Sir Williams Innes has been a distinct symbol for the RBC Heritage since its start in 1969.
Since then the image of this man has appeared in all kinds of promotional material to get people excited about the golf tournament.
He became more than just an icon in 2010, when the RBC Heritage found a spokesman to play the part. Since then “Sir Willie” has marched around in plaid greeting spectators, handing out freebies and posing for pictures.
“My job is to be with the people, to talk to them, make them feel good and let them know that this tournament is going to be around for a long time,” said Sir Willie.
But who is he?
Sir William Innes was a wealthy Scottish golfer. In 1790, the first golf print was published of Sir William Innes, the Captain of the Society of Goffers at Blackheath in Scotland. It was based off an original oil painting by Lemuel Francis Abbott in 1778.
Some say that Innes moved to Blackheath to be close to the golfing society there and that he loved golf so much, he had the iron railings and gates at his house shaped like golf clubs.
There is a big Scottish influence in golf all across the United States and Hilton Head Island is of no exclusion. The very turf that the pros play on at the RBC Heritage was designed after the golf courses in Scotland at the request of Charles Fraser, the developer of Sea Pines.
“He came up with this whole idea of the heritage to celebrate the history of golf coming from Scotland,” said Angela McSwain, the Marketing Director and Communications Coordinator. “It’s the tradition that the golf course was founded on.”
Everything from the cannons firing at the opening ceremonies, to the awards ceremony presentation of the Captain of Gentleman’s Golf plaque was derived from Scotland. So along with Sir Willie, the tournament is famous for its plaid. At the end of the tournament, the winner is even presented a plaid jacket to pose for pictures. The heritage tartan itself is even registered with the Scottish society.
“It’s such a part of Scotland in itself,” said Sir Willie.
But the winners aren’t the only ones wearing bright red plaid jackets. Whenever Sir Willie is out, he is always dressed in his plaid to pay homage to his home and bring more spirit to the tournament.
“We’re stirring up a bit of excitement about it again,” said Sir Willie. “I think we’ve succeeded.”
When is the best day to go see Sir Willie?
Saturday is Sir Willie’s day—it has been pronounced as Tartan Day by Plaid Nation. The day will be filled with contests and there will even be a concert at night.
“We really get down and talking serious about golf, tartans and plaid and everything else,” said Sir Willie.
He will be out to judge the best dressed in plaid competition and meet any fans from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 18.
To read more about the tournament, click here. To find out more information about the events, check out the schedule on our calendar. For any additional information about the RBC Heritage, go to www.RBCHeritage.com.