The Heritage Classic won’t go quietly into the night. Not with South Carolina Rep. Bill Herbkersman leading a push to get a bill in place that would allow the state to lend aide to the tournament, in the event they can’t secure a sponsor for next year. But don’t get too excited; the bill is still in the infancy stage. As the Island Packet noted, the bill offers “no specific proposals; it merely summarizes the economic impact of Hilton Head Island’s PGA Tour event.”
Quite honestly, this isn’t something that should get the tournament committee thinking of an event past this year. There was already talk last year of the state considering the idea of giving the tournament a $10 million lifeline to survive, but it was the PGA Tour that came to the tournament’s rescue at the last second, throwing the event a TARP life vest to help it stay afloat. That was after South Carolina shot down the $10 million proposal before it ever had legs to stand on.
My guess is Herbkersman is proposing something along the lines of what was being considered last year, but this time he’s being clear where the money is going. As the Island Packet mentioned, last year’s $10 million proposal was going to be for promoting tourism, though most knew where the money was really going. I’m not sure it really matters if the bill is spun as something else or brought forward as a way to save the tournament, it’s going to be a tough sell.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has already said she doesn’t want taxpayer money going to help the tournament, so I’m not sure how Herbkersman expects to talk people into buying the bill. It’s wait and see at this point. If the tournament can’t secure the money and can’t find a sponsor, then they better hope the rumors of the WGC-Accenture Match Play moving to Harbour Town come true.