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BlogRBC Heritage Preview and Picks

RBC Heritage

April 17 – 20, 2014

Harbour Town G.L.

Hilton Head, S.C.

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $5.8 million

with $1,044,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Graeme McDowell

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 19 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with two players from the top-ten: #6 Matt Kuchar and #9 Jordan Spieth. The other top 50 players are #12 Zach Johnson, $14 Graeme McDowell, #17 Charl Schwartzel, #20 Brandt Snedeker, #21 Jim Furyk, #24 Patrick Reed, #26 Hideki Matsuyama, #29 Luke Donald, #31 Bill Haas, #39 Stephen Gallacher, #40 Harris English, #41 Ernie Els, #43 Russell Henley, #45 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, $47 Kevin Streelman and $50 Billy Horschel.

The field includes 13 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014:  Those players are #4 Patrick Reed, #5 Harris English, #6 Jordan Spieth, #7 Chris Kirk, #8 Zach Johnson, #9 Matt Every, #11 Matt Kuchar, #12 Kevin Stadler, #14 Will MacKenzie, #16 Kevin Na, #21 Russell Henley, #24 Brian Stuard and #25 Steven Bowditch.

The field includes 8 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list: Those players are #3 Patrick Reed, #5 Jordan Spieth, #6 Harris English, #7 Chris Kirk, #9 Zach Johnson, #11 Matt Kuchar, #3 Matt Every, #14 Kevin Stadler, #15 Will MacKenzie, #18 Kevin Na and #20 Russell Henley.

The field includes 11 past champions: Graeme McDowell (2013), Carl Pettersson (2012), Brandt Snedeker (2011), Jim Furyk (2010 & ’05), Brian Gay (2009), Boo Weekley (2008 & ’07), Aaron Baddeley (2006),  Stewart Cink (2004 & ’00), Davis Love III (2003, 1998, 92, ’91 & 1987) Justin Leonard (2002) and Glen Day (1999).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the RBC Heritage field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the RBC Heritage in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the RBC Heritage.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the RBC Heritage

Player Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Cadillac Northern Trust AT&T Pebble WGC Accenture Farmers Phoenix Open
Matt Kuchar
(384.17 pts)
T5
(140)
2
(100)
T4
(80)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(350.67 pts)
T2
(200)
CUT
(-10)
10
(40)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP T34
(16)
T12
(12.67)
T4
(26.67)
T5
(35)
T19
(10.33)
DNP
Will MacKenzie
(208.67 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
T43
(4.67)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP T52
(0)
T13
(12.33)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP
Jim Furyk
(201 pts)
T14
(72)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
T23
(9)
T35
(5)
T5
(35)
DNP DNP
Bill Haas
(190.17 pts)
T20
(60)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T23
(9)
DNP T17
(16.5)
T43
(2.33)
T34
(5.33)
Hunter Mahan
(178.83 pts)
T26
(48)
T31
(19)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
T52
(0)
6
(20)
T9
(22.5)
T47
(1)
T4
(26.67)
Steven Bowditch
(175.67 pts)
T26
(48)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T37
(8.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T19
(10.33)
DNP T75
(0)
T69
(0)
Kevin Na
(163.33 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
T14
(24)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
Patrick Reed
(159.83 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
Win
(132)
DNP T13
(12.33)
T17
(16.5)
DNP T19
(10.33)
Kevin Stadler
(156.17 pts)
T8
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(3)
T23
(9)
T45
(1.67)
T33
(8.5)
DNP Win
(44)
Chesson Hadley
(143.33 pts)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
T26
(16)
T14
(24)
Win
(88)
T24
(8.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T10
(13.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Cameron Tringale
(141.33 pts)
DNP 4
(80)
T46
(4)
T56
(0)
T25
(16.67)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP T12
(12.67)
T13
(12.33)
DNP T66
(0)
T12
(12.67)
Matt Every
(131 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
T8
(33.33)
DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP T6
(20)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
Russell Henley
(123.33 pts)
T31
(38)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
T47
(3)
CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Carl Pettersson
(121 pts)
DNP T31
(19)
T16
(34)
DNP T20
(20)
T4
(53.33)
T46
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Luke Donald
(109.5 pts)
CUT
(-20)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T25
(25)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP DNP
Jason Kokrak
(108 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T31
(19)
4
(53.33)
T14
(24)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T19
(10.33)
DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
Pat Perez
(107.67 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
T67
(0)
T44
(4)
DNP DNP DNP 75
(0)
T7
(18.33)
DNP T2
(33.33)
11
(13)
Graeme McDowell
(106.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
T9
(45)
DNP T7
(18.33)
T5
(35)
DNP DNP
Chris Stroud
(103.67 pts)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP T9
(30)
T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
Erik Compton
(102.67 pts)
DNP T12
(38)
WD
(-5)
T5
(46.67)
T32
(12)
DNP T71
(0)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
T48
(0.67)
Andrew Loupe
(99.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Stephen Gallacher
(97.17 pts)
T34
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP DNP
Harris English
(96.83 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
T10
(13.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP 9
(15)
Russell Knox
(96.33 pts)
DNP DNP T26
(24)
T43
(4.67)
T25
(16.67)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T27
(7.67)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the RBC Heritage

