Representatives from sponsors RBC and Boeing were on hand Monday at Harbour Town Golf Links, along with local dignitaries and tournament officials as well as PGA Tour administration, but the annual Media Day for the 51st RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing was mostly a low-key affair.
And that’s OK.
The absence of any major breaking news was indicative of the fact the tournament is on stable ground, with RBC and Boeing entering their eighth year as the event’s top sponsors, and the Heritage comfortably situated in its traditional spot on the calendar — the week after the Masters — even amid sweeping changes to the PGA Tour schedule.
Indeed, Media Day mostly consisted of looking back at some of the highlights from the past year — including the Heritage being honored by the PGA Tour for the Best Integrated Marketing Plan and Best Special Event, and Heritage Classic Foundation beneficiary Second Helpings earning PGA Tour Charity of the Year honors. Second Helpings received an additional $30,000 grant from the PGA Tour for the award, adding to the record $33 million charitable impact the Heritage had on the community in the past year.
New tournament chairman Al Kennickell also shared a time-lapse video of his company, The Kennickell Group, affixing plaid stripes to the iconic Harbour Town lighthouse, where they will remain until after this year’s tournament from April 15-21.
Looking ahead to this year’s event, tournament director Steve Wilmot announced some minor tweaks, including an expanded Patriots’ Outpost for veterans and active-duty military at No. 7, a new “9 & 9” format for the Wednesday Pro-Am in which amateur participants will play nine holes each with two different pros instead of playing a full 18 with one pro, the addition of the Coca-Cola Kitchen on the Heritage Lawn, a new golf and skybox bundle that includes a Wednesday round at Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III and a Thursday ticket with skybox access, and a full slate of Easter Sunday events — including moving the sunrise service from the 18th green to the Liberty Oak.
The tournament also announced Monday that Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira will return to defend his title.
Kodaira made a 25-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole of the 2018 Heritage to defeat Si Woo Kim after coming from six shots behind in the final round for his first PGA Tour victory.
The 29-year-old has earned eight international victories and is currently 58th in the Official World Golf Rankings.