I feel sorry for the Verizon Heritage Tournament. Still basking in the warm glow of Phil Mickelson’s Masters’ win and the chilly wind of Tiger’s return, it’s almost an afterthought for the golf media. Three days after the Masters, golf writers still are analyzing, deconstructing and criticizing the previous week’s players, course and tournament.
Adding to the woes is the fact that this is the last year that Verizon will sponsor the tournament. Verizon, or its corporate predecessors, has been a sponsor of the Heritage for twenty five years. The tournament itself is some forty years old. Hilton Head says that the Heritage will return in 2011 with, or without, a sponsor.
I actually like the Heritage at Harbour Town. It’s especially fun when the sea winds are up. I can vividly remember a tournament where Davis Love was trying to putt on a green where just moments before the flagstick was at a right angle. The finishing hole, with the lighthouse and marsh is really memorable.
Arnold Palmer was the tournament’s initial winner, in 1969. Since then, winners have included Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer, Johnny Miller Greg Norman, Nick Price, Tom Watson, Davis Love III and the late Payne Stewart
If the tournament has an advantage, it’s that Harbour Town is close enough to Augusta that it tends to attract many of that tournament’s players. This year, they expect to see Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Mike Weir, Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson, Davis Love and the inimitable John Daly.
Hey … the winner even gets a jacket. Granted, it’s an ugly red plaid affair … but it’s a jacket.