Each year following the Masters, the PGA Tour travels to Harbour Town Golf Links to host the RBC Heritage, an event originating in 1969. Annually, the event draws large, eager crowds and brings joy to the community of Hilton Head Island. IJGA works closely with the RBC Heritage committee to provide amazing opportunities to our students to benefit the tournament and its attendees.
In years past, the IJGA carried standards during the tournament’s events and for the first time ever, the IJGA was presented with the honor of carrying flags and standards in the ceremonial opening parade on April 14, 2014. Representative students were selected by IJGA staff to be a part of the parade. Each of the 15 students represented the IJGA and the community in a ceremony to honor all those involved with the historic event.
In addition to the opening ceremonies, around 50 students volunteered to help carry standards and assist caddies with their bibs throughout the tournament. The standard bearers were able to walk inside the ropes with the PGA Tour players, displaying their overall scores to the large crowds that were in attendance at the PGA event. It is a unique opportunity provided to the IJGA by the PGA Tour year after year, and a memorable experience that the students will never forget.
Also as a result of the RBC Heritage, IJGA students welcomed PGA Tour professional, Will MacKenzie, during practice on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at Pinecrest Golf Club where he hosted a small clinic for our students and coaches. MacKenzie is currently No. 15 in FedEx Cup standings and recently placed second in the 2014 Valero Texas Open hosted March 30, 2014. He advised what it takes to be successful in golf and provided tips to improve their game on and off the course. Students learned how a PGA Tour winner prepares for tournaments, the struggles he faced while earning his PGA card and how his desire and passion continues to fuel his dream.
On Friday, April 18, 2014, competitor Ernie Els used the opportunity to shine light on Autism Awareness and requested spectators wear blue to show their support. IJGA student John McCabe was personally invited to join Els as his standard bearer and braved the rainy weather with a constant smile. Spectators and students wore their blue Autism Awareness bracelets and pins to show their support for the cause.
Despite the cold and rainy conditions of the weekend, IJGA students and staff enjoyed the chance to relax and watch the entertainment of the RBC Heritage. The island was full of energy and excitement and the course was full of IJGA students supporting the players as well as their friends volunteering on the course. Students and staff alike are counting down the days until the tournament returns in 2015.