April 2016

Two Heritage Champs Chime in on Hilton Head Island

Author: Paul deVere

When PGA Tour pros were asked to list their favorite tournaments, The Masters topped the list. That’s sort of a no-brainer. Number two was The Heritage. For the 100,000-plus fans of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, the tournament’s second place finish was also a no-brainer. Celebrating its forty-eighth year, The Heritage is simply a great time for everyone, the pros (and their families) included.

Being classified right next to Augusta also says something about the Heritage Classic Foundation, the professionals who run the show and the thousand plus volunteers who help create and maintain the singular “hometown” atmosphere that takes over Hilton Head Island for that week in April. Then there’s the community itself. A great number of islanders and Blufftonians, in restaurants, rental companies, barber shops, fishing boats, become unofficial, gracious hosts to the thousands of guests who come to see and be seen at South Carolina’s only PGATour event.

This year, there will be eight returning Heritage champions, including Justin Leonard and Glen Day. This will be Leonard’s nineteenth appearance at Harbour Town. His win in 2002 got him the plaid jacket and the winner’s check for $720,000. For Day, this will be his twenty-third appearance. In a sudden death playoff in 1999, Day bested Payne Stewart and Jeff Sluman on #18 with a long birdie putt. CH2 caught up with the two of them and asked what they like about the tournament, outside the ropes.

JUSTIN LEONARD
2002 Winner

Other than the tournament and the course, what do you like most about Hilton Head Island?
The laid back atmosphere.

What is your favorite non-golf activity while on the island?
Riding bikes around the island with my family. We always spend some time at the beach..

Does your family join you at The Heritage?
They usually do, but not this year.

How well did your plaid jacket fit?
Like a glove!

How did becoming a champion at The Heritage affect your career?
It was my first win after getting married, so it was great to share it with my wife.

What makes Hilton Head Island different from other communities where you play?
We really love the cozy relaxed atmosphere.

What did it feel like the moment you knew you were the next Heritage champion?
Winning is always a great feeling!

What makes Hilton Head Island different from other communities where you play?
We really love the cozy relaxed atmosphere.

What did it feel like the moment you knew you were the next Heritage champion?
Winning is always a great feeling!

Do you have a special “shout out” to anyone or any organization on the island you’ve come to know?”
Delishee Yo!

Glen Day
1999 Winner
Other than the tournament and the course, what do you like most about Hilton Head Island?
The food and the people: Lowcountry boil and a cold beer with friends. Doesn’t get much better.

What is your favorite non-golf activity while on the island?
I’ve gotten to be friends with some fishing guides and love to go every year. I will get out on the water with a fishing pole anytime I can.

Does your family join you at The Heritage?
Years ago, they came every year. As the kids got older, they had things to do and it became a guys’ trip because of all the golf and the fishing.

How well did your plaid jacket fit?
It still fits very nicely.

How did becoming a champion at The Heritage affect your career?
Any win changes your career. Winning one of the Tour’s premier events just makes it that much better.

What makes Hilton Head Island different from other communities where you play?
The key word is community. We play mostly in cities, but Hilton Head is a community. I get to see the same friends every year, and that makes it special.

What did it feel like the moment you knew you were the next Heritage champion?
Overwhelming. I was lucky enough to win in a playoff, and I still remember the roar of that crowd.

Do you have a special “shout out” to anyone or any organization on the island you’ve come to know?”
Pour Richards in Bluffton. Richard was the chef at 211 Park and has opened up his own place. If you haven’t been yet, you are cheating yourself! Great job, Richard!

Let Us Know what You Think ...

commenting closed for this article


Social Bookmarks