Golf

Dustin Johnson commits to return to home-state tournament after eight-year absence

Coastal Carolina alumnus Dustin Johnson is the No. 3 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Coastal Carolina alumnus Dustin Johnson is the No. 3 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking. AP

Dustin Johnson was born and raised in the Columbia area and attended college at Coastal Carolina in Conway.

Yet the world’s No. 1 player hasn’t played in South Carolina’s lone PGA Tour event since 2009.

That absentee streak will apparently come to an end this year.

Johnson has committed to compete in the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing the week after the Masters Tournament, from April 12-15 at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.

Likely influencing his decision is Johnson’s recent alignment with tournament title sponsor Royal Bank of Canada. Johnson is RBC’s newest touring ambassador, joining several other PGA Tour stalwarts and frequent Heritage participants including past RBC Heritage champions Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.

The Heritage is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Johnson is a 17-time PGA Tour winner who was named the 2016 PGA Tour Player of the Year and has already earned his first victory of the season at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

“Celebrating 50 years with the No. 1 golfer in the world makes it even better,” RBC Heritage Tournament Director Steve Wilmot said in a press release. “Our fans and sponsors can’t wait to welcome Dustin home to the Palmetto State.”

Johnson played at Harbour Town in each of his first two seasons on the PGA Tour, missing the cut in both instances with two rounds of 79, a 76 and a 71. He admitted that the tight and tree-lined course doesn’t suit his game, but he has decided to return for the first time in nine years.

“I am excited to get back to my home state to help celebrate this important milestone,” said Johnson, who played in the Players Amateur in Bluffton that is operated by the Heritage Classic Foundation while in college, in the release. “The RBC Heritage means so much to Hilton Head Island and South Carolina.”

Daily tickets and weeklong badges for this year’s tournament are now on sale online at www.rbcheritage.com or by calling the tournament office at (843) 671-2448.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin

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