The 43rd edition of the Heritage is in the books, but the 44th is in doubt. South Carolina's only PGA Tour stop is in danger of losing its spot on the 2012 schedule. The Heritage has been without a title sponsor for two years and the event needs to find a title sponsor to keep its spot on the tour. The estimated price tag of a title sponsor is in the $8 million dollar range.
WPDE Sports Director Rich Chrampanis spoke with tournament director Steve Wilmot and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley about the future of the event. Wilmot used the words "cautious optimism" that a title sponsor will be secured before the PGA Tour reveals the 2012 schedule.
"It's going to be a process that will continue," Wilmot said, "We've only got a few months to figure it out. We've had some great dialogue this week. There's a lot of work that needs to be done before we get to that point. It's going to be a process that takes a lot of followup in the next week or so."
WPDE Sports Director Rich Chrampanis interview with South Carolina governor Nikki Haley:
Haley: South Carolina is not just great one week out of the year with the Heritage tournament. We have all of these events all year long and it's great for South Carolina. Look at the location, look at the golfers we had look at the energy and excitement in the air. The Heritage will continue because it's a great place to have a golf tournament. We're very excited about it.
RC: Are you involved in trying to get a sponsor for the Heritage?
Haley: Duane Parrish, my director (of Parks, Recreation and Tourism) and I have been working several weeks talking to sponsors, but this week was key because they needed to see and feel what we've been talking about. So for them to see and experience it first hand like so many of us had - they got to see the pride of South Carolina and the pride of the country in this golf tournament. So now next week we'll sit down and we'll say we've talked about it we showed it to you it's time to get to business.
RC: Will we see you here next year?
You will see me here next year with a bigger crowd with more energy than we've ever had before.
It's clear that finding a title sponsor is the only option to keep the tournament alive.
Alan Blondin of the Myrtle Beach Sun News does a tremendous job of explaining all of the ins and outs of what a title sponsor gets and the overall dollars and cents of the tournament.
Here's WPDE's coverage of the fourth round of the Heritage, won by Brandt Snedeker on the third playoff hole:
We also had a feature on Aynor's Michael Maness who caddies full time on the PGA Tour for Bill Haas: