When Northern Ireland’s second-most famous player – Graeme McDowell – arrived at the 2013 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing
, he was nearly three years removed from his previous (and only) PGA Tour victory: the 2010 U.S. Open.
But the feisty Ulsterman broke out of countryman Rory McIlroy’s long shadow in four rounds over Harbour Town Golf Links to claim the plaid jacket that goes to Heritage winners, outlasting another U.S. Open champion (2012), Webb Simpson, in a sudden-death playoff. It was the start of a banner year for McDowell, who also won twice on the European Tour in 2013, giving him eight for his career.
The man they call “G-Mac” will return to Harbour Town to defend his title, and he won’t be alone. Six other past Heritage winners have announced early commitments to this year’s tournament, April 14-20 at Hilton Head Island’s Sea Pines Resort
The lineup includes two-time champs Stewart Cink (2000, 2004) and Boo Weekley (2007 and 2008), plus Carl Petterson (2012), Brandt Snedeker (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Justin Leonard (2002) and Glen Day (1999).
Of the recent past champions, probably none has seen his career take off like Snedeker. After his victory at Hilton Head, the Vanderbilt product won twice in 2012, including the $11.44 million Tour Championship/FedEx Cup double. “Sneds” also won twice in 2013, at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and then at the Canadian Open, also sponsored by RBC.
Likewise, Furyk used his Heritage win as momentum to capture the 2010 Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. Petterson’s victory at Harbour Town was his fifth on the PGA Tour, tying him for most wins by a Swedish player. Weekley, enormously popular with Hilton Head
fans after his back-to-back Heritage titles, won a third PGA Tour title (and another plaid jacket) at last year’s Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
The Heritage will celebrate its 46th year as South Carolina’s lone regular PGA Tour stop, and in that time the tournament has donated more than $25 million for charity. Tickets for this year’s Heritage (daily tickets and weeklong badges) are on sale at www.rbcheritage.com
, or by phone at (843) 671-2448.