New rules mean increased security at RBC Heritage

sfastenau@islandpacket.comApril 17, 2014 

Spectators this week have been greeted with increased security and will continue to face the stricter rules during tournament rounds.

New measures for this year's RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing limit the size of bags allowed on the course and require security personnel to "wand" all spectators before they enter. The new PGA Tour policies were first announced in October, in response to events such as the Boston Marathon bombings last April and heightened security requirements in other sports venues, RBC Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot said.

The updated policy reads:

 

  • Security officers will be screening all spectators by wanding them at tournament checkpoints including the shuttle bus parking lots, the main entrance and several other golf course access points.  

  • No bags larger than a small purse 6 inches by 6 inches will be allowed. This includes all carrying cases, backpacks, camera bags or portable chair bags. These prohibited items will not be allowed on our shuttle buses or the Harbour Town Golf Links. Clear plastic or vinyl bags smaller than 12 by 6 by 12 will be allowed.  

  • Spectators riding the shuttle buses will be reminded of the new policies before boarding and will not be permitted to take prohibited items on the buses.  

  • The RBC Heritage is providing lanyards to all spectators. Tickets and badges must be displayed from lanyards at all times. Security will be checking to make sure everyone on the golf course is wearing a tournament badge or ticket.  

Properly securing a golf tournament can be difficult, said Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour's vice president and chief of operations.

 

"Our arena is 150 acres," he said at RBC Heritage media day in February. "The Seattle Seahawks secure an 80,000-seat stadium -- there is a door in and a door out. It'd be easier to secure than a place like Harbour Town that's got a million and a half ways to get on the golf course. So our obligation is having a security program that provides as safe an environment as possible."

In the face of increased security and some cost-cutting, some PGA Tour tournaments have implemented more drastic measures.

The Northern Trust Open and Farmers Insurance Open are among tournaments that closed to spectators on Tuesday this season.

Pazder said the tour has found instances this season where it has made sense to close a practice round, citing a cost-benefit analysis. Security, uniformed police officers and resting volunteers are all factors, he said.

"And then in some cases, opening on Tuesday is kind of a flat opening," Pazder said. "Not many people come out to the golf course, and we prefer to have that big opening on Wednesday for the pro-am when there are scheduled tee times, and you know you're going to come because you know if you're on the first tee at noon, you're going to see Graeme McDowell."

Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

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