This Heritage likely last one unless sponsor found

By Associated PressFebruary 28, 2011, 11:24 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP)—Time is running out for the Heritage golftournament, the event that features the picturesque Harbour Town lighthouse.

PGA Tour vice president Ty Votaw said Monday the tournament has to find areplacement for longtime sponsor Verizon if it hopes to continue past April.

“I think it’s imperative for the long-term future of the event to secure atitle sponsor,” Votaw said.

The Heritage is scheduled for April 21-24 and, for the first time in 25years, won’t have Verizon as its main sponsor. The company announced nearly 18months ago that it would cease its major backing of the event after 2010.

Tour officials and tournament organizers have worked closely since then todiscover a replacement—without much luck.

“I’ve had to keep up on my blood pressure medicine,” Heritage tournamentdirector Steve Wilmot said.

The Heritage has been a springtime tradition for decades, as much for PeteDye’s maddening Harbour Town Golf Links as for its breezy, seaside setting atSea Pines Resort. The windswept 18th hole with its red-and-white stripedlighthouse in the background is one of the PGA Tour’s most enduring settings.

It was also a place for the pros who played to unwind and take a few breathsafter the pressure-cooker of the Masters, the year’s first major championship.

Ernie Els and his family were often seen riding bikes on Sea Pines’ narrowpathways, pros brought their families to the beach for some relaxation, and eventhe course—at just over 6,900 yards—was a welcome change.

“It’s the anti-Augusta,” two-time Heritage champion Stewart Cink said atlast year’s event.

Its list of champions include luminaries such as Arnold Palmer , JackNicklaus and Greg Norman . Jim Furyk took the title in a playoff last spring.

“We know we have the support of the players,” Wilmot said.

It’s the support of business that’s essential for the Heritage to survive,Votaw said.

The PGA Tour has either renewed sponsorship or found new backers at 27events since 2009, according to Votaw. He’s optimistic the Heritage can becomeNo. 28. Heritage and tour officials have talked with companies in recent weeksopen to more discussions about backing Hilton Head.

“We hope to be able to make a lot of people happy over the next severalweeks if those conversations continue in the manner they have,” Votaw said.

Wilmot says he’s gotten continued support from South Carolina leadership,including new Gov. Nikki Haley. At a tourism conference, Haley pledged to dowhat she could to assist the tournament in finding a backer.

The tournament commissioned a study last year that found the VerizonHeritage brought nearly $82 million to South Carolina and its coastal region.The survey was conducted by Clemson University’s International Institute forTourism Research and Development with help from USC Beaufort.

The Heritage ranks as one of the state’s highest-profile pro sporting eventsalongside the WTA’s Family Circle cup at Daniel Island and NASCAR’s Southern 500at Darlington Raceway.

The Heritage Classic Foundation scraped together whatever it could to put onthis year’s tournament. It depleted much of its reserves in underwriting a $4million guarantee to put on the 2011, Wilmot said. The town of Hilton Head alsovoted to give up to $1 million for the tournament if it can’t find a sponsor.

Wilmot will be traveling to PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Fla., in afew weeks to go over bottom-line scenarios to see if a 2012 Heritage ispossible.

“We’re approaching the 12th hour,” he said. “There is a sense of urgencyhere.”

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."