For Jeff Fisher, Beaufort native Mark Anderson's sparkling play over the weekend at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing was the saving grace of an otherwise lackluster week.
Fisher, the head professional at Lady's Island Country Club, said his golf course was slightly quieter than usual during the tournament held at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.
"We've had a little bit of a drop-off, as people headed down to the tournament," he said.
While Fisher said he was excited about Anderson's performance -- adding that many of those who did stop by asked about how he was playing -- he's not alone among Beaufort business owners lamenting the effects of the tournament.
Philip Carroway, director of sales at the Holiday Inn in Beaufort, said his hotel's occupancy rate was at 54 percent for both days this past weekend, well below its monthly average of 67 percent.
"It was not a great weekend," he said. "Certainly a lower rate than usual."
Fisher and Carroway's experience stands in stark contrast to those in Hilton Head's hospitality industry, which thrived during the tournament as thousands of golf enthusiasts descended upon the town.
Ticket sales for the 2012 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing were up about 10 percent over last year, according to Chris Tobia, ticket director for the Heritage Classic Foundation, which conducts the tournament.
Tobia, who said about 125,000 spectators came to Harbour Town Golf Links during the weeklong tournament, credited an improving economy and new sponsorship with attracting the largest attendance since the recession began in 2007.
"RBC and Boeing breathed new life into the tournament," he said. "It looked different, and it felt different."
Local hotels were among the biggest beneficiaries.
According to Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Charlie Clark, the average occupancy rate at a sampling of eight hotels peaked Friday at 97 percent.
That rate was 93 percent Thursday and 95 percent Saturday.
Clark said those statistics are only a "snapshot view" and do not account for home and villa rentals.
But Tom Ridgway, owner of Hilton Head Rentals and Golf, said he enjoyed a profitable week.
"For the week that ended this past Sunday, our occupancy rate was 98.5 percent," he said.
"In the last several years, due to the recession, we were absolutely not that busy. I'm very, very pleased with this, and it's a solid indicator of what should be a great travel season."
Ridgway also said the decline in the current week's occupancy rate, at 77 percent, is a testament to the importance of the tournament to the local hospitality industry.
"We're very thankful for the Heritage, and it's kept us exceptionally busy."