The Heritage Classic has had a rich history since it held its first tournament in 1969 with Arnold Palmer donning the Tartan Plaid Jacket.
It has had several various sponsors over the years. MCI, WorldCom and Verizon have all taken turns being the title sponsor of this event.
Even with all of the history and tradition the Heritage has provided golf fans over the years, it found itself without a main sponsor in 2011. In today’s world of high finance and large purses required to attract the top players, the Heritage was on life support and in dire need of a white knight to save it from extinction.
Hilton Head is such a wonderful location. Stressed out travelers can unwind and enjoy all of the amenities that island life has to offer.
Hilton Head and the Heritage Classic also provide a much needed low-stress environment for tour players to decompress after a pressure packed week at treacherous Augusta National Golf Club.
It was unthinkable that a PGA Tour event would not be played on Hilton Head the week after the Masters.
South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley even joined the search and professed the impact the Heritage Classic has on the local economy.
Enter the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to the rescue. RBC signed a contract last year to become the sponsor for the Heritage, beginning in 2012 and continuing for four years through the 2016 season.
The RBC is deeply involved with the PGA Tour. RBC has been the title sponsor of the Canadian Open since 2008 and they announced last year that they extended that sponsor agreement through the 2017 season.
The RBC Ambassadors program offers individual sponsorship agreements to top-ranked golfers. The bank becomes the official banking and financial services provider for its golfers.
Current members of the RBC team include, Ernie Els, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Mike Weir, Stephen Ames, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and the LPGA’s Morgan Pressel.
Snedeker currently is ranked No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings and No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings. Kuchar is No. 9 in the world and No. 3 in the FedEx Cup.
Luke Donald is a former No. 1 ranked player and is currently at No. 6 in the world. Ernie Els won the 2012 Open Championship and Graeme McDowell, ranked No. 18 in the world, won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
The PGA Tour does not allow tournament sponsors to pay upfront “appearance fees” to players to enter their events. Several PGA Tour professionals have sponsorship deals with companies that also sponsor golf tournaments, however.
With the Heritage always landing on the PGA Tour schedule the week following the Masters it is normal for the top players to take a week off and decompress.
The RBC guarantees that at least a few of the top-ranked golfers in the world will be at Harbour Town Golf Links to provide a quality field for the RBC Heritage every year.
If you pay them, they will come.