Tim's Take: Heritage sponsorship

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) – Doubt is a part of golf.

Players feel it over shots. And, as we're seeing this week on Hilton Head Island, tournaments face it about the future.

"I think we have to admit, the future is uncertain," said Verizon Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot, whose event is seeking a new title sponsor with Verizon leaving at the end of this year's tournament.

But this week there's a distinction between legitimate concern and a lack of confidence.

Because who watching what's going on at Harbour Town, inside the ropes and outside, could really be worried about the Heritage and everything it has become going away?

It could of course. The PGA Tour runs on corporate sponsorship and the Heritage won't have any as of 7pm Sunday night.

But it will still have its timeless identity, a regional flavor and international brand that you have to figure can make the shift from signature quality to selling point.

"We believe people will look at this tournament, they'll see the quality field that we have,'' PGA Tour vice president of operations Rick George said earlier this week. "They'll see the beauty of this place, you know, the golf course. And we think there's a lot of value in that for a title sponsor.''

For anyone at Harbour Town this week, or watching from around the world, that value is plain to see. And it makes it hard to believe the Heritage's very real problems won't in one way or another be worked out.

"We have,'' George said on behalf of the Tour, "every intention of being back here.''

"It's just a fun event,'' added Tour player and South Carolina native Charles Warren. "It's a great time and I look forward to coming down here for a long time.''

"The players all love it,'' said two-time Heritage champion Stewart Cink. "They rave about it. It's a really good fit. It's been here a long time.''

And when all is said and done, when the uncertainty that is as evident at Harbour Town this year as birdies, the Heritage will still be here for a long time to come.

No doubt.

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