HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Unlike last week at Colonial, which is ringed by a 6-foot fence and no on-course housing, the RBC Heritage was never going to be a completely fan-free event.
The PGA Tour plans to play the first five events back after the COVID-19 quarantine without paying patrons, but this week’s stop at Harbour Town Golf Links has some spectators, with condos and houses lining almost every fairway.
Friday morning, Webb Simpson rolled in a 38-footer for birdie on the 18th green and was pleasantly surprised to hear cheers coming from a nearby house.
“It was actually nice. My caddie Paul [Tesori], we made a long putt there, and he said, ‘It feels nice to have some fans out in their houses on their porches and cheering for us,’” said Simpson, who leads the event at 12 under par. “That felt good. It felt kind of like back to normal a little bit. I miss the fans. I miss hearing those roars when my putts go in.”
Players expect even more “fans” on the weekend at Harbour Town and will likely experience the same thing next week at the Travelers Championship, which is played on a similar residential course (TPC River Highlands).