Hoping for More Heritage

I’M AMONG THOSE WHO HOPE The Heritage can attract a title sponsor so it can stay on the PGA Tour schedule for its 44th year and beyond. I admit to being nostalgic. I’ve watched the tournament for a long time and know many of the holes and landmarks at Harbour Town Golf Links, even though I’ve never attended the event or played the golf course.

I even have some love for those loud Tartan sport coats that no one would be caught wearing outside of the club entrance gate. Here’s a partial list of the men in plaid:

Hoping for More Heritage 1Plaid Jackets

Davis Love 5

Hale Irwin 3

Johnny Miller 2

Hubert Green 2

Tom Watson 2

Fuzzy Zoeller 2

Payne Stewart 2

Stewart Cink 2

Opening in 1969, Harbour Town is old-school Pete Dye, with tight fairways, overhanging trees, sand, water and small greens. It’s certainly not a grip it and rip it layout. So it’s no surprise that straight hitters with stellar short games have excelled there. Winner Brian Gay overwhelmed the field in 2009 with his 20-under total, but no one else bettered 10 under. That’s Harbour Town. Posted by Brandt Snedeker and Luke Donald, yesterday’s winning score was 12 under, a testimony to the course’s difficulty.

Was it the last Heritage? As AP reported, there were rumors of a “Sunday surprise,” a new corporate sponsor to rescue the event as the sun set on the 2011 tournament. It didn’t happen.

“We will not be making any announcement regarding a new title sponsor today,” tournament director Steve Wilmot said on Sunday, “but the sponsorship search continues in earnest …. The efforts of the Foundation and the PGA Tour will continue with the care that The Heritage name and tradition deserves.”

If it was the last Heritage, then it was a fitting finish. Donald and Snedeker went three extra holes. They matched birdies on the par-4 18th and pars on the par-3 17th. Then Luke of Arabia failed to get up and down from a bunker after so many spectacular sand saves, and “Sneds” slipped on the Tartan coat. I hope he’s not the last man to wear plaid.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Photo credit: danperry.com, Flickr, Creative Commons license)

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Neil Sagebiel

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