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BlogRSM Classic Preview and Picks

The RSM Classic

November 16th – 19th, 2017

Seaside Course

Sea Island, GA

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,005

Purse: $6.2 million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Mac Hughes

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 17 of those in the top 100 and 6 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player being #15 Matt Kuchar.  The other top-100 players are #27 Brian Harman, #42 Webb Simpson, #47 Brandt Snedeker, #48 Zach Johnson, #51 Bill Haas, #59 Charles Howell III, #66 Russell Knox, #68 Bubba Watson, #81 William McGirt, #82 Sunghoon Kang, #83 Chesson Hadley, #86 Byeong Hun An, #88 Sean O’Hair, #89 Jamie Lovemark and #92 Hudson Swafford.

Last year there were only 8 top-50 players.

The field includes 7 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #1 Patton Kizzire, #8 Chesson Hadley, #9 Whee Kim, #10 Ryan Armour, #18 Charles Howell III, #19 Scott Brown and #25 Si Woo Kim.

The field includes 7 players in the top 25 in this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #4 Patton Kizzire, #7 Whee Kim, #8 Chesson Hadley, #12 Ryan Armour,  #20 Scott Brown, #22 Si Woo Kim, and #25 Charles Howell III.

The field includes all 7 of the 7 past champions: Mac Hughes (2017), Kevin Kisner (2016), Robert Streb (2015), Chris Kirk (2014), Tommy Gainey (2012), Ben Crane (2011) and Heath Slocum (2010).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the RSM Classic 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 RSM Classic in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the RSM Classic.

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 The RSM Classic

Player Mayakoba Shriners Hospitals WGC-HSBC Sanderson Farms Nine Bridges CIMB Classic Safeway Open Web.com Tour Tour Championship BMW Championship Dell Technologies Northern Trust
Chesson Hadley
(236.33 pts)
WD
(-5)
T4
(80)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patton Kizzire
(235.33 pts)
Win
(132)
T4
(80)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
Whee Kim
(168.67 pts)
T45
(5)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
T39
(7.33)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T34
(8)
Ryan Armour
(155.33 pts)
T55
(0)
T20
(30)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Brown
(152.17 pts)
T6
(60)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T23
(18)
T62
(0)
DNP DNP T20
(15)
T65
(0)
T25
(12.5)
Charles Howell III
(130.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP T19
(20.67)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
CUT
(-5)
T62
(0)
Brian Stuard
(125 pts)
T9
(45)
T57
(0)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jason Kokrak
(124.5 pts)
T45
(5)
T20
(30)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
T25
(12.5)
Webb Simpson
(123 pts)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T13
(18.5)
T9
(22.5)
T75
(0)
T6
(30)
J.T. Poston
(112.67 pts)
T14
(36)
T4
(80)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Beau Hossler
(111 pts)
T34
(16)
T7
(55)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brian Harman
(109.67 pts)
DNP DNP 8
(50)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(13)
T40
(5)
T65
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Shawn Stefani
(103.33 pts)
T20
(30)
T68
(0)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP T65
(0)
T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Siwoo Kim
(102.5 pts)
3
(90)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP T44
(4)
77
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
T40
(5)
T43
(3.5)
Kevin Streelman
(97.17 pts)
T20
(30)
67
(0)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(7.5)
CUT
(-5)
Matt Kuchar
(94 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(20)
T5
(35)
T56
(0)
T10
(20)
J.J. Spaun
(85.33 pts)
T14
(36)
T10
(40)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
T54
(0)
Martin Piller
(79.67 pts)
T4
(80)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP DNP T69
(0)
T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jonathan Randolph
(76.67 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nick Taylor
(75.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T32
(18)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
T13
(24.67)
T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-5)
William McGirt
(75 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(10)
T54
(0)
Austin Cook
(72.67 pts)
T50
(1)
T20
(30)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandon Harkins
(71.67 pts)
T25
(25)
T20
(30)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tom Hoge
(66.33 pts)
T61
(0)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tyrone Van Aswegen
(65 pts)
T25
(25)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Talor Gooch
(63 pts)
T41
(9)
T16
(34)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Benjamin Silverman
(62.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T47
(3)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
T20
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(61.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T32
(12)
T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP T33
(8.5)
T40
(5)
CUT
(-5)
Zach Johnson
(61.67 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP T20
(15)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Smylie Kaufman
(60 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP 75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme McDowell
(56 pts)
T34
(16)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Rodgers
(55 pts)
T14
(36)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
T23
(18)
T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP T73
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Rob Oppenheim
(54.67 pts)
T34
(16)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T5
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brice Garnett
(54 pts)
T25
(25)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
T20
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(53.33 pts)
74
(0)
T10
(40)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the The RSM Classic

