April 2018

Plaid Goes Gold: Everyone’s favorite outdoor cocktail party / PGA Tour event cranks up the excitement for this year’s 50th tournament extravaganza.

Author: Barry Kaufman

If the towering figure of the Harbour Town Lighthouse, decked in tartan plaid and adorned with a 50, is any indication, Heritage season is upon us once again. And while this is no doubt the singular event of the season for many locals, this year feels just a little bit different. A little bit more special, as if anything could ever ratchet up the intensity surrounding the annual PGA tournament.

This year, as the lighthouse indicates, marks the fiftieth iteration of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, which began life in 1969 as the Heritage Classic. It’s a rare milestone for a golf tournament.
“The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing is one of only five tournaments to achieve the 50-year milestone,” Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett pointed out during the tournament’s recent media day. “The others: The Masters, Dean and Deluca Invitational, Sony Open, and AT&T Pebble Beach are the exceptional company we keep.”

And if you think wrapping the lighthouse was the extent of the celebration, think again. Tournament sponsors Coca Cola and Michelob will be introducing special packaging for the event, with Coke running promotions at some 200 stores throughout the state. Portraits of past champions have decked the walls of the Harbour Town Clubhouse. And you’ll see the slogan “Cheers to 50 Years” on signs, banners, pins and more wherever you go.
“The effort of us celebrating our fiftieth tournament started three or four years ago,” Steve Wilmot said.

Eventually, grand plans were scaled down to allow the Heritage Foundation to focus on its core mission of handing out charitable donations, but the appropriate pomp and circumstance will surround this year’s tournament—including an open invitation to all past champions to fire off that first tee shot into the Calibogue during opening ceremonies.

“We may have to fire the cannon off six or seven times, but we’ll figure that out,” Wilmot joked.
And of course, hand in hand with all the revelry surrounding the tournament will be the usual Heritage experience—a first-rate party, some of the biggest names in golf and an extraordinary chance for our community’s many charitable organizations to reap the benefits.

This year, the island’s biggest social event will enjoy open-air refreshment at a craft beer garden on 15, adding to an environment that already feels, at times, like a massive party to which someone invited some golfers.
Even that will be changed this year with an exceptionally strong field at an event that has consistently courted some of the best in the game. The big buzz this year surrounds the return of No. 1 golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, to Harbour Town after nearly a decade away. But DJ is not alone. Returning champ Wesley Bryan will be here as well as other returning champs Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, and Brandt Snedeker.
And of course, there is the millions of dollars that will be donated to area charities by the Heritage Classic Foundation after the tournament.

“There have been changes over the years as the incredible Heritage team has taken it to the pinnacle of excellence and recognition. Even more important to me are the things that haven’t changed,” said 2018 Tournament Chairman Jim Chaffin. “That first year, vendor locations were given to local charities. That first year, Charles and Joe made the decision to give those locations to area charities rather than sell them to businesses. Today, that mission of the foundation remains to improve lives throughout the state of South Carolina. While we acknowledge the importance of one of the strongest fields on the tour, competing on one of the finest golf courses on the tour, I would humbly suggest to you that the Heritage is about more than just golf.”
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New Tournament Hot Spots
The Youth Zone presented by RLB Squared, Mikkelson Law Firm and Kinghorn Insurance and in support of the First Tee of the Lowcountry is the newest destination on the Heritage Lawn. Featuring a six-hole putting course and two swing bays, this is the place for families and kids to check out during tournament week. You must be 15 years or younger to participate in the Youth Zone. While you are there, how about cooling off with a shaved ice from Kona Ice?

Introducing the Craft Beer Garden. This new destination is located behind the 15th green and is open to all RBC Heritage ticket holders. Need a place to unwind and catch up with friends? Come relax with your favorite Anheuser Busch product. Must be 21 and older.

Looking for fresh, local food at the RBC Heritage? Come to the Certified SC Grown Food Truck, conveniently located behind the 18th green near the Ultra Club. Enjoy oyster po-boys, barbecue bowls, collard slaw and quail sliders—100 percent Southern, and 100 percent Certified SC Grown.

Wine at Nine is an upscale outdoor venue between hole #1 and 9, where wine lovers have an opportunity to watch the tournament and enjoy wines from premium wineries. This year, they will be serving up delicious glasses of wine from Meiomi, Kim Crawford, Ruffino Estates and Charles Smith Winery. Fun extras include a photo booth with lots of props, sunglasses giveaway on Friday and a wineglass giveaway on Saturday. Cheers to 50 years!

