Beaufort News

Heritage seeks to avoid using county money

The Heritage golf tournament might not need Beaufort County's money after all.

The Heritage Classic Foundation, the nonprofit organization that runs Hilton Head Island's PGA Tour event, is trying not to use the $1 million it requested last month from the county, Ed Dowaschinski, the foundation's vice president of finance and administration, said Wednesday.

The Heritage's finances remain in flux as players tee off today at Harbour Town Golf Links, but it's possible the tournament will pay its bills without the county's money, particularly if ticket sales are strong this week, he said.

The tournament has paid its $2.3 million purse but will accumulate other bills for buses, portable toilets and other expenses this week, Dowaschinski said.

"Our intention is to use the money only if it is necessary to cover expenses," he said in an email. "Hopefully, the funds will not be necessary; therefore, it is my hope we will return the money to the county sometime after the tournament."

Last year, Hilton Head and Beaufort County each committed $1 million -- and the foundation pledged all $4 million of its reserves -- to secure a spot on this year's tour schedule.

During Monday's opening ceremony, speakers thanked the county, which called its commitment a loan. The county is not, however, recognized on a board of tournament sponsors near the course's 10th tee.

That board does bear the logo of the Town of Hilton Head Island, which didn't ask for anything in return and has accepted some of the TV ad time that would normally go to a title sponsor.

If the tournament does need the county money, the County Council's ordinance authorizing the loan provides three options: Lend the money with interest; sell the ad spots; or use the TV ad time to promote the county.

Should the county request ad time, the foundation will have some available, Dowaschinski said.

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