Player Mayakoba Shriners Hospitals WGC-HSBC Sanderson Farms Nine Bridges CIMB Classic Safeway Open Web.com Tour Tour Championship BMW Championship Dell Technologies Northern Trust
Harris English
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
Sam Ryder
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Thompson
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nate Lashley
(-38.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Yun
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jon Curran
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Keith Mitchell
(-28.33 pts)
T68
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Chris Stroud
(-24.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
75
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
Marty Dou Zecheng
(-23.33 pts)
WD
(-5)
CUT
(-10)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rick Lamb
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The RSM Classic is an event in a small resort town or should we say island in Georgia which has been well received since it started in 2010.  Davis Love III got behind it and his charities are the benefactors of this event.  Love also gets behind the tournament to get his friends and fellow players to attend.  The tournament also has a great sponsor in RSM who is a tax and consulting firm.  The good thing is that folks like Zach Johnson, Harris English and Brian Harman, who live in Sea Island are playing which helps.  This event has been held at different times during the fall swing, and it seems found it’s spot, the last event on the fall swing.  Another thing two years ago the field was increased from 132 players to 156 as another course (the Plantation) is used in the first two rounds, so players are on the Seaside Course for three rounds.

The Plantation is the first course at Sea Island; it was a nine-hole course which opened in 1928.  Built by Walter Travis, it opened when ferry service was first introduced to bring people over to Sea Island.  A year later the Seaside course was built.  The land on which the course was created on was a working plantation.  Some of the oak trees were planted over two-hundred years ago.  In 1998 the ownership of Sea Island brought in Rees Jones to upgrade the original course.  The course was turned into a “parkland by the sea” course as it has views of the Atlantic but is parkland in nature.  It’s different than the Seaside Course which is links nature.  The Plantation course will play at 7,058, has a 74.8 rating with a slope rating of 138 and to a par of 72.  It does have wide open fairways, but lakes come into play on 10 of the 18 holes so it will present a different challenge for players.

Players that didn’t make it through Web.Com Tour school.

Last week we told you the story of how A.J. McInerney finished T-10th at the Shriners Hospitals Open and got an exemption to Mayakoba.  But he decided that he needed to attend the second stage of the Web.Com Tour Q-School.  Unfortunately for him, it didn’t turn out very well as he shot 71-75-70-73 and missed out by six shots, so he has little choice but attend Monday qualifying on both the Web.Com and PGA Tour to get into events.  You remember at the Sanderson Farms Scott Strohmeyer finished T-4th and got into Vegas.  For Strohmeyer, his Web.Com journey ended in the first stage when he shot 81-69-73-72 to miss out qualifying by eight shots.  For Strohmeyer, he was back to Monday qualifier at Brunswick C.C. trying to get into the RSM Classic.  Strohmeyer had a bogey-free round of 67, but it wasn’t good enough as those that shot 65 got into a playoff.  People would be shocked to know how tough it is to Monday qualify, for example at Brunswick C.C. you have players like 2006 Valero Texas Open champion Eric Axley shot 67 and not make it.  2001 U.S. Amateur winner Bubba Dickson also shot 67 and didn’t make it.  Many think that Maverick McNealy could be a star in the future, but on Monday he was just another player to shot 69 and not make it.  That’s the anguish of Monday qualifying.

