HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - The 50th Annual RBC Heritage came along with record-breaking crowds for the first round on Thursday.
We don't have the numbers for the day just yet, but tournament officials say the crowds looked like a Saturday or Sunday at the Heritage. Not only are the huge crowds big for the tournament and its sponsors, it's big for Hilton Head as a whole. The economic impact for the next few days is incredible.
Officials tell us one reason for the increase in attendance is simply due to the fact that this is the Heritage's 50th year. They've tried to make it special to really capitalize on the tradition of the tournament. They say another reason is the weather. Thursday was absolutely stunning. There were some showers Tuesday, but it didn't scare the crowds away.
An RBC official talked to us about some numbers they'll break this week.
"We're traditionally about 20,000 for the day," said Derek Payton, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "It looks like we are going to exceed that, which would be record-setting for a first day. We typically about 130,000 spectators for the week, and it looks like we will break through that record as well."
The last and most important reason the crowds are so high is the number one golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, is playing. That's what everyone is talking about. He's had large crowds following him around.
The RBC Heritage also tells us they are not sold out of tickets. They still have some left for the weekend.