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Bill could help keep Heritage tournament in S.C.

Mar 10, 2011 11:56:00 PM - thestate.com
If the state's only PGA tournament can't quickly find a future sponsor, South Carolina legislators might help.

The state faces the prospect of losing the Heritage golf tournament on Hilton Head Island - and the tens of millions of dollars it pumps into the economy. Next month's event marks the first time in 25 years without main sponsor Verizon, which announced 18 months ago its backing would cease after 2010.

The deadline for the tournament's survival is approaching. A future sponsor must be found soon after the April 21-24 tournament, said Simon Fraser, chairman of the Heritage Classic Foundation, which hosts the event and contracts with the PGA.

"It can't drag out very long," he said Thursday. "We're diligently looking for a title sponsor. Everybody's still hopeful. It's been a longer process than anybody anticipated."

A bill put on hold for debate on the House floor until at least March 29 is designed to save the springtime tradition, if that becomes necessary. The so-called skeleton bill has no details.

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