Beaufort News

Demaret play kicks off Legends of Golf week

When it became apparent that the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf -- Savannah's annual Champions Tour event -- would share a spot on the calendar with its PGA Tour sister, Hilton Head Island's Heritage PGA Tour event, tournament director Joe Rotellini admits his first thought was to wonder how the change might hurt his event.

But as the 34th annual Legends of Golf begins with team play in the 70-and-over Demaret Division today, Rotellini says the tournament is as healthy as ever.

"We're all set," Rotellini said. "We're ready to go."

One of the biggest concerns was whether the conflicting dates for the two tournaments would cause a volunteer crunch because of volunteers who usually work both events, but both Rotellini and Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot said their volunteer bases are as strong as in years past.

Rotellini also said pre-tournament ticket sales for Legends of Golf are better than last year by a slight margin.

That doesn't mean the double-dip didn't come with some logistical issues -- players arriving at the relatively small Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, for example -- but Rotellini said Heritage officials have been easy to work with, helping ensure things run smoothly.

He hopes that cooperative partnership continues next year, regardless of how the scheduled shakes out.

"I'm sure they're going to have a great tournament, and we feel good about what we're doing," Rotellini said. "At the end of the day, we're gong to say we had a great tournament, and we're going to get through this. We're all going to be OK.

"Next year, hopefully everything will be back to normal."