Heritage tournament produces 50 years of memories

The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing runs today through Sunday. To celebrate the tournament's 50th anniversary, here's a look at its storied history.

NOV. 27-30, 1969. THE FIRST TOURNAMENT

The first tournament was played Thanksgiving weekend at Harbour Town Golf Links, a just-completed, demanding golf course in middle-of-nowhere Hilton Head Island.

The island had a full-time population of about 2,000 and four hotels that could accommodate about 300 guests. Brothers Charles and Joe Fraser hoped their creation of the tournament would showcase their emerging year-round golf resort, Sea Pines Plantation.

There was not much else to showcase on the island. There was no harbor at Harbour Town, no shops and no Harbour Town Lighthouse.

There was nothing down there then. Hell, youd step on alligators, said the late golf writer Charles Price, who worked as an adviser to Fraser and Sea Pines during the first few years of the Heritage.

The Frasers named their new tournament the Heritage Golf Classic. It commemorated the reissue of a charter to the South Carolina Golf Club, which was organized in 1786 and was the first organized golf club in America.

Arnold Palmer won the tournament, ending a personal 14-month victory drought and helping to put the tournament, Sea Pines and Hilton Head Island on the map.

Charles Fraser and an alligator were caught on film together in this iconic image from a 1962 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, which featured Frasers then-new Sea Pines resort. A statue made ....

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