Officials at the Verizon Heritage are just as proud of their annual amateur event, the Players Amateur.
Alumni of the Players Amateur who have gone on to the PGA Tour won $30.5 million this season. Leading the way was U.S. Open Champion and former Clemson All-American Lucas Glover, who took home nearly $3.7 million.
The list of 24 alumni includes five with South Carolina ties. Besides Glover, Columbia native and former Coastal Carolina All-American Dustin Johnson, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, racked up $2.98 million this year.
Also pulling down $1 million-plus were former Clemson star D.J. Trahan ($1,078,256) and Greer's Bill Haas ($1,425,418). Rounding out the list is Kyle Stanley, who turned pro after his junior season at Clemson and has won $132,039.
Moral of the story: Playing in the Players Am is a good indicator of future success.
Larry Penley, in his 27th season as Clemson coach, will join the S.C. Golf Hall of Fame on Saturday at Columbia Country Club.
Under Penley, the Tigers won the 2003 national title and finished third in 2008. The Tigers have eight top-five NCAA finishes during Penley's career.
Clemson has won eight ACC championships, and Penley has been named ACC coach of the year seven times.
Also to be honored Saturday are the SCGA player of the year, former USC player Mark Anderson of Beaufort, and senior player of the year Frank Ford III of Charleston.
McKenzie Talbert of North Augusta won her second S.C. Junior Golf Association fall series, shooting rounds of 72-68 for an eight-shot victory against USC signee Katie Rose Higgins of Charleston in the girls 14-18 division at Hartsville Country Club.
Lexington's Lauren Stephenson and Summerville's Reona Hirai shared the girls 11-13 title. Both players finished at 4-over-par 76 and remained tied through a six-hole playoff, which was halted by darkness.
In the boys 15-18, Charleston's Taylor Zoller shot 73-70, joining Talbert with an under-par total and winning by four shots against Orangeburg's Ford Blanchard. In boys 13-14, Columbia's Andrew Wick was second at 155, four back of winner Wesley Long of Bluffton, while Greenwood's Coleman Self topped Leesville's Caleb Proveaux, 71-73, in boys 10-12.
South Carolina team defeated Clemson 24-21 in the Spirit Telecom Legends Challenge, Monday at CC of Lexington. In 13 previous events, the winner of the tournament has always lost the football game. ... Hidden Valley CC in Gaston will host its annual Backwards Tournament on Saturday, with four-person teams playing captain's choice as they play the course from greens to tees. Entry deadline is Tuesday, $40/person (dinner and tee gift). Call (803) 794-8087. ... The Arnold Palmer-designed Old Tabby Links course at Spring Island, near Beaufort, was named the nation's 40th-best residential course by Golfweek. The course also is ranked Golf Connoisseur magazine's top 40 golf communities and Travel & Leisure Golf's Top 100 Communities (No. 23). ... Myrtle Beach's DeBordieu Club will host its 36-hole Senior Open Dec. 8-9, with former Columbia resident Larry Bowell leading the senior associate standings. Longs' John Stokley is in contention for the super senior associate of the year award. Entries remain open; call (843) 913-2742. ... Golf Channel's "Destination Golf: South Carolina," featuring shows about Kiawah's Ocean Course, Hilton Head's Harbour Town Golf Links, Pawleys Island's Caledonia and Hampton County's Penny Branch Club, will premiere Feb. 9, time to be determined. ... Kiawah Island Resort was voted Golf Resort of the Year (North America category) by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.