2018 is finally here!
It’s the year of the 50th annual RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. On beautiful Hilton Head Island. In April. Tito’s beverages in hand. Snow melted. Sun shining. “Plaid Nation” in action. The best party of the year. What more needs to be said? It will be here before we know it, in less than three months.
As we celebrate the milestone and future of the RBC Heritage, it’s also an opportunity to pay tribute to its dynamic history. Let me take you back to the beginning …
The very first Heritage was in November of 1969, Thanksgiving weekend, and captured the world’s attention when Arnold Palmer won after a winless 14 months.
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Charles Fraser, the beloved Sea Pines developer and mastermind, gave the first tournament on the newly created Harbour Town Golf Links a traditional twist by calling it the Heritage Classic.
Then, in 1987, the Heritage Classic Foundation was formed as the operational arm of the tournament, responsible for making it all happen in our community.
Back then, nearly everyone had to reach for a map to discover Hilton Head’s whereabouts. Would anyone show up on Thanksgiving weekend, especially to a remote, unknown spot? They came. And they are still coming.
Since that humble beginning, the tournament, of course, has changed with the times.
From those early Thanksgiving dates, it’s been moved to the second week in April.
The crowds and media exposure have also kept pace over the years. In fact, we get bigger and better with each tournament. We learn from the last and strive to make the next one the best yet. More than 100,000 fans attend the tournament each year.
Thousands volunteer their time and expertise.
Tourism and sales pump millions of dollars into the economies of Beaufort County and South Carolina. For that, we are incredibly grateful.
We are proud of where the tournament started, how far it’s come and where we stand today. The longevity of the RBC Heritage speaks volumes to the unwavering support of our fans, volunteers, sponsors, partners, dignitaries, trustees, board members and golfers who make this event possible each year.
I always say we work hard to be better, get better and do better, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the incredible team at the Heritage Classic Foundation makes me live that saying, because I watch them raise the bar each and every day.
I can’t wait for golf fans from across the state and country to experience what the RBC Heritage is all about and see what we have planned for our 50th anniversary.
We’re thankful for Plaid Nation, but most important, we’re thankful for you for making the 50th year of the RBC Heritage possible. As they say, there is no “I in team.” In all sincerity, thank you all for being part of this team, and this tournament.
The tournament is set for April 9-15. We hope to see you there.
So, say it with me: “Cheers to 50 Years!” We’ll be hearing that a lot around town these days.
Steve Wilmot is tournament director of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.