Interactive spectator area, expanded field, new donation program in store for 2013 Heritage

By Lance Hanlin

One of the PGA Tour’s best parties will have the ultimate hangout spot this year.

RBC Heritage officials used Sponsor Day to announce a new interactive spectator area called the Heritage Lawn for the 2013 tournament. The area will feature the tournament’s first Jumbotron video screen along with concessions, a Grey Goose lounge, several hospitality tents and an expo village.

It will be located along the 17th green and 18th tee box, where the CBS Sports compound has traditionally been.

 “It’s going to be where everybody wants to be,” said Bill Wagner, sales director for the tournament, set for April 15-21 at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The Heritage Lawn and several other changes were announced Dec. 3 during the annual Sponsor Day at the Harbour Town Golf Links Conference Center.

Another change will be the size of the player field, moving from 132 golfers to 144. The Heritage is one of four invitational tournaments on the PGA Tour and prides itself on smaller, stronger fields.

The increase is a result of sweeping changes made to the PGA Tour’s qualifying process. Starting in October, tour cards will be given to the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup points standings. Other golfers will have to qualify through the developmental Web.com Tour.

Golfers have just 25 events this year to earn points towards next year’s status. To give current players more opportunities to secure tour cards, the Heritage and several other tournaments in 2013 are featuring larger fields.
Tournament director Steve Wilmot expects the first two rounds will last an extra hour as a result.
“It creates some logistics for us, but we’re certainly going to try to get the best players in the world here,” Wilmot said. “It will be for one year.”

Heritage Classic Foundation chairman Simon Fraser also announced a new philanthropic initiative called Heritage Champions Fore Charity. For a minimum donation of $1,000 to the foundation, donors can decide which approved charity the money goes to. The foundation will match 20 percent of the donation, up to $5,000, to the selected charity.

“You may already be giving to a local charity, but by teaming up with the Heritage Classic Foundation, your favorite charity will get even more,” Fraser said. “Hopefully our overall charitable impact will grow, it will drive support of the tournament and will be a win-win for everyone.”

Donors will also receive special benefits during tournament week, such as tickets to special functions, discount cards and the opportunity to purchase enhanced credentials.

The Heritage Classic Foundation has raised more than $23 million since its inception in 1987. That statistic is a big reason why Boeing has agreed to be a presenting sponsor through 2016.

“Our participation here was premised with the fact that we would be contributing to charity,” said John Moloney, senior director for state and local government at Boeing. “You don’t just want to have a golf tournament, you want to contribute to the community. We just don’t want to make airplanes in South Carolina, we want to be part of the community. This tournament allows us a great opportunity to do that.”

Boeing, which has an assembly plant in North Charleston, showcased its 787 Dreamliner during a low-altitude flyover of the 18th green during the second round of last year’s tournament. Moloney didn’t promise another flyover this year but did say vice president and general manager Jack Jones is looking into it.

Title sponsor RBC Bank was also represented at Sponsor Day. While standing at the podium in front of a sea of plaid, RBC manager for sports brand marketing Matt McGlynn remembered a conference call he had with Wilmot two years ago.

“When we first started to talk sponsorship, I proposed to change the tartan to RBC blue,” McGlynn said. “If you listened, you could hear crickets and a tumbleweed roll from my office. It was a firm no. We understand now.”

TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Tickets for the 45th RBC Heritage can be purchased online at www.rbeheritage.com or by calling tournament headquarters at 843-671-2448. Ages 15 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Ticket options are:
Clubhouse Badge: $190. Offers access to the tournament grounds for all seven days of the event. Includes admission to the clubhouse featuring private restrooms and the Heritage Pavilion. Two on-course hospitality venues available with food and beverage for purchase.
Grounds Badge: $150. Access to the tournament grounds for all seven days of the event.
Arnold Palmer Pass: $395. Enhanced ticket booklet grants access to two private entertainment venues. Access to the tournament grounds and clubhouse for all seven days of the event. Admission to two on-course climate controlled venues on holes 15 and 18, Thursday through Sunday. A daily buffet, draft beer, wine and soft drinks included at both venues. Spirits are available for purchase.
Daily tickets: Friday and Saturday tickets are priced at $60 each. Thursday and Sunday are $50 each. Access to the tournament grounds. Prices increase $10 per ticket during tournament week.
Practice round tickets: $35. Access to the practice rounds and Pro-Ams Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of tournament week. Autographs and cameras welcome.

DETAILS
What: 45th RBC Heritage, PGA Tour event
When: April 15-21
Where: Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island
Purse: $5.8 million. Winner's share $1,044,000
History: Harbour Town Golf Links was designed by Pete Dye, in consultation with Jack Nicklaus, in the fall of 1969. Several past champions including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer, Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Tom Watson and the late Payne Stewart have become enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Contributions: More than $23 million has been distributed to those in need throughout South Carolina and Georgia since 1987. In 2012, $1.5 million was distributed to charitable organizations, the arts, medical institutions and for college scholarships.
Economic Impact: Each year RBC Heritage pumps an estimated $82 million into the state of South Carolina’s economy.
Demographics: 55 percent of spectators have an annual income more than $100,000; 62 percent are 55 and older; 64 percent completed a four-year college degree
Volunteer Effort: More than 1,200 volunteers work throughout tournament week.
Attendance: An estimated 100,000 people attend the RBC Heritage each year.
Television Schedule: The Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 3- 6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m.; CBS Sports, Saturday - Sunday, 3-6 p.m.
Sirius/XM Satellite Radio: Channel 146; Thursday-Sunday, noon- 6 p.m.
* Source: Heritage Classic Foundation





 

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