It began with opening ceremonies and the Aetna-sponsored Pro-Am contest. And then it filtered into the beginning of a week’s worth of parties, a sponsor’s reception that included a few star sightings and a lot of anticipation by golfers who were waiting to find out who they would be paired with in Wednesday’s star-studded tournament Pro-Am.
It wasn’t their day. Waldron and friends, Mike Pill and Chris Metcalfe will be playing with Johnson Wagner, certainly no slouch having won the Sony Open in Hawaii earlier this year.
Oh, and who is playing with Bubba? That would be last year’s “The Voice” winner and West Hartford resident, Javier Colon along with businessmen Jim Gault and Tom Fitzgerald.
The lucky guy playing with mega-golfer George McNeill and singer Michael Bolton (whose concert at the Bushnell was Tuesday night) and WWE superstar Booker T is UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma. Comic and actor Bill Murray makes up the foursome with pro golfer J.B. Holmes, retired pro basketball player Scott Burrell and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad.
Pairings aside, the night marked the launch of a big week for tournament director Nathan Grube and Travelers chief administrative officer Andy Bessette who are up bright and early these days to make sure the tournament goes off without a hitch.
“Nathan gets here around 5 a.m. every morning and I get here around 7 a.m.,” grinned Bessette. “I do have some work to do first.”
“Our clients love this tournament,” said Doug Jacobs, who attended the opening day reception with co-worker Dave Firestone. The two traveled from Pennsylvania to entertain a few clients, noting that the event is considered one of the best by their clients.
Among the celebrity sightings, former Minnesota Viking Matt Blair, now handling good health instead of footballs.
“I am working with Aetna on a new health initiative for seniors,” said Blair who will be 62 in September. He will be working the insurance giant to pitch the “Give Me Ten” program, a circuit training program designed for senior citizens.
“You don’t need a gym membership, you can do it at home,” said the very fit Blair as he explained some the exercises. Among them, a weight lifting regime using soup cans and another called “Dance To The Beat.”
“Just put on music you like and dance whatever way you like,” he said, showing off a few moves.
Grube, as usual, was cool, calm and collected as he worked the room, calling this year’s event the best ever as the championship marks its 60th anniversary.
“We have the strongest player field we have ever had,” he boasted. “It’s going to be a good week.”
Who’s playing with whom and when??? WED Summary Sheet – Portrait 52 Teams
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