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Canceled PGA events deal courses ‘sobering’ silence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Normally these would be the busiest of days for Steve Wilmot, tournament director for the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Just a few weeks from the scheduled PGA Tour stop, Wilmot’s time would be consumed with the build-up to the annual event.

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Instead, the infrastructure around the Harbour Town Golf Links course is coming down and the fallout from the tournament’s cancellation is being assessed.

“I’m still in shock. Who would ever imagine this?” Wilmot said less than two weeks since the reaction to coronavirus fears caused widespread nixing of PGA Tour events. “There’s no playbook for this.”

Eight tournaments have been canceled while the Masters and PGA Championship have been postponed.

Tournament officials for the events that have gone by the wayside in 2020 note that among the various fallouts will be significant loss of funding for local charities that the golf tournaments generate.

“There won’t be as much to charity, that’s a given,” said a communications director for an impacted tournament.

With the RBC Heritage slated for April 16-19, it was about a month away when the first cluster of tournaments was scratched. About 75 percent of the buildout with tents and signage had been in place around the course.

The tournament already spent more than $1 million in services rendered.

“The marketing and collateral is gone,” Wilmot said.

–By Bob Sutton, Special to Field Level Media

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