RBC Heritage

World’s No. 1 golfer comes to Hilton Head with the PGA Tour and wins a — what?

Pros Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson play cornhole, PGA Tour style

SC native Dustin Johnson and NC native Webb Simpson participate in "Battle of the Carolinas"
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SC native Dustin Johnson and NC native Webb Simpson participate in "Battle of the Carolinas"

Just when you thought the highfalutin traveling show known as the PGA Tour has taken away what little Hilton Head Island had left of the real Lowcountry, there’s this.

Two of the best golfers in the world were seen competing on Wednesday for a deer head and a squirrel in the form of golf headcovers.

For the record, Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world — who has, in other news, won $3.9 million so far this year — won a so-called skills contest against Webb Simpson, the No. 20 golfer on the planet with $1.5 million in winnings.

His prize was the coveted fuzzy deer headcover.

My only golf tip to Johnson is this: Don’t venture too far into the real Lowcountry with your prize, son, or you might get shot.

Highly paid professionals were taking photos and video of this standoff, which thrilled fans of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing during Wednesday’s RBC Pro-Am at Harbour Town.

I didn’t have the nerve to tell them that pictures of deer in the Lowcountry aren’t usually taken on the swell Heritage Lawn by the 18th tee of the Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines.

Usually, Lowcountry deer that make the news are pictured in the bed of a pickup truck with a heavily armed mighty hunter standing nearby, grinning through camouflaged teeth.

But this photo-op was a fan-friendly contest of fun and silliness between two star players who are among the stable of “ambassadors” on tour for the Royal Bank of Canada, the tournament sponsor and a great friend of Hilton Head and the game of golf worldwide.

The contest was called the “Battle of the Carolinas.”

Johnson, born in Columbia, which has been famously hot since Sherman passed through, represented South Carolina.

Simpson, born in Raleigh, the capital city where Barney Fife stayed at the YMCA, represented North Carolina.

First, they did a trick shot, banging a golf ball off the big RBC sign at the Heritage Lawn archway. They did “chipping meets cornhole” by hitting balls into something called a “Chippo.” And they putted on a wavy surface of fake grass.

Johnson’s older brother and caddie, Austin, actually won the day by using his one good hand to out-putt his famous brother, as well as Simpson’s caddy, Paul Tesori, to win the deer head.

In the Lowcountry, it wouldn’t be a deer, it would be a “dyah.”

But during Heritage week, all you’ll hear about is “byah.”

The whitetail deer is the official state animal of South Carolina.

They are known to run 40 mph, jump 9-foot fences and swim at 13 mph.

On Hilton Head, they’re better known for running into cars. And eating the geraniums. And impatiens. And anything else that actually looks nice. They’re also known for reproducing like rabbits.

The squirrel is North Carolina’s official state mammal. But they would be better known to the home folks as Brunswick stew.

The Lowcountry is also inundated with squirrels, and we’ve yet to figure out their purpose in life, unless it is to go into the attic, mess things up, and spitefully die in a spot that can’t be reached by a crab net.

But since the golfers are interested, let me suggest that instead of sending the Heritage winner home with 1.2 million dollars, we give him 1.2 million squirrels.

And a big Lowcounty “thank yew” for finally doing something on the golf course that we mortals can actually understand.

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