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Governor John Dempsey Photographs at the Insurance City Open Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Posted by aramsey in Archives.
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The PGA Travelers Championship golf tournament started this week and we noticed it is the tournament’s 60th anniversary.  The tournament was conceived by the Greater Hartford Jaycees in 1951 as a way to raise funds for their operations and local civic programs.  The same year they approached the Wethersfield Country Club about hosting the professional golf tournament with the club board agreeing to host provided the Jaycees managed the event.

Arnold Palmer (second from left) and Governor John Dempsey (third from left), circa 1960.

The first Insurance City Open was held a year later with Ted Kroll winning the tournament.  In 1956 Arnold Palmer and Ted Kroll went into a sudden death playoff with Palmer winning his first PGA Tour tournament in the United States.  Palmer would become the first two time winner of the Insurance City Open in 1960.  The following year Governor John Dempsey commented to the press that he would “take up golf” a decision which he had made “after walking 18 holes with Arnold Palmer…at the Insurance City Open last Friday at the Wethersfield Country Club.”  The reporter concluded that there was no doubt the Governor had “the [golf] bug.”

The tournament over the sixty years has had several names, sponsors, and golf course hosts.  The two photographs are from Governor John Dempsey’s records relating to the Greater Hartford Open.

Greater Hartford Open officials in Governor John Dempsey’s office presenting him with an enlarged coupon admission ticket book for the 19th Greater Hartford Open, 1970.

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