Open to all spectators of legal drinking age, Tito’s Stillhouse is a semi open-air venue on the Heritage Lawn. This year’s lounge will feature delicious handcrafted cocktails, and an interactive photo station to capture your favorite moments during tournament week. We hope to see you there, and Cheers to 50 years!

It’s not the same old 19th hole. This year the Ultra Club behind the 18th hole will feature a new modern look as you enjoy your favorite Anheuser Busch beverage and peer over the Calibogue Sound. Must be legal drinking age.

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FOUR REASONS WHY THIS IS THE MOST SOUTH CAROLINA HERITAGE EVER
By virtue of being held in the state of South Carolina, the Heritage tends to represent the Palmetto State pretty well. But this year, there’s a heck of a lot of South Carolina pride going around. Here are four reasons why this is the most South Carolina Heritage ever.

1. Defending champ Wesley Bryan
Despite having been in existence since 1969, hosting some of the biggest names in golf, the Heritage had never had a South Carolina-born champion until Wesley Bryan edged out Luke Donald to don the tartan jacket. Although it was his first attempt at the Heritage, he knew the course well, having watched his dad compete in 2004. In addition, this native of Irmo had competed in the Sea Pines Junior Heritage and the Players Amateur before his first Heritage.

“What a way to celebrate 50 years,” said Harbour Town’s Head Golf Pro John Farrell. “Our first time in 50 years to have a home-grown champion.”

2. The Return of Dustin Johnson
The last time Dustin Johnson played in the Heritage was 2009. Nearly a decade later, he makes his return as the No. 1 golfer in the world. Buzz doesn’t even begin to describe the excitement around Johnson’s return to the Heritage. The Heritage has always produced a quality field, but DJ is on a hot streak right now, coming off his second win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions that puts him in the company of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only golfers to reach 17 PGA Tour wins before age 34.

“I am excited to get back to my home state to help celebrate this important milestone,” Johnson said. “The RBC Heritage means so much to Hilton Head Island and South Carolina.”

3. The Tartan Invitational
A new event added this year pumps up the Palmetto Pride with a slew of local celebrities. The Tartan Invitational will be held April 11 at Atlantic Dunes, hosting a field of 80 players who get to tee it up with famous South Carolinians from athletes to reality stars. Each group will get one special guest from a field of high-profile Palmetto Staters including Stan Smith, George Rogers, Steve Fuller, Sterling Sharpe, Bobby Cremins and Shep Rose. Obviously, such a prestigious event comes with a steep cost for entry ($10,000 for a foursome), but proceeds will go to South Carolina Junior Golf Association and the Heritage Classic Foundation. So, you’re not just impressing home-grown celebrities with your short game; as Tournament Director Steve Wilmot said, you’re “investing in the future of South Carolina.”

4. We’re Inviting Charleston This Year
Welcome to the lower 843, Charleston. As a way of welcoming our neighbors to the north, this year will see the addition of a new Skybox at the tournament, the Charleston Club. Here, some of the Holy City’s high rollers can enjoy skybox-style amenities and jaw-dropping views of Harbour Town’s famed eighteenth hole.

“The Charleston Club is a way for us to offer the Charleston community a unique experience, personalized just for them,” Wilmot said. It can be a bit of a trip down 17, but the Heritage is making sure Chucktown’s business community feels welcome once they get here.
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50 THINGS ALSO TURNING 50 (OR 49) THIS YEAR
While this year marks the fiftieth Heritage, we have to admit we’ve been reaching for the calculator over the slogan “Cheers to 50 Years.” Now double-check our math, but the first tournament was held in 1969, so wouldn’t that be 49 years?

The official word from Heritage officials is that they’re considering the first tournament as year one, unlike birthdays which begin the count at zero. And frankly, we’re so excited for the tournament, we don’t care what number they use. So, whether you consider it 50 or 49 years, here are a few more things celebrating this year.

