HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WTOC) -The RBC Heritage tournament may look different without fans, but keeping the players and everyone involved safe is still a top priority for Sea Pines.
“We have 654 homes that line both sides of the fairway, and it’s just anyone can really walk out the back of a house and cause a problem,” said Toby McSwain, Sea Pines Director of Safety, Security and Transportation explained.
The number of volunteers has been reduced by more than half in 2020, but they didn’t dial back security a bit.
There are more than 100 people working security, some armed, and ten different agencies are on the property tournament week.
“The FBI is here, the local sheriff’s office is here, Homeland Security, We’ve got some bomb teams that are working with us this week, so it’s almost like a regular tournament for us security-wise,” McSwain said.
While the homes may present a security challenge, McSwain said after 18 years of working the tournament, he is missing the fans, and they welcome people to watch from their yards.
“Everyone has been very respectful of the players. They are standing in the backyard cheering players on, so it is nice to see that,” McSwain said. “We’ve had few that tried to encroach onto the golf course to get a better advantage to see down the fairway, but overall people have been really, really great to work with.”
Each day everyone entering the course goes through their thermal screening for COVID-19, then they go through metal detectors to ensure safety for the few that are allowed inside.
Last week the Charles Schwab Challenge served as the trial run in a way for the health measures, but with it being just a course, and not a community, Sea Pines is the first to go through this as the PGA Tour has returned amid the pandemic.
“I did reach out to their security team there just to find out what challenges they had, and with no fans on the golf course, they’re not experiencing any of the stuff we are, but all in all, it’s good. I know the players have talked about, it’s weird not seeing the fans and spectators here, but everything seems to be going so far, so good,” said McSwain.