HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WTOC) -Sunday should have been the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament on Hilton Head Island, but, like most other sporting events, it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This morning we were like, wouldn’t this have been a beautiful, beautiful way to start the final round. It was such a perfect morning,” said John Farrell, the Director of Golf at Sea Pines Resort.
The 52nd RBC Heritage will still be played June 18-21, but without spectators or sponsors.
In the meantime, Sea Pines has had to furlough most of their employees.
“We’re putting a team together, we’re putting the plan together for reopening, and the cares package is going to take out some of the sting, and the financial worries, you know, are considerable,” Farrell explained.
The Sea Pines Cares Package offers a rare discount to play the iconic PGA Tour course on Hilton Head Island, with the funds going to help employees.
“We’re going to be back," said Farrell. "We’re going to get back bigger and stronger. We’re going to be stronger than ever. We’re going to be fine. We’re going to be just fine, but it has been tough too, you know? These are people I’ve worked with for years and years and years and I care about both on and off the golf course.”
Most Sea Pines workers have been furloughed since around April 1.
In the meantime, a few members of the kitchen staff are preparing meals six days a week for their out-of-work colleagues.
The $250 package offers discounts for golf and other recreational activities at Sea Pines, discounts on food and retail, along with discounted rates at the Inn and Club, and a $100 gift card. $125 goes toward assisting their employees, and $50 from each package goes to the Heritage Classic Foundation.
Last year, the foundation gave over $3 million to local charities, but that money comes from ticket sale, which they won’t have this year.
“They’ve taken a big hit from all this," Farrell said. "They had some fixed costs they couldn’t avoid with the construction of the grandstands and all of the pre-tournament preparations that were well underway when all of this kind of crashed down on us, so, you know, we’re doing the best we can given the circumstances, and you know, we’ll look back on it and I think we’ll be proud of how we responded.”
Farrell said they’re hard at work to prepare for June, and ready to see Hilton Head’s signature professional sporting event return to Harbour Town.