RBC Heritage working to keep backing

By Associated PressApril 24, 2014, 11:37 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - RBC Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot doesn't want to return to the dark, sponsor-less days of just a few years ago when his longtime PGA Tour stop didn't know if it would make it through to the next year. So everyone connected with the event is making sure that won't happen.

New construction on a $20 million clubhouse at Harbour Town Golf Links started shortly after Matt Kuchar's hole-out on the 72nd hole lifted him to victory Sunday. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was there early in the week to participate in discussions with lead sponsors Royal Bank of Canada and Boeing to extend backing past the five-year deal that ends in 2016.

There are new parking strategies ahead to help beautify the island that were tested this past week when rain swamped many of the grassy, field areas where spectators and volunteers have parked practically since the tournament began in 1969.

And there's a new luxury hotel ahead for the grounds to help increase the number of clients and officials sponsors might entertain during tournament week.

''Sea Pines is making a commitment and obviously the Tour has to be in,'' Wilmot said. ''And then then sponsors. But it's better than when it was a 'no.'''

That came before the 2010 tournament when longtime event sponsor Verizon announced it was ending its ties to the tournament. A search for sponsorship went beyond the 2011 event when the Heritage Classic Foundation had to spend some $4 million in reserve funds along with about $1 million in local government help keep things going that year.

In June of 2011, the tour, state and federal leaders and Wilmot's organization announced the deal that brought in RBC, which has long sponsored golf, and Boeing, which had recently opened a major manufacturing facility about two hours north of the course.

Things have gone well the past three years. But the island facility knew it faced challenges to keep pace with some of the larger country clubs and made-for-TV golf facilities that host PGA Tour events.

The new clubhouse, which has been there since the tournament began 45 years ago, will increase from 11,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet and have room for 150 full-size lockers. There will also be an art gallery to display oil portraits of RBC Heritage champions through the years, a new restaurant and expanded pro shop among other amenities.

It's expected to be complete in time for next year's tournament.

The clubhouse is part of some $50 million in upgrades around the resort for year-round visitors, residents and tournament attendees.

A wrinkle in sponsorship talks could be the pending retirement of RBC chief executive officer Gord Nixon next summer, Wilmot said. Nixon has been a fan of golf and Hilton Head since the deal, Wilmot says, and his departure could impact whether the company goes forward past 2i016.

''That being said, Boeing's a big company and they're not going away,'' Wilmot said.

It shouldn't hurt the tournament's cause that four of RBC's golf ambassadors in Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell and Kuchar have won this event in the past five times it's been played. Another RBC-backed golfer, Luke Donald, has finished second or third here in five of the past six tournaments.

The RBC Heritage has the strong support of players, many who enjoy the laid-back atmosphere a few days after the pressure of Augusta National at the Masters. Kuchar said he enjoys spending time with his family here, hitting the beach and riding bikes during down time. ''It's one of the nicest stops we go to,'' Kuchar says.

There may be less traffic for cyclists to navigate at future events. Heavy rains forced officials to park fans and others outside the Sea Pines gates and bus them to the course. Wilmot said cars parked on grassy areas did not always go with the secluded, picturesque scenes officials want clients and sponsors to see.

''The rain just made us try it earlier and gave people the chance to see it working,'' he said.

Wilmot's confident a new deal will be done and he and others won't face another doomsday scenario to keep the event afloat. ''We can't do what we did before,'' Wilmot said. ''So let's try and take care of our sponsors and make sure they both feel at home.''

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Denied relief, Reed jokes: 'Guess my name needs to be Spieth'

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:45 pm

A rules controversy broke out during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational involving a player dressed in red and black, but it had nothing to do with Tiger Woods.

Patrick Reed was playing in the group in front of Woods for the second straight Sunday, and he became embroiled in a situation after launching his approach into an area of trees behind the 11th green. As captured by a fan video, Reed got into a lengthy discussion with an on-site rules official before being told that he would not receive the free relief he was requesting.

"I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys," Reed said, drawing laughs from a few gallery members.

Spieth and Reed have a successful history together as Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup partners. But last summer Spieth was at the center of the biggest rules decision of the year, when he dropped on the driving range during the final round of The Open after taking an unplayable lie from an errant drive.

