Though he doesn't hold the title of Head Ball Coach anymore, Steve Spurrier the golfer is always welcome at the RBC Heritage Pro-Am.
"We're holding a spot for him if he's interested," tournament director Steve Wilmot said Tuesday, hours after word filtered out that Spurrier would step down midway through his 11th season as South Carolina's head football coach.
"He's been a great supporter of ours over the years, as was Coach (Lou) Holtz before that. We're sorry to see him retire, but I guess he felt it was the right time and right place."
Spurrier has been part of the event's Wednesday pro-am every year since taking the USC job, occasionally celebrating his birthday (April 20) among the PGA Tour pros at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Though Spurrier turned 70 this year and shows off a less-than-classic swing -- wide stance and low, whipping finish like Arnold Palmer -- Sports Illustrated this spring listed his handicap as 9.7.
"I think I peaked as a 3- or 4-handicap when I was playing a lot back in the mid-'80s," Spurrier told Golf Channel's David Feherty this past summer. "That's the best I've ever played. But I can still scrape around in the 70s a bit."
Spurrier is an Augusta National member (as is Holtz), has recorded a hole-in-one there and boasts that he's never lost a round to any of his former players. When playing with Spurrier, expect no mulligans and to putt everything out.
"He's a good player now," Wilmot said. "If he gets out there and plays even more, who knows how good he can get?"
In a bit of an odd parallel, Spurrier's pro-am visit last spring also was cut short when storms rolled through midway through his round. Later, a security guard denied him entrance to the Sea Pines Conference Center until another pro-am attendee pointed out that he was the HBC.
That, of course, was the rare exception.
"He was a rock star down here, that's for sure," Wilmot said. "We're wishing him all the best."
Follow reporter Jeff Shain on Twitter at twitter.com/Jeff_Shain.