Bob Gillespie



Heritage Friday: Golf Channel gives shout-out to S.C. Junior Golf; Rymer, not so much

Posted 4/19/2013 7:57:00 PM

Scott Rude figures to have a good laugh at Charlie Rymer’s expense Saturday morning – and the South Carolina Junior Golf Association will get a national plug on Golf Channel at the same time.

Rude, a producer with the 24-hour, all-things-golf channel, spent parts of Thursday and Friday at the RBC Heritage producing a two-minute video about the SCJGA for the “Morning Drive” program, which airs Saturday from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. The genesis was a T-shirt the SCJGA produced honoring former players who play or once played on the PGA Tour. The T-shirts are being handed out at the association’s tent on the 18th tee at Harbour Town Golf Links.

SCJGA director Chris Miller mailed a shirt to Rymer, a Fort Mill native and a host on
Morning Drive, who promised to talk about the association on the show. Rude, though, saw an opportunity to lampoon his colleague.

“We thought it’d be funny to go behind Charlie’s back and poke fun at him,” Rude said. “He’s so self-deprecating. This gives us a chance to spotlight the good players from South Carolina and ‘get’ Charlie, too.”

The fun began at the SCGA tent, where staff member James Park held up a T-shirt, said, “We don’t know how that got on there,” then marked out Rymer’s name with a Sharpie. Tour player William McGirt was shown looking at a banner of S.C. PGA Tour players – including Rymer, who played in the mid-1990s – and saying, “That must be a typo. How’d his name get on there?” And Tour veteran Jonathan Byrd appeared looking at a T-shirt before flinging it away in apparent disgust.

Miller said he looks forward to talking with Rymer – who is unaware of the joke – after Saturday’s telecast. “Charlie will get a laugh out of it,” he said. But the last laugh will belong to S.C. junior golf.

One week in March: For the first five full seasons of his PGA Tour career, Kevin Streelman was just another 30-something trying to make his name in professional golf. Then at last month’s Tampa Bay Classic, the 2001 Duke graduate who’s played the Tour full-time since 2008 captured his first victory, and his life changed.

“(It’s) not a ton different, but I do feel a bit freer to be in the position I am, say, in a week like this week,” he said Friday, after a 1-under par 70. That, combined with his opening 66, gave him a share of the second-round lead at 6-under.

“I’m not worried about a top-10 or top-5 (finish) or keeping (my) card. I can just go out and try to win a golf tournament. I think that frees me up a little bit.”

Trailing first-round leader Brian Davis by a shot on Thursday, Streelman briefly flirted with Friday’s solo lead, getting to 7-under with back-to-back birdies at Harbour Town’s Nos. 4 and 5. He bogeyed the par-4 eighth hole, then balanced a birdie and a bogey on the back nine, finishing tied with Charlie Hoffman (70) and rookie Steve LeBrun (a second 68) at the tournament’s midway point.

Before this year, Streelman’s best finish was a tie for third at the 2009 Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. “It almost hasn’t sunk in, to be honest,” he said of his win in Tampa. “To get the respect of my peers and to be in a position like this, I would say, are some of the biggest differences for me.”

Streelman’s comfort level also is enhanced by Harbour Town, which he likened to the Tampa’s Innisbrook course. “Just a slightly smaller version,” he said. “This is just a spectacular golf course. To me, it’s one of the best we play.

“I think most anyone will say (that), especially the veterans. You just have to respect it. You can’t overly attack it, and (you) kind of take what it gives you and hope your putter is hot.”

Up in the sky, Part II: Anyone who witnessed last year’s fly-over at Harbour Town’s 18th hole by a Boeing 787 and figured that moment would be hard to top, had to rethink things after Friday’s noon visit by an even larger Boeing jet, a 747-8 Intercontinental.

The monster plane (maximum weight at takeoff: 987,000 pounds), which employs four super-quiet General Electric Genx-2B67 engines compared to two by the 787, sailed eerily past the 18th tee, swooped along above the bordering condominiums and then banked left over Calibogue Sound before returning over the 18th-tee tented village. Cameras clicked and heads strained to take in the sight.

The 747-8, according to Boeing’s fact sheet, has made “double-digit improvements in fuel economy” as well as the largest passenger capacity (467) on the world market. The plane can cruise at Mach 0.86, or roughly 655 mph.

Friday’s jet flew considerably slower to maximize the view from the ground. As did its sister 787 in 2012, it was a spectacular way to kick off the tournament’s second round.

Come to my tent: Former Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer admits he’s not a golfer, but the RBC Heritage is an event that, for him, transcends the game. And where better to watch than from the S.C. Golf Association’s tent alongside Harbour Town’s 18th hole?

“I missed last year, but I was here for the previous 15,” he said Friday, watching at former Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd and playing partners Mark Wilson and Hunter Mahan made their way past en route to the fairway. “There’s no better way to showcase South Carolina; (the tournament) is a great tool to show the quality of life here, which is second to none.

Bauer joined SCGA staff members and guests for the noon fly-over of a Boeing 747-8, then stayed to take in the party scene. “I even put a photo on Facebook (Thursday),” he said, showing a shot of the iconic lighthouse at dusk on his cell phone.

The SCGA tent wasn’t the state’s lone representative at the new Heritage Lawn between the 17th and 18th holes. Next door, Clemson’s alumni tent was on site for its third year, offering roasted peanuts and other snacks and beverages, plus photos of the Tigers’ tournament participants (Byrd, Lucas Glover and Kyle Stanley).

“This is a place for Clemson fans to stop in and learn about giving back to Clemson,” said Heath Bradley, a Powdersville native and recent graduate. He said between 750-1,000 had dropped by in the tournament’s first two days.

Not do be outdone by their instate rivals, executive director Jack W. Claypoole greeted members of My Carolina Alumni Association and the Gamecock Club at another tent co-hosted by USC and USC Beaufort. “It’s our first year at the Heritage, and a great opportunity to connect with our Lowcountry alumni,” he said. “And by partnering with USC Beaufort, we let people know we’re all part of the same family.”

Kinsey Sheehan of the Alumni Association stood by with snacks and beverages. “It’s a great crowd so far,” she said. All three tents are open during tournament play through Sunday.