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2013 RBC Heritage plaid coat goes to Graeme McDowell

2013 RBC Heritage champ Graeme McDowell surveys the green with his caddy.  Photo by Jeff Dennis

2013 RBC Heritage champ Graeme McDowell surveys the green with his caddy.
Photo by Jeff Dennis

Despite winning the 2010 U.S. Open golf tournament, Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland has been on a winless streak since then. With a howling Northeast wind blowing along the coast of Hilton Head on Sunday, most other players were unable to shoot a score under par. McDowell won by making the fewest mistakes, including a par on the picturesque 18th hole during a playoff.

The PGA Tour enjoyed its second playoff in two weeks with 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson playing against McDowell. Simpson needed a putt to win the RBC Heritage on the final hole of regulation play, but he could not find the cup. Simpson needed three putts during the playoff on 18, and McDowell needed just two. It should be noted that the wind was blowing so hard that it even affected the roll of golf balls on the greens.

McDowell spoke after the win, sharing that he had played well each round for the tournament, but that his putter heated up on Sunday. A hot putter is often the type of thing that can make a difference in sorting out winners at pro golf tourneys. Since the entire field had to play in the same overcast, cool, windy conditions, it was a level playing field for the players.

For the fans, however, Sunday viewing was not comfortable, what with no sunshine and nothing but whitecaps in Calibogue Sound. The weather seemed a little off all tournament, with a typical warm, sunny day during the Wednesday practice round, but cloudy cooler conditions with wind for the tournament days. While the Heritage continued its reputation as a social event for fans, it was odd to see fans bundled up against the elements.

The fan experience at the RBC Heritage is a quality one, since the fans can get very close to the star players as they traverse the course walking from one hole to the next. The tournament has a history of winners who have already won a prior major tournament. There is something about this course that can inspire good golfers to play great. This short course demands precision shots and a controlled ball flight.

What may be the shot of the tourney came on Thursday, from S.C. native Tommy ‘Two Gloves’ Gainey, winner of the 2012 McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, Georgia. Playing the 18th hole, he hit an 8-iron shot for 184 yards, which found the green and bounced in the cup for an eagle 2.

The Heritage has new sponsors now – The Royal Bank of Scotland and Boeing. Anyone remember when it was the MCI Classic? With new sponsors and a bright future, the Sea Pines Resort announced that it will tear down and rebuild the clubhouse facility at the Harbour Town Golf Links, providing newer amenities for spectators and players alike. The cozy course is set among tall pines, palmettos and condos will remain the same, and is a favorite among golfers of all levels.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (362 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com