Player Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. Puerto Rico Honda Classic WGC Cadillac Northern Trust AT&T Pebble WGC Accenture Farmers Phoenix Open
Paul Goydos
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Tim Clark
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T82
(0)
T78
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-30 pts)
DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
John Huh
(-28.67 pts)
CUT
(-20)
T37
(13)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charlie Wi
(-25.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T71
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
John Peterson
(-25 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DQ
(-1.67)
T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T61
(0)
Mark Anderson
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ken Duke
(-23 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T82
(0)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T29
(7)
Mark Wilson
(-22 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So another Masters is in the books and I have just a couple of thoughts.  First is a bit of a flip flop, but I think that Augusta National couldn’t of been better set up.  The course was not over the top and not easy, scoring is probably exactly what Augusta National officials were looking for.  After Saturday’s round the difference between first and last place was just 14 shots, a remarkable figure showing how good the course was set up.  Now the flip-flop, again for the seventh year in a row we didn’t really see much of the dramatic swift swings that Masters pre-2007 had.  For some odd reason the 13th and 15th holes are now much tougher and we aren’t seeing as many eagles made on the holes.  This year the 13th hole had 8 eagles and 122 birdies while the 15th hole had 5 eagles and 114 birdies.  In 2006 the 13th hole had 14 eagles and 96 birdies while the 15th hole had 7 eagles and 94 birdies.  So I really think that they need to make those holes a bit easy and bring back some of the excitement that the back nine at Augusta use to have.  I also have one thought that I would probably be shot for saying, but with a lot of the trees and limbs down because of the ice storm in February, I thought that it made Augusta play a bit differently.  I thought about this in going to the bathroom in the media centre, in the hallway they have all of these pictures of Augusta when it was first built in the 30s.  Back then there was no trees on most of the holes, the course was built with links course style in mind.  Over the years the trees have grown and now dot the fairways.  This got me to think, wouldn’t it be nice if Augusta could eliminate 50% of the trees and play the way it was meant to play in the 30s.  One course that did that was Oakmont, outside of Pittsburg, they cut down thousands of trees before the 2007 U.S. Open to let it play the way the course was design.  The move was very radical but very successful.  Just a thought, I don’t see that ever happening at Augusta but it would be nice to see the course play the way it was design.

Things you need to know about the RBC Heritage

  • This will be the 46th edition of the Heritage, which is now well established thanks to the sponsorship deal with RBC three years ago.  It was a long haul with a lot of apprehensive monents and rumors of it’s demise, but the tournament is now healthy again.
  • Harbour Town has been the site of the tournament every year.   In 1989 the Tour Championship was held at Hilton Head.
  • The first Heritage Classic was played to great fanfare in 1969 even though it was a “turkey” of an event.  Originally it was just going to be an regular tournament on Hilton Head Island, giving away $45,000.  But Charles Price, founding editor of Golf Magazine, talked to a few people including Charles Fraser who owned the new course Harbour Town and suggested that instead of a small tournament he should apply for PGA Tour sanction.  They scrambled around and raised the purse to $100,000, then got a date for the tournament which was Thanksgiving weekend.  Jack Nicklaus, who helped Pete Dye design the course played and brought some friends including Arnold Palmer who went out and won the first Heritage Classic.  They say that thanks to Palmer winning, it put the tournament on the map and help create a nice tradition for a tournament in its first year.
  • The Heritage Classic was played over Thanksgiving weekend in its first four years.  It was moved in 1974 to September and then the next year to March.  Between 1983 and today it’s been played the week after the Masters, except for in 2012 when it was two weeks after the Masters.

Course information:

Harbour Town Golf Links

Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

7,101 yards     Par 36-35–71

  • Harbour Town Golf Links features a course rating of 75.6 and a slope rating from the back tees of 147. The tees, fairway, and rough are TifSport bermudaGrass as the greens are bermudagrass overseeded with Poa. The course is a resort course and can be played by the public.  In 2013 Harbour Town was the 11th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.038 average with is 1.038 strokes over par.
  • Course was designed and built by Pete Dye in 1969.  Jack Nicklaus got his start in golf course architecture as he assisted Dye on the design and building of Harbour Town.   The average green size at Harbour Town is 4,500 square feet, which means it has some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour.  Course has 145 bunkers and water comes into play on nine of the 18 holes
  • Over the years the course has changed very little change, seven new teeing grounds were put in with an added yardage of 127 yards, taking the course over the 7,000 mark to 7,101.  The holes that yardage was added to was the 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 16 & 18.  In most cases players didn’t use driver but holes like 16 with an additional 36 yards will now force players to hit a driver.  The same with 18, 20 yards has been added to a hole that will now play to 472 yards.
  • There was also some changes in some of the bunkers so that they are more in play and the area around the second green got some work.  Also some trees that played havoc to those who hit it in the fairway but had to contend with them were removed which will help improve the sight lines.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the RBC Heritage:

