When someone wins the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, they’ll not only get a trophy and a boat load of money (nautical joke), they’ll also slip on a plaid jacket.
Since the Hilton Head Island tournament almost always falls the week after the Masters on the PGA Tour schedule, golf fans probably figure there’s some jacket envy of the Masters green jacket. However, the history of the plaid jacket at the RBC Heritage suggests that’s not the case.
When organizers started the tournament over Thanksgiving weekend in 1969, there were no plaid jackets. Rather, tournament officials wore canary yellow jackets. That was changed a few years later, when organizers were inspired by the famous 1790 golf print of Sir William Innes, who was captain of the Society of Golfers at Blackheath in Scotland, playing in a tartan jacket. Innes’ image was also included in the tournament logo until RBC became the tournament title sponsor in 2012.
Ultimately, organizers decided to use the Royal Stewart tartan as the base for their tournament-specific tartan, removing a yellow bar to make it their own. That tartan, now called Heritage Plaid, is now the tartan design on the jackets given to tournament winners.
However, the winner wasn’t always given the tartan jacket at the trophy presentation. For a number of years, the winner was given a red jacket once they won, then they were given their plaid jacket in the next year’s opening ceremony.