RBC Heritage

Hilton Head’s biggest drinking event of the year starts now. Hope you can handle it

“Wine at Nine” is one of the many places spectators at RBC Heritage presented by Boeing can grab a drink.
“Wine at Nine” is one of the many places spectators at RBC Heritage presented by Boeing can grab a drink. The Island Packet

Watch out for the untrained tournament triathletes out there, people.

There’s a lot of them.

They had a whole year to train for Hilton Head Island’s biggest drinking event of the year and yet here they are at the 51st RBC Heritage presented by Boeing golf tournament flexing like they can handle it.

Sure, they can fake their way through the main event — “watch the golf” — without having done much conditioning.

Big deal.

Mushy-limbed babies can do that with one little dimpled potato hand tied behind their backs — which is why their golf clap is so messed up.

But how about the other two events — that is, the walking and the drinking?

I’m concerned for them.

For instance, will they be able to make it to the “19th hole” without having to buy $85 flip-flops at a Heritage Lawn tent because no more Band-Aids will fit in their shoes?

My $85 is on “Sure. Maybe. I’ve seen some 5-inch wedges after 5 p.m.”

But this is where my faith in the under-trained tournament triathlete ends.

After all, this is the Heritage — Hilton Head Island’s biggest bar — and it beckons.

Tournament triathletes are not just mere spectators, mind you.

No. They are at Heritage to “win Heritage.”


Literally, they say this.

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What does “winning Heritage” mean to people who aren’t actually, like, “in” Heritage?

Excellent question.

Usually it just means you have to give them a little laugh of acknowledgment when they say “I’m winning Heritage!” and maybe high five them so they feel like the first and only person ever to have said this.

If history is any indicator, however, the triathletes who want to win — the people who yell “Day drinking!!!!” when you ask them “Are you going to Heritage this year?” — are nothing if not overconfident in their abilities to maintain a steady two-drink-per-hour split on their way to the finish line.

But we’ve seen them.

We know what reality looks like by 3 p.m. Saturday.

Do not throw water or fruit at them. This is not an actual triathlon.

Here is how you can help, though.

Mainly, you just need to assess what kind of drinker the triathlete is, then apply the following moral support:

The C Student

This triathlete ate two slices of toast with his breakfast this morning because someone told him it would absorb the alcohol he planned to drink later today. No one told the bread this, though.

Moral support: Just give him your hot dog bun. He has skated by thus far in life on his great-grandfather’s successes. Now is not the time to explain digestion to him.

The Uh-Oh

Oopsy. This poor triathlete got a little mixed up. She had too much fun in the Tito’s tent and has followed the wrong Lilly Pulitzer pattern all the way back to the 10th hole. She is now walking with a different friend group. She doesn’t want to say anything, though — mostly because she can’t. You will be able to identify her by a very specific look on her face that says, “Where did Kate, Kate, Kate and Taylor go?”

Moral support: Give her your tinted lip balm and fluff her hair for her. She’s going to need to make a really good first impression with this new group of friends.

The Bro-fessional

This guy is wearing colorful shorts that are way too small for him. He says this is how they are supposed to fit but naw, son. He brought his own koozie and is shouting golfers’ names like he knows these guys personally.

Moral support: Sell him something. He’ll totally buy it just to show you he can afford it.

The Sneaky Liar

This triathlete isn’t even drinking! That is the same glass of wine she had four hours ago and it’s water!

Moral support: Shake her hand. She might be president someday.

The Expert

This drinker is very well-informed about how the Heritage is supposed to work. VERY. You will notice him by how he’s complaining about everything and comparing it to how it was 20 years ago.

Moral support: Just nod a lot and say “Wow. Who knew?” then ask him if he’s been to the drum circle tent yet.

The Hunter

She is not drunk, she is just extraordinarily tired because when does it get easier? When will she meet a man who is not terrible? I mean, come on. At what point will the universe cooperate? He has to be here, right? Maybe he’s an RBC vice president? Maybe he’s a Boeing pilot? Maybe he’s a PGA Tour golfer? Maybe he’s .... this rugged-looking bartender? No! No more bartenders, Andrea. You promised yourself. Ugh!

Moral support: Actually she needs another drink. Could you get her one? She really can’t be trusted to ask the bartender.

And lastly,


This drinker is retired. He told his doctor he drinks one to two red wines a day at most — LOL. He meant bottles, not glasses. He chuckles about this even though his wife’s friends have started calling him Phil-sacea to his face.

Moral support: Do not give him any bread. Phil has eaten enough bread today.

May the best tournament triathlete win.

May it be Phil.