- Hot Wheels introduced Jan. 4, 1968
- Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In premieres on Jan. 22, 1968
- The Tet Offensive is launched on Jan. 30, 1968
- Madison Square Garden opens in its current location on Feb. 11, 1968
- 2001: A Space Odyssey premieres on April 2, 1968
- Planet of the Apes premieres on April 3, 1968
- Martin Luther King, Jr. dies on April 4, 1968
- The United Methodist Church is founded on April 23, 1968
- Hair opens on Broadway on April 29, 1968
- Apple Records is founded by The Beatles on May 14, 1968
- Robert Kennedy dies on June 5, 1968
- One Life to Live premieres on July 15, 1968
- Intel is founded on July 18, 1968
- The first International Special Olympics Summer Games is held on July 20, 1968
- Swaziland becomes independent on Sept. 6, 1968
- 60 Minutes debuts on Sept. 24, 1968
- The Boeing 747 is unveiled on Sept. 30, 1968
- Night of the Living Dead premieres in the U.S. Oct. 1, 1968
- NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission on Oct. 11, 1968
- Led Zeppelin’s first live performance, Oct. 15, 1968
- Richard Nixon is elected president, Nov. 5, 1968
- Yale University announces plans to admit women on Nov. 14, 1968
- The infamous “Heidi Bowl” occurs on Nov. 17, 1968
- The White Album is released on Nov. 22, 1968
- The “Mother of All Demos” introduces the public to hypertext, word processing and the computer mouse on Dec. 9, 1968
- Elvis begins recording his comeback sessions on Jan. 26, 1969
- The Beatles give their last public performance on Jan. 30, 1969
- The final edition of The Saturday Evening Post hits stands on Feb. 8, 1969
- The Boeing 747 makes its first flight on Feb. 9, 1969
- The U.S. Navy establishes Top Gun on March 3, 1969
- Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather is published on March 10, 1969
- The first temporary artificial heart is implanted April 4, 1969
- The first case of HIV/AIDS is confirmed on May 15, 1969
- The Cuyahoga River catches fire on June 22, 1969
- The Stonewall Riots spark the gay rights movement on June 28, 1969
- Apollo 11 Lands on the moon on July 20, 1969
- The Haunted Mansion opens at Disneyland on Aug. 9, 1969
- Captain D’s Seafood is founded on Aug. 15, 1969
- The Woodstock Festival is held on Aug. 15, 1969
- The first Gap store opens on Aug. 21, 1969
- The first ATM is installed on Sept. 2, 1969
- Scooby-Doo premieres on Sept. 13, 1969
- The Beatles release Abbey Road on Sept. 26, 1969
- The Brady Bunch premieres on Sept. 26, 1969
- Monty Python’s Flying Circus premieres on Oct. 5, 1969
- The first message is sent over ARPANET on Oct. 29, 1969
- Sesame Street premieres on Nov. 10, 1969
- Dave Thomas opens the first Wendy’s on Nov. 15, 1969
- The Heritage Classic tees off for the first time on Nov. 27, 1969
- The Boeing 747 makes its first passenger flight (yes, we’ve mentioned them three times. Their name’s on the sign, okay?) on Dec. 2, 1969
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Other gold things we love
Plaid is going gold this year as the Heritage says Cheers to 50 Years. As the island’s favorite golf tournament celebrates a golden anniversary, we thought we’d toast a few other gold things we love:

Goldfinger: It’s a scientific fact that nobody has ever been as cool as Sean Connery was in this movie. Sure, the misogyny and alcoholism look a little tragic viewed through the lens of history, but if Bond aged well, they wouldn’t have to keep replacing him.

The Gold Standard: Oh sure, let’s just base our currency off of happy thoughts because Richard Nixon thought it was a good idea.

Golden Grahams: They don’t taste like graham crackers, and they turn to straight up mush after five seconds in milk, but man are they tasty.

Goldschlager: Ah, the sweet nectar of college-era poor decisions. People either love or hate the sickly cinnamon sweetness; either way, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the tiny flakes of 24k gold floating in it while your roommate dry heaves in the trashcan.

Wonder Woman’s Golden Lariat: It makes evil doers tell the truth and it’s a great fashion accessory. Win/win.

The Golden Girls: Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia. Has television accomplished anything since this cultural zenith that could rival their unique chemistry and comedic brilliance? We don’t think so. And for that, we thank you for being a friend.

The Golden Fleece: If there’s one thing that’s definitely worth sacrificing a few dozen Argonauts over, it’s a comfy pullover.

The Golden Rule: Do unto others, then run like the wind. Wait, that can’t be right.

The Golden Globes: It’s like a practice run for the Emmys and the Oscars, but tailor-made for people who are way into awards shows that don’t matter.

The Golden State Warriors: Um… nobody reading this is from Ohio, right? Whoops, sorry Cavs fans.

Goldfish: Best carnival prize ever. We may eventually flush you down the toilet, but we’ll never flush you from our heart.

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