Weather muddies Heritage parking, but last-minute shifts going smoothly

newsroom@islandpacket.comApril 19, 2014 

Spectators going to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing will face major changes Saturday and Sunday due to the deluge of rain that hit Hilton Head Island Friday afternoon.

Parking lots in Sea Pines will be closed.

Fans who do not have number-specific parking hang tags were asked to park at Hilton Head Island High School, 70 Wilborn Road (click for map) early Saturday. By 11 a.m., the lot there was filling, and new arrivals are now asked to park at Honey Horn (click for map), which also is on Hilton Head Island's north end.

Buses began shuttling spectators to Harbour Town along William Hilton Parkway at 7 a.m. and will continue until one hour after play. Buses will stop at the will call office in the Sea Pines Welcome Center parking lot if necessary.

Spectators were being loaded and transported smoothly Saturday morning, and additional electronic road signs placed along U.S. 278 alerted tournament arrivals to the changes.

"We looked at all our options," tournament director Steve Wilmot said Friday. "We want to make everyone happy, but we can't. If someone can't look at this weather and understand, that's unfortunate."

The general spectator lots that cannot be used held roughly 3,000 vehicles, while the high school lot holds about 850. Honey Horn has considerably more capacity, but like most of the lots within Sea Pines, the grounds there are not paved.

Friday's second round was interrupted by rain, with 65 golfers yet to complete their rounds. About 2.7 inches of rain fell on Harbour Town Golf Links in a span of less than 24 hours, but the second round resumed as scheduled at 8 a.m. under a light drizzle. Golfers were allowed to improve their lies if their ball was not in a hazard. The PGA Tour will decide later whether to extend that allowance into the third round.

Electronic message boards on U.S. 278 were being changed Friday night to reflect the change, Wilmot said. Toby McSwain, a former Sheriff's Office employee and now Sea Pines' security chief, said electronic message boards were being brought in from other counties.

He said six cars were being towed Friday evening from a general parking lot by the Lawton Stables, which was largely lost to parking after Tuesday's rainfall.

The number of buses used to transport spectators from the general lots cannot be increased at this point, McSwain said. That same number of buses -- 15 -- will be used for the longer hauls.

Wilmot said the tournament was already working on options to move some parking outside of Sea Pines for future tournaments. No permanent changes have been finalized, he said.

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