Dave Wright of Columbia was in the media tent at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing on Saturday and Sunday, as he has been every year since the PGA Tour event began in 1969.
Wright was the morning disc jockey for WIS radio station in Columbia with a big following when he came to do 10 to 15 daily updates of five to 10 minutes each.
"It was me and 400 others in the gallery," he said of his first visit. "On the first day of the Heritage, I was on the verandah at the Harbour Town clubhouse and looked down the fairway to see everyone here. They were all drinking Bloody Marys. I said, 'Man, this is my kind of tournament.' "
Wright, 81, covered the Heritage for WIS radio and television, then later owned a different station until his retirement in 1997.
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He said Sea Pines founder Charles E. Fraser was wise to warmly welcome the press. He recalls writers from Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution being here for the first tournament, working out of a press room in the clubhouse basement.
"There was nothing on Hilton Head," he recalls. "We stayed at Port Royal Plantation."
He said, "Without the Heritage, Hilton Head would not have thrived the way it has."
But he doesn't think the economy was on many minds in the early galleries.
"I think they looked at it as another ballgame and a chance to have a drink or host a cocktail party," Wright said.
YARD PARTIES CLOSE TO ACTION
Neighbors Joan Taylor and Ginny Fister were busy Sunday explaining the correct way to pronounce Heritage champion Carl Pettersson's last name.
Joan was an English teacher; Fister was an English major.
"Two t's make a short vowel," making Pettersson much different from Peterson, Joan said.
Such was the talk beneath the magnolia in Ronald and Joan Taylor's back yard on Heritage Road. They live closest to the pin on the 8th hole of the Harbour Town Golf Links. The Taylors set up two rows of chairs at the edge of the lagoon across from the green.
Three doors down, Dick and Ginny Fister always serve a meal on their deck, beneath an Irish flag and a "Quiet" sign provided by marshals.
"We keep the alligators in line," Dick Fister said.
Several Heritage Road gators ambled across the fairway during the tournament.
"We think they have a sense for that and want the close-up shots on television," Joan Taylor said.
Their location also keeps them close to the humans walking the course.
When PGA Tour player Ricky Fowler noticed the small "OU" flag in the Taylor's yard last year, the former Oklahoma State player gave them a palms-up sign. This year, Joan and her friend Nancy Eldridge declared Thursday "Orange Day." Fowler noticed their orange garb and gave them a thumbs up.
On Friday, they wore two golf gloves and clapped and waved to Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, who waved back to them.
CLEMSON TIGERS ROAR ON 18TH
Clemson University put five players in this week's Heritage field, but it left town with many more alumni friends than that.
The Clemson Alumni Association had a tent at the 18th tee box to spread the word about its new Clemson Golf Paws program unveiled at the Masters. It raises money for the men's and new women's golf teams.
All five Tigers -- Lucas Glover, Kyle Stanley, D.J. Trahan, Tommy Biershenk and Corbin Mills -- dropped by the tent after the Heritage Pro-Am Wednesday. So did Billy D'Andrea, head of IPTAY, Clemson's primary athletic fundraising organization.
Throughout the tournament, the tent offered a place for Clemson grads to meet and greet each other. The association hoped to collect data and update contact information on 500 to 600 alumni.