The future of the soon-to-be-former Verizon Heritage will no doubt dominate conversation in South Carolina golf circles between now and the tournament in April, when the telecommunications giant will end a sponsorship that dates to 1987 under its previous MCI and WorldCom names.
For now, though, it's business as usual for the state's PGA Tour event. This week, the tournament began soliciting entries in its pro-am tournaments, which annually draw a collection of celebrity entries.
The Heritage stages two pre-tournament outings: the Harbour Town Cup Pro-Am on April 12 and the Verizon Heritage Pro-Am on April 14. Both offer players a chance to play 18 holes with a PGA Tour player playing in the Heritage, as well as rounds of golf on other Sea Pines courses, tournament badges and other gifts.
PGA Tour officials reportedly are working to secure a replacement naming sponsor for the 2009 tournament. Tournament officials say the event provided $1.3 million to local and state charities this year.
Discounted badges for $15 off are on sale until Jan. 31. For pro-am or ticket information, call (843) 671-2448 or go to verizonheritage.com.
Tigers vs. Gamecocks. The Nov. 28 USC-Clemson football game will get a preview on Nov. 23 when the Country Club of Lexington hosts the 14th Spirit Telecom Legends Challenge Tournament, featuring former USC and Clemson players and fans.
The winner of the golf outing has traditionally signaled the loser of the football game, spokesman Steve Taylor said. Proceeds go to scholarships for USC's Department of Sport and Entertainment Management and Clemson's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
Former players this year include USC's Otis Morris, Benny Galloway, Willie Scott, Rick Sanford, Harold Green, Jeff Grantz and Ron Bass, and Clemson's Eddie Seigler, Ray Brown, Ray Williams, Whitey Jordan, Fred Cone, Stacy Long and Bill Wingo. For information, call (803) 777-0796 or go to LegendsChallenge.org.
O'Brien honored. The Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association (CGCSA) will present its annual Distinguished Service Award to Pat O'Brien during the group's convention, Nov. 16-18 in Myrtle Beach.
O'Brien, director of the USGA Green Section's southeast region, provides agronomy information and advice to some 250 area courses, and addresses 50-plus turfgrass seminars a year, as well as working with college and technical school agronomy programs.
Lexington native Paul Jett, superintendent for Pinehurst's famed No. 2 course, said "Pat has the kind of credibility that allows him to be heard" by leaders in the golf industry.
O'Brien's award will come during the CGCSA's Conference and Trade Show, the nation's largest regional superintendents' gathering.
Chip shots. North Charleston's Austin Cody will sign a letter of intent to play for the Duke golf team on Wednesday. Cody is ranked among the state's and nation's top juniors. ... Tickets for the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship go on sale Nov. 16. Prices range from $140 for weekly passes to $25 for practice rounds. ... Columbia's Collins Bradshaw is defending girls champion in the Cheraw Fall Challenge, which concludes today at Cheraw State Park GC and Moree's Cheraw CC. North Charleston's Cody heads the boys field. ... Pittsburgh's Nathan Smith, winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Kiawah Island's Cassique course in October and part of the winning U.S. Walker Cup team, is the Southern Golf Association's national amateur of the month. ... The Carolinas Golf Association's 101-year-old Amateur Championship will change from match play to a 72-hole stroke-play event when played July 8-11, 2010, at Pinehurst CC's No. 8 (Centennial) course, according to CGA tournament chairman Walter Todd of Laurens. ... When Greenville's Jay Haas defends his Champions Tour title at the Senior Players Championship, it will be at a new location. The tournament is moving from Baltimore (Md.) CC to the TPC Potomac (Md.) at Avenel Farm in 2010.