The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, celebrating its 49th year April 10-16, is the only PGA Tour event in South Carolina. It has been played over the famed Harbour Town Links since 1969, when the late Arnold Palmer won the inaugural event.
The Heritage Classic Foundation distributes the proceeds from the tournament to nonprofit organizations.
Director of Golf Cary Corbitt is confident about the condition of the course since Hurricane Matthew. “Only 17 trees of the 268 trees lost in the Hurricane were significant to the course. We replanted several palms, magnolias, pines and oaks,” he said. “The PGA Tour players will be hard pressed to tell we suffered the extent of damage we did from the hurricane.”
The field this year is deep and includes defending champion Branden Grace, who will return to attempt to claim his second plaid jacket.
Other past Heritage champions playing this year include Boo Weekley, Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, Aaron Baddeley, Brian Gay, Carl Pettersson and Brandt Snedeker.
Other Tour champions who have committed are Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson, KJ Choi, Chris Kirk, Camilo Villegas and Vijay Singh.
There are several players from South Carolina: Wesley Bryan, Lucas Glover, Bill Haas, Kevin Kisner, Mark Anderson and Ben Martin. Canadians sponsored by RBC include David Hearn, Graham DeLaet, Nick Taylor and recent tour winner Adam Hadwin, who won his first PGA tournament March 12, and who shot a 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January.
Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Champion, will be making his first start at the Heritage.
The Heritage is the best ambassador for the Hilton Head area. It is broadcast to more than 226 countries outside the United States. More than one billion households across the world can see our famous island.
This year there is a new venue that should be popular for tournament-goers. Wine lovers will be able to enjoy the tournament at the Wine @ Nine outdoor area between holes 1 and 9.
Spectators will be able to watch the tournament on a large video board as well as see the live action on hole No. 9. Proceeds from Wine @ Nine will support the Hilton Head Island Firefighters Association.
There are some parking changes to note for this year. Complimentary general parking will be at Hilton Head Public School complex. Motor coach service to and from Harbour Town will begin each day at 6:30 a.m. and stop at 9:30 p.m.
Daily tickets and weeklong badges are available online at www.rbcheritage.com or call 843-671-2448. Children under 15 are admitted free with a paying adult.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com