Bill Murray Delivers On Celebrity Pro-Am Day

The Hartford Courant

Before heading out for his round of 18 holes at the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am Wednesday, Bill Murray poked his head inside the hospitality tent for one last bottle of water and one last joke.

"You think we're going to lose anybody out there," Murray said with a wink to a volunteer standing near the water cooler. "We wouldn't want a fatality to mar this thing."

Then with a devilish grin and a clumsy jump out of the tent, Murray was off to take on the course and no weather was going to stop him — or his fans.

For his entire round Wednesday, Murray reminded fans and media of one sure thing when it comes to the Celebrity Pro-Am – everybody loves a show.

And Murray was just that – a show. Throughout the afternoon, Murray stole the limelight at the TPC River Highlands and made it easy to forget the near-record temperatures.

He joked with Ray Allen. He took photos with fans. He showed off his acting skills.

It was a performance his fans have come to love and expect. And they weren't disappointed.

"You got to stay within yourself," Murray said Wednesday at the putting green.

That attitude was certainly on display at the first hole. The actor, known for such comedies as "Caddyshack" and "Ghostbusters," was definitely himself on the course.

After hitting his third shot behind the uphill green, Murray placed a perfect chip just short of the hole for a tap-in bogey and then playfully feigned disgust by throwing his wedge onto the hillside.

Then with a smile, Murray delivered the punch line.

"You can give me that one, right?" Murray said.

But the star of "Groundhog Day" wasn't the only celebrity living it up Wednesday.

All over the course, actors, musicians and athletes made sure the heat did little to bring down the day's excitement.

For former UConn standout and Quinnipiac mens basketball assistant coach Scott Burrell, it wasn't even the heat that was the problem.

It was the crowds.

Despite knowing his fair share of pressure when it comes to basketball and baseball, Burrell said this event brought a different kind of heat.

"I don't mind the [weather] – it's not bad," Burrell said. "I think the only heat I'll feel is my first tee shot. That's the heat."

Throughout the afternoon, Burrell was trailed by friend and fellow UConn star Ray Allen, who was walking the course with a boot on his right foot after surgery on his ankle.

"I'm with my guy," Allen said at the driving range.

But Burrell didn't have too much to worry about.

With the biggest crowd of the Pro-Am watching his group, which also included Ahmad Rashad and tour proJ.B. Holmes, Burrell hit a blistering drive into the middle of the fairway and then narrowly missed a birdie putt just to the left of the hole to open his round.

"I just look to have fun out here," Burrell said. "I'm playing with great guys and I'm just trying to have fun. ... I just got to stay focused and keep my hands dry. That's all I got to do."

Much like Burrell, former New England Patriots great Andre Tippett had no problem with the heat. He was more worried about his caddie, a local teenager helping carry the bag.

"I just got to pace myself and keep a lot of fluids in me," Tippett said. "I'm worried about my caddy. I just want to make sure she's OK. Her parents entrusted her to me. So that's my big job."

Still, Tippett didn't let much dampen his mood Wednesday.

"I just want to play some good golf and watch the pros," Tippett said. "Those guys are good and this is a game I enjoy playing and I'll take whatever I can pick up from them. Just seeing guys from afar is good enough for me."

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