While we talk about the anguish of Monday qualifying, how about Web.Com Tour qualifying.  People will hear a lot next month when final stage qualifying happens at Chandler, Arizona but many don’t realize how hard it is just getting to Chandler.  There are three stages of qualifying, first, the pre-Qualifying events that happened the first week of September, there were six sites that had about 75 players in each site with about half of the players moving on.  Most of the players in this stage are young and players that not many folks have heard of but you see a lot of carnage starting in the first stage.  Remember Ty Tryon, who a decade ago made it to the PGA Tour at 17 years old, he has struggled a lot since and struggled in Lakeland not making the grade.  But you see the most carnage starting in the second stage.  Played at five different sites, each site has around 75 players with between 20 to 25 going through.  Some of the names that didn’t make it include Bubba Dickerson, Parker McLachlin, Ted Purdy, Dru Love, Derek Gillespie, and Tommy Gainey.  Also missing is 2007 U.S. Amateur champion Drew Weaver, 2003 Amateur champion Nick Flanagan and remember Tadd Fujikawa from the Hawaiian Open, these are some of the names of players that ended their quest to get on the Web.Com Tour.  It just goes to show how hard it is to play professional golf.  It’s not like the old days when players went through the same process to get onto the PGA Tour, but now there is no more PGA Tour Qualifying, so you have to make it first onto the Nationwide Tour before you get a shot to play on the PGA Tour.

Cameron Champ

Last week Cameron Champ, an excellent amateur who played on the Walker Cup team in September and is probably best remembered for his great start at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, going on to finish T-32nd.  Champ decided to forego his final semester of eligibility at Texas A&M and turned pro last month.  He finished T-11th in the second stage of Web.Com Tour Q-School so will be in Arizona next month for the finals.  Last week in his first PGA Tour start at the Mayakoba he missed the cut and is playing this week on a sponsor exemption.

Brandt Snedeker is back

Brandt has had a career full of injuries, his most recent came in June when he started getting pain in his sternum, and by the time July rolled around he couldn’t hit a golf shot, it was even tough to breathe.  He had been seeing doctors for a couple of months when the pain first started trying different therapies to relieve the pain, but nothing was working.  What he had was a bone spur that was pushing on his manubriosternal joint, and the cure is surgery.  The weird thing about the injury, he only gets pain when hitting a golf ball, everything else in his day is painfree.  He wanted at all cost avoid the knife and after things didn’t get better and he had to withdraw from the British Open and the Wyndham he was told to shut it down.  So he didn’t touch a golf club for nine weeks and changed his workouts and diet.  He eliminated sugar and carbohydrates as part of an anti-inflammatory diet and a couple of weeks ago started hitting balls.  Snedeker changed his address position so that in his pivot he will take pressure off the joint that bothers him and help protect his chest from further injury.  Even though he’s not 100%, he hasn’t had any issues while practicing the last couple of weeks so decided to play this week in Sea Island.  He plans on playing next month in the QBE Shootout with Bubba Watson and if everything goes fine, will begin 2018 playing at the Careers Builder in Palm Springs.  So this week is crucial to him, if the pain comes back he probably will need surgery to fix it, which will be at least six months to recover.

Who’s hot

Of course, have to look at Patton Kizzire, he won last week in Mexico, was T-4th at the Shriners and T-10th at the Sanderson Farms and is still cheap, only costing $8,900 on DraftKings.  Now Chesson Hadley was hot going into the Mayakoba, but he was forced to withdraw after two rounds due to food poisoning so he may be a guy to avoid this week.  Another player to possibly avoid is Whee Kim, after finishing 4th at the Nine Bridges and T-2nd at the Shriners he opened up with rounds of 69-69-67 before closing with a 75 which could be signs that his game could be cooling down.  Also, have to like Scott Brown, was T-5th at the Nine Bridges, T-63rd in Las Vegas and T-6th last week in Mexico, so watch him.  Brian Stuard is not a person that gets on my radar scoop, but after finishing T-4th at the Sanderson followed by a T-57th in Las Vegas and T-9th last week in Mexico, he may be worth watching ($7,600 on Draftkings).  In playing Draftkings, you want a low-value player that could give some good returns, try J.T. Poston ($7,200) who was T-4th in Las Vegas and T-14th last week in Mexico.  Another player is J.J. Spaun who was T-10th in Vegas and T-14th in Mexico but frankly not worth the $9,000 they are charging on Draftkings.  I am still high on Beau Hossler ($8,000 on Draftkings) he was T-10th at the Sanderson, T-7th at Las Vegas and finished T-34th in Mexico, mostly because he shot 70-72 over the weekend.

