Opening Ceremony kicks off 2023 RBC Heritage

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 4:18 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC. (WTOC) - Hilton Head Island’s sometime sleepy PGA Tour event got an early wake up this year.

The traditional RBC Heritage opening ceremony welcomed the PGA Tour back to the Lowcountry.

But the volume at Harbour Town had been turned up even before the cannon blast.

“As relaxing and special as it always is, it’s even more exciting with these big-name players here to honor the game,” said Bonnie Roesch, a long-time Heritage fan.

The 55th Heritage could be the biggest yet.

It was made one of the tour’s new designated events for 2023 with a $20 million purse attracting most the world’s best players and perhaps the largest Tuesday crowd Harbour Town has ever seen.

“A lot of names are coming out this year that you wouldn’t ordinarily see. The tournament got bumped up to being one of the premier events, so it’s going to be packed this year,” said Jesse Peart, a Heritage fan from Beaufort.

And it will be charged with a unique energy even before the tournament begins with an every-day sellout announced three weeks before Heritage Week now getting to watch a field that includes 33 of the top 40 players in the World Golf Rankings going head to head.

“All in all, the elevated events are just more challenging when the players overall there is more depth and more of the top 50 players in the world. So, it becomes harder to win, harder to top 10, but the whole point is to get everybody playing together as often as possible,” said Jordan Spieth, the 2022 RBC Heritage Champion.

All those players and all those fans have year 55 shaping up as an all-time Heritage.

“We’ve had a time share here for 40 years, so this is so enjoyable to witness this for all these years and especially this year with all these big names here. It’s pretty exciting.

The last time there were this many top players at Harbour Town was 2020 when there were no fans on the course because of Covid.

So, this week will certainly have the best field local fans have been able to see play in the Heritage.