After taking a penalty drop, Reed ended up making double bogey on No. 11 en route to a 1-under 71. He finished the week in a tie for seventh at 8 under.

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Ketel call: McIlroy toasts to Arnie, media at API

By Nick MentaMarch 19, 2018, 1:09 pm

Standing in the Doc Giffin media center Sunday night following his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy made a gesture that would have made Arnold Palmer proud.

Wearing his newly won red cardigan and handing out cups filled with the King's favorite, Ketel One vodka, McIlroy issued this toast to the assembled media:

"To Arnie!" McIlroy began his toast. "To Arnie, I guess. Thank you. Thanks to everyone. Thanks for covering. Thanks for making us seem better than we are. And, cheers. Thank you."

Nice to hear someone say something nice about the media. Back atcha, Rors.

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What's in the bag: API winner McIlroy

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 12:59 pm

Rory McIlroy closed in 64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here's a look inside the winners' bag.

Driver: TaylorMade M3 (8.5 degrees), with Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 70X shaft

Fairway woods: TaylorMade M3 (15 degrees) with Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80TX, (19 degrees) with Fujikura Rombax P95X shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4), P-730 RORS prototype (5-9), with Project X 7.0 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48, 52, 56 degrees), Hi-Toe(60 degrees), with Project X Rifle 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto prototype

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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API purse payout: What Rory, Tiger, field made

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 12:08 pm

Rory McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and collected one of the biggest non-major paychecks of the year. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Bay Hill.

1 Rory McIlroy -18 $1,602,000
2 Bryson DeChambeau -15 $961,200
3 Justin Rose -14 $605,200
4 Henrik Stenson -13 $427,200
T5 Tiger Woods -10 $356,000
T5 Ryan Moore -10 $320,400
T7 Marc Leishman -8 $249,992
T7 Kevin Chappell -8 $249,992
T7 Luke List -8 $249,992
T7 Sean O'Hair -8 $249,992
T7 Patrick Rodgers -8 $249,992
T7 Patrick Reed -8 $249,992
13 Chris Kirk -7 $186,900
T14 Kyle Stanley -6 $137,950
T14 Charles Howell III -6 $137,950
T14 Sam Horsfield -6 $137,950
T14 Bud Cauley -6 $137,950
T14 Grayson Murray -6 $137,950
T14 Byeong Hun An -6 $137,950
T14 Rickie Fowler -6 $137,950
T14 Charley Hoffman -6 $137,950
T22 Brian Gay -5 $89,000
T22 Harris English -5 $89,000
T22 Jason Day -5 $89,000
T22 Graeme McDowell -5 $89,000
T26 Tom Hoge -4 $59,319
T26 Martin Laird -4 $59,319
T26 Emiliano Grillo -4 $59,319
T26 Tommy Fleetwood -4 $59,319
T26 Francesco Molinari -4 $59,319
T26 Keegan Bradley -4 $59,319
T26 Zach Johnson -4 $59,319
T26 William McGirt -4 $59,319
T26 John Huh -4 $59,319
T26 Talor Gooch -4 $59,319
T36 Alex Noren -3 $41,919
T36 Kevin Na -3 $41,919
T36 Brandon Harkins -3 $41,919
T36 Brian Stuard -3 $41,919
T36 Austin Cook -3 $41,919
T41 Ian Poulter -2 $30,305
T41 C.T. Pan -2 $30,305
T41 Adam Scott -2 $30,305
T41 Aaron Wise -2 $30,305
T41 Kevin Streelman -2 $30,305
T41 J.B. Holmes -2 $30,305
T41 Jamie Lovemark -2 $30,305
T41 Ollie Schniederjans -2 $30,305
T49 Lucas Glover -1 $21,965
T49 Ernie Els -1 $21,965
T49 Hideki Matsuyama -1 $21,965
T49 Chesson Hadley -1 $21,965
T49 Sam Burns -1 $21,965
T54 Li HaoTong E $20,470
T54 Mackenzie Hughes E $20,470
T54 Brian Harman E $20,470
T54 Billy Horschel E $20,114