Chip Shots

A Tale Of Two Events




It’s just not possible that the back-to-back tour stops, the Masters and the RBC Heritage, could be any less alike.

Last week the small traveling circus otherwise known as the PGA Tour made its home for the week on Hilton Head Island, SC, at the Sea Pines Resort in Harbor Town for the RBC Heritage. While the Masters is a pressure cooker atmosphere, the RBC Heritage is just the opposite. In fact, the difference is so great that the Masters could be compared to a visit to the dentist for a root canal while The Heritage would be more like a session at your favorite spa.

Several years ago a rather well known player (to remain unnamed) was driving from Augusta to Harbor Town when he was pulled over for going 100 miles-per-hour. The officer asked him what the big rush was and the player said he had just played the Masters and he needed to get to The Heritage to relax. The officer was so impressed with the honest response the player got off with just a warning. Have you ever been that lucky? I know I haven’t.

The Hilton Head event is the perfect chill pill after the Masters and they have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the tournament. The first winner was Arnold Palmer. It was the site of Sir Nick Faldo’s first win in the US back in 1984 and Davis Love III has notched five victories there.

Harbor Town has always been special for Davis perhaps because his Dad, Davis Love Jr., used to compete in this event. Davis’ father, unfortunately, died in a plane crash when he was only 53. Love Jr, attended the University of Texas under the watchful eye of the great Harvey Penick. It’s strange to note it was common knowledge that Davis’ father feared he would one day die in a plane crash. He was not only a great instructor but also a great player as he finished sixth in the 1969 Open Championship.

I think the RBC Heritage made history last week as neither of the top two finishers speaks English. Coming out on top was 28-year-old Satoshi Kodaira. Satoshi just got married two weeks ago to a star on the Japan ladies tour. So, if anyone tries to tell you being married is not good for your golf game, don’t listen.  Along with the $1 million check came a Tartan jacket — a tradition at the Heritage. But when Satoshi was asked what he thought about how the jacket looked, Satoshi said through an interpreter that he didn’t think he would be wearing it that much.

Elsewhere in the golf world, 24-year-old Spaniard Jon Rahm won the Spanish Open. Spain has a rich golf history and is the birthplace of many great golfers . . . Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, and last year’s Masters Champion Sergio Garcia. Now Jon Rahm, ranked 4th in the world, can add his name to the list of Spanish Open champions. I’m sure Rahm will be a great role model and hopefully, we’ll see more young Spaniards come into the game as a result.

Finally, just a little side note about the upcoming US Open at Shinnecock: In case you were wondering . . . there will be 600 Porta-Potties on the course available for spectator use.