A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS THAT ADD UP TO HILTON HEAD’S TOP EVENT
Golf is a game of numbers.
When it comes to scoring, the lowest number wins, of course, but we also focus on numbers when we talk about par, hole identifications, yardages, club identifications, placement on the leaderboard, and rankings, for example.
Some of the behind-the-scenes numbers at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing are less obvious, but equally important to the success of Hilton Head Island’s favorite event of the year.
BY THE NUMBERS
96 MILLION: The estimated annual economic impact, in dollars, that the RBC Heritage brings in each year. And that number is likely depressed somewhat in today’s dollars because the last economic impact study was conducted in 2014. Clemson University and the University of South Carolina Beaufort are teaming up to update the economic impact figures at this year’s event.
41 MILLION: The number of dollars in charitable contributions the Heritage Classic Foundation has distributed throughout South Carolina and Georgia since 1987, including a record $3.3 million in 2018. That figure includes more than $4 million in scholarships awarded to students in Beaufort and Jasper counties since 1993.
135,000: Attendance at the 2018 RBC Heritage, a tournament record. The event is also broadcast in 23 languages to 226 countries outside the U.S., reaching more than 1 billion households.
1,200: The number of volunteers who work the tournament, from the ubiquitous marshals and ShotLink scorers to shuttle drivers, couriers and various other positions — including caregivers for the players’ children during the week.
132: The number of players in the field for the Heritage, which includes eight sponsor exemptions (including the reigning champion of the Players Amateur at Berkeley Hall). Sponsor exemptions are granted to players who aren’t otherwise eligible using the PGA Tour’s tiered priority ranking. Last year’s field included players from 22 states and 16 countries.
FILLING THE FIELD
Even though some of the biggest names in golf don’t regularly play at the Heritage (cough, cough … Tiger) a ticket to Harbour Town Golf Links the week after the Masters is coveted by most of the world’s best golfers. While most PGA Tour events include 144 players, the Heritage is an invitational event that is limited to 132. Who gets in is determined by the PGA Tour’s priority ranking list, which sorts players into 39 categories that create a pecking order. Players with priority No. 1 (winners of PGA Championship or U.S. Open prior to 1970 or in the last five seasons and the current season) get first crack, followed by recent winners of other major championships and prominent events, and then various other qualifications, until the field is full. The tournament also gets eight sponsor exemptions it can grant to players not otherwise eligible, which often go to fan favorites or past Heritage champions whose priority rankings have slipped in recent years.