Beaufort News

Spurrier, Weekley draw a crowd at Heritage Pro-Am

Colt Davis waited patiently Wednesday in his wheelchair left of the 13th green, his right leg protruding under the yellow rope.

The Columbia resident hoped the garnet cast covering his broken right foot would catch Steve Spurrier's attention, but the South Carolina football coach exited on the other side of the green.

Davis lives in the same subdivision as Spurrier, Columbia's Woodcreek Farms, but said he doesn't want to bother Spurrier when he sees him at his home course.

"That's his safe haven," said Davis, who owns a construction company with business partner Bart Bartlett, who pushed Davis' wheelchair. "That's why you live there, for a little serenity. I feel like this is free game."

Spurrier, a regular at the Heritage Pro-Am at Harbour Town Golf Links in recent years and celebrating his 66th birthday, was a draw Wednesday to fans wanting a little interaction. Led by a marshal, spectators serenaded Spurrier with "Happy Birthday," on the first tee.

Playing with two-time Heritage champion Boo Weekley, the group provided some light moments for those following.

On the 18th tee, Weekley, an Alabama fan, pulled a Crimson Tide visor from his golf bag, switched it with the cap on his head and asked Spurrier to pose for a photo in front of the iconic lighthouse. Weekley tucked the visor back in his bag before the picture.

"I wasn't going to push my luck," Weekley said. "I had to get a picture with him."

Weekley said Spurrier hit the ball well but talked about how little he was able to work on his game. Spurrier, who recently finalized changes to his contract and wrapped up spring practice with the Gamecocks, lobbied hard for South Carolina's PGA Tour event after his round.

"It's a great test of golf," Spurrier said. "A lot of pros love coming here. You'd think they'd all want to come to Hilton Head."

Spurrier said he didn't play his best, but credited himself for finishing and not hitting any spectators. His highlight, on No. 12, came when he holed a lengthy putt for par and skipped across the green.

The Gamcocks coach signed autographs between holes and chatted with fans who yelled words of encouragement. A young boy asked Spurrier to come to his birthday party. Conversation in the gallery ranged from South Carolina's quarterback situation to its chances in the SEC East, and whether Weekley could win a third tartan jacket.

Facing a lengthy shot from a waste bunker on No. 15, Spurrier joked that he was going for the green in two before whipping a hybrid down the right side.

Spurrier's wife, Jerri, followed the group much of the day. As Davis wheeled himself around the No. 13 green to try to catch the coach on the next hole, a marshal raised the yellow rope to block his path. Davis leaned back, resigned to wait. Standing beside him was Jerri, who talked to Davis and Bartlett after Bartlett let slip they lived nearby. Jerri told Davis, from experience, not to come back too soon from his injury.

Davis and Bartlett are South Carolina football season ticket holders. Davis' Wednesday quest was for Steve Spurrier to sign his visor. But after several holes, he decided to abandon the idea.

"I'll just let him enjoy his day," Davis said.