Golf

Bob Gillespie

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

RBC Heritage 2012: South Carolina’s PGA Tour tournament opens with a bang

Posted 4/9/2012 2:24:00 PM

Brandt Snedeker, as most of his predecessors also have, learned about one RBC Heritage tradition the hard way.

The defending champion, who in 2011 outlasted current world No. 1 Luke Donald in a sudden-death playoff, knew he would be taking part in Monday’s opening ceremonies for this week’s tournament. Tournament officials explained that as last year’s winner, he would hit the week’s first drive from Harbour Town Golf Links’ 18th green into Calibogue Sound, using a classic wooden golf club.

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE OPENING CEREMONY!

They also told Snedeker that as he hit his shot, a Revolutionary War-style cannon would fire an accompanying shot. They neglected to tell him how big a “bark” that old field piece has.

“The cannon was way louder than I anticipated,” Snedeker said with a laugh after the echoing boom. “I almost missed my tee shot.”

He wouldn’t have been the first to be rattled by the report. In his first turn as defending champion, two-time winner Boo Weekley (2007, 2008) nearly flung his classic club into the water as he reflexively ducked for cover.

Fans laughed and cheered Snedeker’s effort, though. The cannon blast officially kicked off what is expected to be a renewed week for the PGA Tour’s traditional “spring break” at Harbour Town.

Activities around the 1969 Pete Dye design began early Monday at Sea Pines Resort’s Plantation Club with registration for the Pro-Am Presented by Boeing, the first of two pro-and-amateur outings this week. The RBC Heritage Pro-Am takes place Wednesday.

At noon, the Heritage Parade began at the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town, ending at the 18th green. At 1 p.m., the afternoon wave in the pro-am teed off. The day’s events concluded with the Harbour Town Cup Pro-Am awards party, held in the Harbour Town Conference Center adjoining the clubhouse.

Snedeker, who finished even-par, 10 strokes behind winner Bubba Watson at the Masters, said he looks forward to his return to the site of last year’s win.

“I feel like I’m playing really well. I didn’t get a lot out of it (at Augusta),” he said. “(But) I feel good about (this) week, feel like my swing is pretty good and everything else is going pretty well.”

Snedeker also brings confidence from last April’s performance. He likes the fact the tournament has a history of champions getting multiple Heritage wins, notably Davis Love III (five titles), Weekley and Stewart Cink (2000, 2004).

“For sure,” he said. “I got some good mojo (from his 68-73 finish at the Masters), and I feel sure it’ll be good this week, too.” He also is glad to have fans recognize last year’s success. “It’s great to be here after the Masters, among a great community.”

In fact, Snedeker’s only concern this week, he suggested with a laugh, will be getting rid of that ringing in his ears from Monday’s “welcome.”

Tickets (week-long or daily) for the RBC Heritage can be purchased by calling (843) 671-2448, or go to www.rbcheritage.com.