By biggest pick for this week is Charles Howell III, (a bit high at $9,500 but could be worth it) he has progressively gotten better, finishing with a pair of 66s in Mexico for a T-4th finish.  Of course, we all know that Howell doesn’t seem to know how to win, but I think he is good for a top-ten, possibly even better.  Last but not least Kevin Kisner is back, he hasn’t played since the President Cup, the only problem he is the top-priced guy on Draftkings at $11,600.

Seaside Course information:

  • The Seaside course is part of the three courses at Sea Island Golf Club.  The Seaside course which is the venue of the RSM Classic is a classic Harry Colt and Charles Alison design dating from 1929. Tom Fazio completed a renovation in 1999. It’s another of those hidden gems that not many people know about, it’s a true Scottish links course near the Atlantic with ocean views that plays fast and firm.
  • The main challenges could be in the greens, which are nearly impossible to read. The layout features other notable problems like the bunkering which is old fashion and truly memorable. They offer a variety in size and shape but they are all strategically placed to deliver a formidable test for even the most experienced players.
  • The first nine goes out and back in a counterclockwise fashion while the second nine follows a clockwise direction. Each of the four par-3s faces its unique direction which is unusual for any course, so players get a different feel on each par 3 when it’s windy that is always the case at Sea Island.
  • The course meanders through marshlands and lakes with water or marshes coming into play on most of the holes.  There are only 40 sand bunkers on the course, but they are all in strategic spots to catch drives and wayward shots to the greens that are the average size of 7,000 square feet.  The course has bermudagrass all through it with a 72.3 rating and a slope of 137.  In 2015 the course played to a 69.422 average score (.578 under par) and was the 28th toughest course of the 52 courses used.
  • It’s been the venue for some significant amateur competitions over the years including the US Senior Amateur and the US Senior Women’s Amateur.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at Seaside Course:

This is based on the most vital stats from the Seaside course at the Sea Island Resort based on data from last year’s RSM Classic and using data from all the players in the field with stats from this year.
The Seaside course at the Sea Island Resort has been the home of the RSM Classic since the tournament was started in 2010. It’s one of those gems that has been around since the early 1930s and renovated in 1999. It’s a true Scottish Links that is close to the Atlantic with plenty of ocean views along with windy conditions that give the players something that isn’t experienced much on the PGA Tour. In order to get a full field of 156 players with limited daylight this time of year, in 2016 the used the neighboring Plantation Course for one of the four rounds, so 54 of the 72 holes are played on the Seaside Course. For this statistical look we will use just stats from the Seaside course. The course has bermudagrass all through it with a 72.3 rating and a slope of 137. Last year the course played to a 68.89 average score (just over a shot under it’s par 70) and was the 35th toughest course of the 50 courses used last year. It’s the lowest the course has ever played, one of the reasons is the benign conditions due to the lack of wind. Conditions are calling for very little wind on Thursday and Friday, but it will pick up to between 13 and 15mph on the weekend so conditions will be a bit tougher.

To be frank this course is a lot like British Open rota courses. Just like at Royal Birkdale over the summer, lack of wind helps make the course a bit of a pushover for players since the fairways are very generous with very little rough. So with the yardage being short, the greens are easy targets as a lot of birdies are made on a course that only has two par 5s. In looking at the seven winners of this event one thing is striking, there is not one long hitter that has won this event and the seven winners aren’t very straight off the tee. The same for shotmaking, of the seven past champions there isn’t one that you can say is repeatedly a great ball striker. The stats that do stick out of the champions are around and on the greens, so below is a look at the last four winners and how they ranked in those key stats on or around the greens for the week:

Scrambling
2014 – Chris Kirk was 5th
2015 – Robert Streb was 25th
2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
2017 – Mac Hughes was 2nd

Strokes gained putting
2014 – Chris Kirk was 11th
2015 – Robert Streb was 2nd
2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
2017 – Mac Hughes was 3rd

Overall putting average
2014 – Chris Kirk was 10th
2015 – Robert Streb was T-1st
2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
2017 – Mac Hughes was 1st

