Better late, they say, than never. That's the case this week on the PGA Tour, as players head to Harbour Town Golf Links on beautiful Hilton Head Island one week later than the customary spot on the schedule a week after the Masters. Jim Furyk is back to defend his title after a crazy playoff with England's Brian Davis in 2010. Five-time Heritage champ and 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III is looking to add another Tartan jacket to his wardrobe. Before what is arguably the most player-family-friendly event on Tour tees off, we caught up with Harbour Town PGA Head Professional John Farrell for a little Q&A.
PGA.com: Thanks for joining us again this year, John. The Heritage has a new date. Instead of the traditional week-after-the-Masters spot on the schedule that all the players loved, your tournament is now two weeks after the Masters. Even still, taking a quick glance at your field, it doesn't seem to have affected drawing some of the big names you always get. Can you talk a little about your field?
Farrell: We are very pleased with our field again this year. While we sometimes do not have Nos. 1 and 2, we are always very strong otherwise with international players and a great mix of veterans who have a love affair with the course and the young guns who are exciting the crowds each year.
PGA.com: One of the biggest names in the field is U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III. Davis's career has been phenomenal and Harbour Town has been a big part of that evidenced by his five wins there, which account for one-quarter of his 20 Tour victories. What does it mean to you to see Davis as a Ryder Cup captain?
Farrell: With all the success Davis Love has had here at Harbour Town Golf Links we are delighted with any and all his successes. It's like when one of your family members does something special -- everyone enjoys the good fortune.
PGA.com: Another Davis in the field is Brian Davis, who lost in a playoff a year ago when he called a penalty on himself. Is there anything you learned about Brian Davis in the wake of that crushing defeat?
Farrell: As a parent and a long time junior golf supporter, I was especially pleased and appreciative of Brian’s example of how to handle a big situation the way he did. He never considered anything else. The rules are the rules and he knew that he had an obligation to play by them. Kids need leaders who lead by example. Brian Davis is that kind of leader!
PGA.com: What's your favorite aspect of tournament week?
Farrell: Seeing just how many people are impacted by a week like this. We all know about the charities and the players purses but what about the kids working the driving range who go to sleep early the night before their first shift as though it’s Christmas Eve? What about the standard bearers who take off their hats and shake hands with their markers, scorers and Pro-Am participants while looking them in the eyes as is expected of young men and women involved with the game of golf? Seeing our community and state getting excited and behind the single largest sporting event in the state. Homes being painted in the weeks ahead, fresh flowers being planted everywhere. Everyone’s posture changes during HERITAGE WEEK.
PGA.com: Final question for you, John. In your eyes, what would make for an ideal finish on Sunday evening?
Farrell: OK, here we go because you asked. Record retail sales, a new long-term corporate sponsor, a star-filled leaderboard and limitless sunshine. Happy Easter and Happy Heritage Sunday.