PGA Championship titleholder Jason Day, now No. 2 in the world rankings, and World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els became the newest additions Thursday to join the lineup for next month’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.
Day’s record-setting triumph at Whistling Straits was one of five PGA Tour victories in a breakout season, propelling the Aussie briefly to the top of the rankings before Jordan Spieth reclaimed the spot by winning the FedExCup title.
Day has made four previous starts at Harbour Town, with one top-10 finish, and is returning for the first time since the 2013 edition. His caddie and mentor, Colin Swatton, has been a Lowcountry resident since 2009.
“There’s huge interest with Jason,” tournament director Steve Wilmot said. “It means so much to our loyal fans and sponsors that someone (of that stature) is making the commitment to join us.”
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Wilmot noted that he happened to run into Swatton last fall, “and he was quick to say, ‘See you in April.’ That was a good indication.”
Official confirmation didn’t come until late Wednesday, when Day added his name to the tournament’s commitment list.
Els will make his 17th start at Harbour Town, where he owns a trio of top-three finishes but has yet to don the tartan jacket. He was pipped by Boo Weekley’s back-to-back chip-ins in 2007, preceded by third-place finishes in 2000 and 2004.
“He was so close to winning for so many years,” Wilmot said. “Ernie’s certainly been in the hunt here.”
Els has won four major titles and 68 other tournaments worldwide, but is looking for his first victory since the European Tour’s BMW International in 2013.
Day and Els also are part of the RBC Ambassadors roster, which also includes reigning Heritage champion Jim Furyk and former winners Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell.
“They hired a great crew of players,” Furyk said earlier this week. “You’re looking at guys that typically fit the profile of (Harbour Town), very precision-oriented. This golf course fits that type of player very well.”
Snedeker, McDowell, Weekley and five-time champion Davis Love III were early commitments to the event, along with new Pebble Beach champion Vaughn Taylor and former European Ryder Cup star Paul Casey.
Daily tickets and weeklong badges can be purchased online at RBCHeritage.com or by calling the tournament office at 843-671-2448.