One-putts
2014 – Chris Kirk was T-27th
2015 – Robert Streb was T-1st
2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
2017 – Mac Hughes was 1st

Putting inside 10 feet
2014 – Chris Kirk was T-33rd
2015 – Robert Streb was T-6th
2016 – Kevin Kisner was T-8th
2017 – Mac Hughes was 26th

Average distance of putts made
2014 – Chris Kirk was 10th
2015 – Robert Streb was 3rd
2016 – Kevin Kisner was 5th
2017 – Mac Hughes was 1st

One other stat that we feel is important is something that is rarely looked at but should on this course, Strokes Gained Total which basically looks at all the number of strokes for the player on the same course and event
2014 – Chris Kirk was 1st
2015 – Robert Streb was T-1st
2016 – Kevin Kisner was 1st
2017 – Mac Hughes was T-2nd

So in looking at our four categories, we are putting a lot of efficiency in those stats around and on the greens. Would love to use average distance of putts made, but that and all of the Strokes Gained stats are incomplete since half the courses played this year didn’t have full stats. So we are sticking with some conventional stats for this week, our first stat is overall putting average because this is the most important stat that everyone has figures on showing who is putting the best. Our 2nd stat is scrambling because again the past winners showed the importance of this stat. The third category that we are using is greens hit, this shows the importance of making sure to hit greens. Our last category is birdie average because it’s important to make a lot of them last year the Seaside course averaged 3.65 birdies per round.

*Overall putting average: Average number of putts when you divide total putts by total holes played.

*Scrambling: Who gets it up and down the most of anyone in the field

*Greens in Regulation: How many greens are hit from the fairway.

*Birdie Average: Who averages the most birdies per round

138 of the 156 Players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the other 127 of the 156 players in the RSM Classic.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at The RSM Classic:

Key stat for the winner:

This is a true links course so players will have to be able to play firm fast fairways and be good in the wind.  Hitting into the greens tend to be very tricky and for those that miss the greens getting it up and down is a key.  In looking at the first three winners they aren’t among the leaders in scrambling, Slocum in 2010 was T20th, Crane in 2011 was T41st and Gainey was T35th in 2012.  But the three have one big stat in common, and that is they all led the scrambling from the fringe stat, while 2014 winner Chris Kirk was 5th in scrambling, the 2015 winner Robert Streb was 25th, 2016 winner Kevin Kisner was 3rd but last year’s winner Mac Hughes was 2nd in scrambling and 1st in scrambling from the fringe so this is an important stat  So go to this page on PGA Tour.Com it’s the leaders from this year’s scrambling category.  Look, and you will see guys like David Skinns, Dicky Pride, Talor Gooch and Ben Crane in the top-ten, who are not household names and playing this week, they could be sleeper picks for this week.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • One of two stats is key, you either have to hit a lot of greens or putt really well.  Look at the seven winners, Slocum in 2010 was T7th in greens hit and 39th in strokes gained putting.  Crane in 2011 was T26th in greens hit but 2nd in Strokes gained putting while Gainey in 2012 was T23rd in greens hit but 3rd in strokes gained putting.  In 2014 Chris Kirk was T15th in greens hit, and T11th in strokes gained putting, while in 2015 Robert Streb was T-47th in greens hit but 2nd in strokes gained putting.  In 2016 Kevin Kisner was T-9th in Greens hit and 4th in Strokes gained putting while Mac Hughes was T-11th in greens hit and 3rd in strokes gained putting  So you can see what is important to win this week.
  • All seven winners had one thing in common, and that was the ability of playing the par 4s.  In 2010 Slocum was 11 under on them, the next closest player was 9 under.  In 2011, Crane was 12 under, the next closet was 11 under and in 2012 Gainey was 12 under the next closet was 11 under.  In 2014 Chris Kirk was 6 under, in 2015 Robert Streb was 7 under the best for the week was 8 under.  In 2016 Kevin Kisner was 15 under (the best of anyone in the history of the event) while last year Mac Hughes was 9 under on the par 4s.  So if it’s Sunday and you’re looking for someone with the edge look at that stat.
  • Driving accuracy means nothing on this course that makes sense since it’s a resort course.  Last year it was 44th, in 2016 it was 47th, in 2015 it was 43rd while in 2014 it was 42nd.  In 2012 it was 44th in driving accuracy, while it was T43rd in 2011 and 38th in 2010 so poor drivers could do well this week.
  • Most people disregard putts per round, but this is something of importance on this course.  As you don’t have to drive the ball straight on this course to succeed, you do have to take the least amount of putts.  In the putts per round category Seaside was 7th last year and 4th in 2016, 2015 and 2014.  It was 2nd in 2012 and 2011, 3rd in 2010.  In a way, this is because it’s a resort course but still putting is important.
  • Look for a good mix of players from Sea Island, Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra to be in the field, a bit of local knowledge.
  • We find a course that is completely Bermuda and that is important because it takes a special player to win on Bermuda grass.  Of course Mac Hughes, who is from Canada and lives in Charlotte ruined this stat but in the other years it was very interesting.  In 2016 Kevin Kisner won and he was from up the road in Aiken, South Carolina and knows how to play on Bermuda. Robert Streb won in 2015 and he is from Kansas, which has bermuda grasses.  But previously Chris Kirk (born and lives in Atlanta), Gainey (born and lives in South Carolina) and Slocum (born in Louisiana and lives in Georgia) are southern boys that have been around Bermuda all of their lives.  Ben Crane was born in Portland and went to school in Portland, Oregon which isn’t a place to learn Bermuda, but look at Crane’s wins, three of the four have come on courses with Bermuda and he does live in Texas today.  The point is, look for a player that does well on Bermuda courses.  Of course Mac Hughes ruined the trend last year but you have to think that someone born or raised in the North or Midwest has very little chance of winning.
  • Lastly have to talk about the weather.  It’s going to be great this week with mild temperatures and no rain, wind will probably be a factor in the last three days as Friday and Saturday will be 12 mph but will creep up to 15 mph on Sunday.

