News and notes from Sunday's round of the Heritage

bheffernan@islandpacket.comApril 21, 2013 

Chris Evermore, locks up the bikes he and his wife, Amy, right, and brother Dan, center, rode to the bike parking station near the Harbour Town tennis courts Sunday during the 45th RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Riding to the tournament is "so much more convenient than waiting for a (shuttle) bus," Chris said.

BRIAN HEFFERNAN — -Staff photo

BIKES ROLL IN

The number of spectators that rode bicycles to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing more than doubled this year, as bicycle parking was expanded to attract more riders and reduce traffic in Sea Pines.

Between 600 and 675 bikes were parked Sunday on the tennis courts near Harbour Town and hole 13 of the Harbor Town Golf Links, according to Frank Babel, co-chairman of the town's Bicycle Advisory Committee and founder of Squeaky Wheels, a bicycle advocacy group. Previous days of the tournament brought more than 400 riders per day, Babel said.

More than two dozen Kickin' Asphalt volunteers assisted riders with locking up their bikes to bike racks, many which were donated by On On Sports, Babel said.

"I'll never do the (shuttle) bus," said Amy Eversole as her husband Chris locked up their bikes. "You just get to enjoy the scenery so much more." Riding under the oaks along Plantation Drive was a highlight, she said.

It's the third year Amy, Chris and his brother Dan Eversole have come in from Charleston for the tournament. They've ridden bikes each time.

Parking this year was much more organized than in years past, said Clarke Ewart, after unlocking his bike from one of the many racks on the courts.

"This works out really well, I think," he said.

A SPECIAL SALUTE

Four military families got a special treat this weekend at the Heritage.

Winners of the MasterCard "Best Seats in the House" promotion gave their preferred seating to active-duty military personnel, said Bill Putnam, the tournament volunteer guarding the prized seats.

The military families -- two on Friday and two on Saturday -- were treated to admission to the Friends of the Heritage tent at the 18th tee box and its skybox on the 17th hole. The tent has views over Calibogue Sound, a buffet and bar.

"They were thrilled," Putnam said.

Treated on Saturday were a Marine Corps pilot and his wife, as well as an Army officer from Fort Bragg, N.C., who instructs special forces, and his wife, who works in logistics for the military.

They were treated by a former Marine officer and a friend who twice won the MasterCard contest.

When a MasterCard message is flashed on a scoreboard at the tournament, winners are selected among those who text back. Up to 10 winners per day are selected, and they show their text message and MasterCard to get into the special seating.

Volunteers went to the Patriots' Post skybox on the 16th green, where active-duty military are treated to free seating, food and soft drinks, to find the four couples that got instant upgrades.

"We thought this act of generosity was a nice way to say 'thank you,' " Putnam said.

Attendence at the Patriot's Post increased by "at least 100" from last year's 558 guests, said Jack Wilson, a retired Navy captain in charge of the viewing area for military and their dependents.

"It's a way that the RBC Heritage can say 'Thank you for your services. It's a place for you to enjoy the tournament and it's exclusively yours,' " he said.

SCHOLARS GIVE BACK

A handful of 2013 Heritage Classic Foundation Scholars earned their keep this year at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

They joined the army of 1,100 volunteers.

When the tournament needed a few more volunteers in the traffic control division, someone thought of asking the scholars.

They helped greet and guide fans as they got off the buses at Harbour Town, and helped at the barricade on Plantation Drive.

The Heritage Classic Foundation presented 15 scholarships valued at $278,000 to top seniors in Beaufort County. Thirteen students earned scholarships woSrth $18,000 over four years, and two received scholarships that could total $22,000.

Since the scholarship program began in 1993, the foundation has given $3,279,600 to 252 students.

THIS IS A RECORDING

Greeters aboard the buses moving fans from parking lots to Harbour Town had less to do this year. That's because a recording was used to let tournament director Steve Wilmot and others on the tape welcomed fans to Hilton Head Island and the Heritage.

Volunteer greeters still rode the buses and answered questions. They are from the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club. The Rotarians have been greeters since 1999, said volunteer Barbara Clark.

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