HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - The Heritage Classic Foundation announced Thursday that the 53rd annual RBC Heritage will take place with limited spectators and strict health and safety protocols in place.
Last year, the tournament was delayed to the summer and was played with no spectators due to the pandemic.
“We felt that we were in a place to be able to present something in a way that safety and health is of the utmost importance, so we’re following those guidelines, and being able to have something in April,” RBC Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot says.
Crowds will be limited to 20 to 25 percent, according to Wilmot.
Masks will be required, all spectators will be screened prior to entry, and social distancing measures will be put in place. The tournament says the skyboxes and hospitality venues will be replaced with open air villages and concession areas. All permanent and temporary structures will have complete daily sanitization. Safety measures regarding food preparation and distribution will also be in place.
For more on the Heritage’s safety guidelines, go to: https://rbcheritage.com/covid19.
Ticketing methods will also be different for the 2021 tournament. According to the tournament website, the Heritage Classic Foundation will first work with the tournament’s official partners, then open sales to past ticket buyers. Ticket updates on availability to the general public will come later.
Wilmot says the Heritage Foundation felt it was important to have at least limited capacity this year is to benefit the tournament’s charity partners. The Foundation’s charitable matching programs were suspended before last year’s spectator-less tournament.
“One of the reasons to do it and to try and figure it out and have the pro-ams is to get our charitable programs back on track,” Wilmot says.
Wilmot says the tournament still has the option to scale up or scale down their capacity restrictions, something he says the Foundation will continue to work with local and state health officials and the PGA Tour on.
He says the Heritage will also take from their own experience a year ago and the nearly 40 other PGA Tour events that will have happened between last summer and this April, including many with limited spectators.
“We’ll be taking best practices from all these tournaments. We’ll learn from the operational successes,” Wilmot says. “The operational things that didn’t work so well are the operations that will go away, but also from the experience of moving spectators.”
The 2021 tournament is planned for April 12-18 at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.
For more information on the 53rd annual RBC Heritage, click here.