 

 

Who to watch for at the The RSM Classic

Best Bets:

Patton Kizzire

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT T54

He got over the hump last week with his first win, think that two in a row could be easy for him. His putting should help him play well this week, also makes a lot of birdies.

Matt Kuchar

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T25 T22 T7 T20 T25

Hometown boy that is ready to win again, watch him do well this week.

Ollie Schniederjans

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T6

Time for him to break out and finally win, good putter that makes a lot of birdies will carry him over.

Best of the rest:

Chesson Hadley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T45 CUT T32 CUT

He will be everyone’s favorite but I would be very careful since he did have food poisoning in Mexico, that could drag him down. Other than that playing well and putting well now.

Bill Haas

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T33 T22 2

Has played well on this course and is a good wind player, watch him.

Webb Simpson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T36 T41 T7 2 T12

Another of those guys that can do well, has some good memories of playing well here.

Jamie Lovemark

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T6 T9

Has never had a round over par in this event, playing his eight rounds in 24 under. Came close in Korea, he is a guy to watch this week.

Charles Howell III

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 T9 T73 T27 T7 T32 T6

He won’t win but can give you a very good finish, probably a top-ten.

Solid contenders

Kevin Kisner

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT Win T4 T20 CUT T26

Has a good track record here, just worried that he hasn’t played since the Presidents Cup.

Zach Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T75 CUT T16 T49 CUT T12

Lives on Sea Island but has always struggled in this event. Have to say that maybe this is the year he breaks out of this funk.

SiWoo Kim

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T18

Played well last week in Mexico, could carry over to this week.

Brian Harman

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT T41 T10 T27

Played very well in the Asian events, was T-10th in this event in 2014.

Camilo Villegas

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 T75 T54 T40 T20

Watch him, played well last year and has been solid in 2018.

Long shots that could come through:

Scott Brown

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T18 CUT T4 T20

Played well last week in Mexico (T-6th) and in Korea (T-5th), he was T-4th in this event in 2014.

Brian Stuard

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T25 CUT CUT T15

Was T-4th in Sanderson and T-9th last week in Mexico.

J.T. Spaun

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Was T-10th in Vegas and T-14th in Mexico.

J.T. Poston

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT

T-4th in Las Vegas and T-14th last week in Mexico

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