his show, hobnobbed at the 15 restaurant dine-around that spilled out over two floors. Some restaurants, like Dish in Hartford , got into the spirit of the evening by presenting their food on a table designed to look like a putting green. Other restaurants including Mill at 2T, Feng, Carbone’s, Salute, On20 and Agave were all scoring a “hole in one” as far as diners were concerned with dishes ranging from fresh corn soup, sushi and pulled pork to pot de creme and hand-dipped chocolates.
“I remember when Billy Casper won the tournament and his prize for that was $20,000,” said 1968 chair John Halotek, who came with his wife Louise, from Arizona to attend this year’s tournament. “We made a total of $100,000 that year for charity,” said Halotek, about the proceeds from the tournament now run by The Greater Hartford Community Foundation, Inc.
Bigger prize money and a bigger pot of money for the benefiting charities aren’t the only components that have changed.
“There are so many ways for corporations to get involved now,” said Ted May, who chaired the tournament in 1983. “And the facility, it is amazing how much nicer it is now,” he continued noting the addition of more family entertainment and a component for junior golfers.
Many agreed that after a bit of a lull, a slowly recovering economy and a field of exceptional golfers in this year’s tournament seems to have breathed life back into the massive event.
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