RBC Heritage pro-am tees off Wednesday

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 6:19 AM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Things are about to really pick up on Hilton Head Island as the RBC Heritage pro-am tees off Wednesday morning.

Opening ceremonies officially kicked off the tournament Tuesday.

In a sign of just how excited people are for this year’s tournament, organizers say Tuesday’s opening ceremony was the most crowded they’ve ever seen.

The ceremonies were capped off with the iconic cannon fire and first tee into the Calibogue Sound by reigning champ Jordan Spieth.

Before that, Spieth and tournament officials led a parade from the Harbour Town Yacht Basin to the 18th green.

Spieth watched the ceremony from the other side of the green last year, but he said actually participating in it as this tournament’s reigning champ was a dream come true.

During their remarks, organizers highlighted the impact this tournament has on this community, bringing with it both an economic boost and a high level of golf.

“Being mayor for the first time, being able to do the opening ceremonies, it’s just a blessing. I couldn’t have imagined it. To still have the tournament here after 55 years, that in itself is a real blessing,” said Mayor Allen Perry.

There was also a big emphasis on the tournament’s charity, announcing earlier this week that donations have passed $50 million dollars.

We’re still just over a day away from tournament play, but the days leading up to Thursday have been sold out.

Many fans said they were excited to come out and watch some of the world’s best golfers take part in practice rounds.

It was their first time to see players tee off at Harbour Town before the actual tournament begins. The big names are drawing big crowds. 17 of the top 20 players are set to play in the tournament this week.

WTOC talked with one man who says he’s been coming to the Heritage for years. He says he’s never seen a Tuesday as busy as this year’s.

And with $20-million on the line this weekend, he says his anticipation is greater than it’s ever been before.

“Higher, higher. Just because of the sign ups, right? Just at terrific, really strong field this year. On the tail end of The Masters, it’s unusual, but it’s great to have a field that looks like this. Love to come during the practice rounds. The guys are a little more calm, they’re more casual, you can get up a little closer. It’s always a treat and I love coming here every year,” said Mike Webster.

Many tournament officials have described this year as feeling like five Saturdays, meaning each day is going to see a lot of crowds. They say that if these past two days are any indication, the actual tournament play will be a weekend full of great golf.

More than 200 amateurs are playing in addition to almost 100 PGA Tour pros. Tournament staff say it can feel like it if they get through pro-am day, the rest of the week is easy.