Feature

Good news and bad news for SC golf fans

What do you want to hear first?

The good news or the bad news?

The PGA Tour and the Korn-Ferry Tour both made news on the same day for golf fans in South Carolina.

Good News

Tournament Director Steve Wilmot and the 2020 RBC Heritage Chairman Cary Corbitt will host a PGA event at Harbour Town after the PGA Tour realigned its schedule. (GolfClub photo)

The good news is the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing is back on the PGA Tour schedule.

The tournament which was to be played this week will move into the spot vacated when the US Open was moved to the fall.

The new dates for the Heritage are June 18-21st. The US Open will be played at Winged Foot in New York starting on September 14th.

While the tournament will be played for the 52nd time it will be the first time the PGA Tour players will play the Harbour Town course the way it is played the other 51 weeks of the year.

There will be no grandstands, no concessions, no fans, but there will be TV cameras broadcasting the tournament. The Heritage will be the second event back on the revised schedule when the Tour resumes competition.

The Harbour Town Golf Links has been closed because of the pandemic, but like the majority of golf courses that  currently are not operating, routine maintenance has been ongoing.

The annual tournament has been a major fund raising event for charities throughout Hilton Head and the entire state of South Carolina.

CT Pan will have the opportunity to defend his title at the RBC Heritage in June. Pan and his wife snapped a selfie in front of his winner’s portrait at the recent media day at Harbour Town. (GolfClub photo)

This year there will not be any money raised for the Heritage Foundation, however there is still a major benefit to hosting the tournament for the Palmetto State.

Tournament officials have long maintained that the television broadcast, which showcases Hilton Head and the Low Country, is worth millions to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.

One of the casualties of the new schedule is the Wells-Fargo Championship. The tournament was scheduled to be played at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte starting on April 30th.

The PGA Tour suspended or cancelled all tournaments since the first round of The Players championship in March.

“Today’s announcement is another positive step for our fans and players as we look toward to the future,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.  “But as we’ve stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when – working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities – it is considered safe to do so under the guidance of the leading public health authorities,” he said.

The PGA Tour will continually review available COVID-19-related protocols that could be implemented at PGA TOUR events to ensure the health and well-being for all involved.

The BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation at the Thornblade Club and Cliff’s Valley has been cancelled for this year.. (GolfClub photo from Gwin Davis Media)

Bad News

The bad news is the BMW Charity Pro-Am for this year has been cancelled.

As part of the announcement, the BMW, and all related events scheduled from June 1-7, 2020 at Thornblade Club, The Cliffs Valley and other sites throughout the Upstate, have been cancelled.

The cancellation of the BMW event was expected. The tournament dates fell within the period during which the PGA Tour had cancelled events on the big tour and the Korn-Ferry Tour.

The Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh which was scheduled the week before the BMW tournament was also cancelled.

“As disappointing as this is for everyone involved, our number one priority is the health and safety of the community-at-large as well as the fans, volunteers, players and sponsors of the tournament,” said Bob Nitto, president of South Carolina Charities, Inc.

The uncertainty caused by the COVID 19 epidemic made it difficult to secure celebrity commitments to the tournament as well as local sponsors and pro-am participants.

By this date in past years, the tournament had announced a preliminary line-up of celebrities and companion events that helped make the BMW the most unique event on the Korn-Ferry Tour schedule.

Rhein Gibson won the 2019 BMW Charity Pro-Am at Thornblade.

The tournament has been a significant source of funds for many non-profit and charitable organizations in the Upstate. Since 2001, the tournament has distributed $13.6 million to numerous Upstate SC non-profit organizations.

“Despite the cancellation, the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation remains focused on
its mission to raise money and awareness for South Carolina charities and will be working to determine new ways to continue to make a positive impact on the Upstate,” added Nitto.

The Korn-Ferry Tour will return to competition with a new tournament to be contested in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the week of June 8-14.

The $600,000 event will be held at TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley Course) and operated by the Korn Ferry Tour without fans in attendance. The Dye’s Valley Course served as host of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship from 2013 through 2015.

The tournament will update opportunities to rollover sponsorships, playing opportunities and volunteer positions to the 2021 tournament on the event website @BMWCharityGolf.com.

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