Key stat for the winner:

Harbour Town is one of the best courses in America, it’s a totally different experience in which ball placement is upmost over power.  Hitting it hard and far doesn’t work at this venue so look for a precision player to win.

So what will it take to win this week’s Heritage Classic?

  • What makes the course tough is the greens, at 4,500 square feet they are some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour.  Over the last 11 years they have been difficult to hit, of all the tournaments the U.S. Open is the only one that ranks harder to hit than the greens of Hilton Head.
  • Over the years putting and hitting greens have been key to winning at Harbour Town.  It you look at the list of Heritage champions all of them are good putters, especially from the ten to twenty feet range.
  • With greens as small as those Hilton Head scrambling is a very important element in being able to win.  Just look at the recent winners to see how important this stat is. Last year Graeme McDowell led the scrambling list getting it up and down 79.2% of the time.  In 2012 Carl Pettersson was 21st and Brandt Snedeker did a good job at 20th. But in the years before it was even better as in 2010 Jim Furyk was 4th in this category, getting it up and down 23 of 28 times.  In 2009 Brian Gay was first in this category, getting it up and down 22 of 24 tries.  In 2007 Boo Weekley only took 97 putts and won the category, Aaron Baddeley was 7th in his win in 2006, Davis Love III was 3rd in his 2003 win, Justin Leonard was 7th in his 2002 win, Jose Coceres was 5th in 2001 and Nick Price was 3rd in 1997.
  • Heritage always seems to have dramatic finishes.  In the last 12 of the 15 Heritage’s, six of them have had playoffs, three have had a one stroke margin of victory while the other was two and five.  Last year Graeme McDowell won in a playoff with Webb Simpson while in 2012 Carl Pettersson had a easy time winning by five.  In 2011 Snedeker went three extra holes before beating Luke Donald.   Can’t get any more excitement than in 2007 when Boo Weekley beat Ernie Els by a shot but he chipped in on 17 and 18 for the win.  In 2010 Jim Furyk beating Brian Davis in a playoff.
  • After six glorious days of weather at the Masters, we are going to have the opposite this week.  According to forecasts every day will experience showers with the exception of Sunday were the weather is suppose to be perfect.

Who to watch for at the RBC Heritage

Best Bets:

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T35 T44 T21 T14 T48 T7 T61 T10 T32 CUT

Yes I know that his final round scoring average in his last five events is just a notch below 74, but you have to think that all of that will be history if he could win. Course hasn’t been too kind to him in past years, but he is hungry and would really like to break out of this funk with a win, look for a good week with a good Sunday finish.

Jim Furyk

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T42 T8 T21 Win CUT 4 CUT 2 T2 T10 T15

Has a lot of great memories of this course, has been playing better of late, look for a great week out of him.

Jordan Spieth

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9

Will be looking to shake off his final round at the Masters with a win this week. Was T9th last year, look for a great week from him.

Best of the rest:

Luke Donald

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T3 T37 2 T3 T2 CUT T69 CUT

A great record in this event, is very high in the scrambling stats.

Kevin Na

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 T9 T35 CUT T17 T4 T52 WD T11

Good track record at Hilton Head, watch him this week. Is second in scrambling for the year, that’s a great sign of him playing well.

Brendon de Jonge

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T29 T21 T35 T69

Could this be the week for him to finally win?

Boo Weekley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T42 T6 T46 T12 T13 Win Win

2 time champion, he is such a great ball-striker that he almost owns this course.

Solid contenders

Zach Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T48 2 CUT T47 T37 CUT 6 T47 T53

May not be playing well this week but he will snap out of his funk very soon, could be this week.

Russell Henley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6

T6th last year, has a win already in 2014 and looking for another this week.

Rory Sabbatini

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T17 T14 T8

Hate when I have to include this guy in my picks, not the favored of many folks but does have a good track record in this event.

Justin Leonard

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T55 CUT CUT T48 T17 T16 T47 T39 T47 Win

Is first in scrambling this year, also a past champion look for a great week out of him.

Long shots that could come through:

Chris Stroud

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6 CUT CUT CUT

Been very consistent this year, did finish T6th here last year.

Richard H. Lee

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9

Was T9th last year.

Billy Horschell

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Was also T9th last year.

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