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BlogRBC Heritage Preview and Picks

RBC Heritage

April 12th – 15th, 2018

Harbour Town G.L.

Hilton Head, SC

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,099

Purse: $6.7 million

with $1,206,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Wesley Bryan

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 40 of the top-100 and 17 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with one player from the top-ten, #1 Dustin Johnson.  Here are the other top-50 players: #13 Paul Casey, #16 Marc Leishman, #18 Tyrrell Hatton, #21 Matt Kuchar, #23 Brian Harman, #25 Kevin Kisner, #26 Charley Hoffman, #27 Xander Schauffele, #29 Francesco Molinari, #31 Ian Poulter, #35 Patrick Cantlay, #37 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #38 Ross Fisher, #39 Cameron Smith, #40 Kevin Chappell, #41 Adam Hadwin, #43 Webb Simpson, #46 Satoshi Kodaira and #50 Dylan Frittelli.

Last year there were 17 top-fifty players.

Masters champion Patrick Reed is not in the field, in the last eleven years only one Masters champion Jordan Spieth in 2015 played the following week at Hilton Head.

The field includes 11 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017.  Those players are  #5 Adam Hadwin, #6 Pat Perez, #11 Russell Henley, #13 Marc Leishman, #17 Charles Howell III, #18 Bill Haas, #19 Luke List, #20 Kevin Kisner, #23 Rod Pampling, #24 Francesco Molinari and #25 Charley Hoffman.

The field includes 10 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list. Those players are  #2 Patton Kizzire, #7 Dustin Johnson, #10 Paul Casey, #14 Brian Harman, #18 Patrick Cantlay, #20 Luke List, #21 Austin Cook, #22 Cameron Smith, #24 Marc Leishman and #25 Ian Poulter.

The field includes 10 past champions: Wesley Bryan (2017), Jim Furyk (2015 & ’10), Matt Kuchar (2014), Graeme McDowell (2013), Carl Pettersson (2012), Brandt Snedeker (2011), Brian Gay (2009), Aaron Baddeley (2006), Stewart Cink (2004 & ’00) and Davis Love III (2003, 1998, ’92 & ’91).

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 the 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 Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Championship Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar Indian Open WGC Mexico Honda Classic Genesis Open Qatar Masters AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phoenix Open
Paul Casey
(262.5 pts)
T15
(70)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP
Cameron Smith
(261.67 pts)
T5
(140)
DNP T5
(105)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
Ian Poulter
(245 pts)
T44
(12)
Win
(132)
T5
(105)
DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
Kevin Kisner
(201.67 pts)
T28
(44)
DNP 2
(150)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 29
(21)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(199.5 pts)
T28
(44)
T8
(50)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP T62
(0)
T5
(23.33)
Adam Hadwin
(194.17 pts)
T24
(52)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Dustin Johnson
(179.67 pts)
T10
(80)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(166.17 pts)
T44
(12)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(163.67 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T50
(1)
T26
(16)
DNP 6
(40)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
Webb Simpson
(157.83 pts)
T20
(60)
DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T37
(13)
T5
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brian Harman
(155.17 pts)
T44
(12)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charley Hoffman
(153.67 pts)
T12
(76)
DNP T36
(21)
DNP T14
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
T26
(8)
Francesco Molinari
(150.5 pts)
T20
(60)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
Marc Leishman
(142.67 pts)
9
(90)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Luke List
(134.67 pts)
DNP T24
(26)
T59
(0)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
T26
(8)
DNP DNP T26
(8)
Brice Garnett
(133 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP
Charles Howell III
(131.17 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
T9
(67.5)
DNP T14
(24)
T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
(113.67 pts)
T38
(24)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
DNP T55
(0)
T5
(23.33)
Kelly Kraft
(112.67 pts)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Si Woo Kim
(109.5 pts)
T24
(52)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
Xander Schauffele
(109.5 pts)
T50
(2)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
Beau Hossler
(103.33 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T43
(2.33)
T17
(11)
Ryan Moore
(96 pts)
T28
(44)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
T9
(15)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Chappell
(90.67 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T36
(21)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T30
(20)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T31
(6.33)
Zach Johnson
(87.67 pts)
T36
(28)
DNP T36
(21)
DNP T26
(16)
T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
Patrick Cantlay
(81.17 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T30
(20)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP
James Hahn
(72 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
T36
(21)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP T26
(8)
T11
(13)
Harris English
(71 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T5
(70)
T22
(18.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rory Sabbatini
(71 pts)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP 72
(0)
T31
(6.33)
Scott Stallings
(67 pts)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP T29
(7)
T4
(26.67)
DNP 7
(18.33)
T23
(9)
Grayson Murray
(66.67 pts)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T70
(0)
K.J. Choi
(61.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T26
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sean O’Hair
(58.67 pts)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T64
(0)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP
Bud Cauley
(54.33 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
T20
(10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Na
(53.33 pts)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP T20
(10)
T48
(0.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Championship Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar Indian Open WGC Mexico Honda Classic Genesis Open Qatar Masters AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phoenix Open
Robert Streb
(-46.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
D.A. Points
(-43.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Horschel
(-34.33 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T43
(2.33)
Wesley Bryan
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Camilo Villegas
(-26.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T68
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
Cody Gribble
(-26.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T70
(0)
Billy Hurley III
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Taylor
(-23.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
Mackenzie Hughes
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Whee Kim
(-22.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T49
(0.67)
DNP 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.  Again the Masters does what other events fail to do, in most cases have the greatest week of golf. This week was no different, on Sunday you had top players like Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth make a run.  Yes, Patrick Reed may not be the most popular winner, but he played great not only on Sunday but the whole week.

I have gotten a lot of emails from you folks asking me if the rumors are true that Reed isn’t a good guy.  I can’t reasonably answer that question because I have had zero experience with Reed.  I can say this, I have attended close to 175 majors and in those have been in the press room for half of them. In those, when a player wins you get some excitement, clapping and general cheerleading on the winner’s final putt.  But on Sunday when Reed made his four-footer on the last hole to win, there was a moment of silence in the pressroom, yes complete silence something I have never experienced.

Again I am not going to get into the talk on if Reed is or is not a good person.  But I can say this, he is an outstanding player, and at times I can’t believe when he doesn’t play well.  Reed is only 27 years old and since his first victory in the 2013 Wyndham has won six times.  In the majors, he didn’t play well until he got his first top-ten at last year’s PGA Championship with a T-2nd.  Reed was the last person that anyone would think of winning the Masters when you consider that in four previous Masters his best finish was T-22nd and that in 12 Masters rounds Reed only broke par twice with a 74.25 scoring average.  His first round 69 was the first time he had ever broken 70 at Augusta National and by the time he got to Saturday evening he had broken 70 three times with rounds of 69-66-67.  The one thing that I have noticed about Reed in his career is that you should never underestimate his abilities in clutch situations.  People tend to forget that Reed made it onto the PGA Tour under stressful conditions, with no status in 2012 he got into PGA Tour events six times in Monday qualifying, a remarkable feat in the cut-throat area.  At the end of the year made it through PGA Tour qualifying school to get his PGA Tour card and won for the first time at Wyndham when he was just days from turning 23 years old.  In the final round, Reed went mano-a-mano against Jordan Spieth in the last nine holes and then beat Spieth with a birdie on the 2nd playoff hole.  He has his wife Justine serving as his caddie; she did it for that whole year.  But one of the things that we realized about Reed was that in the playoff he heard all of the rooting for Spieth in the playoff and that negativity he was able to turn around into positive energy to beat Spieth.  For Reed, this has become a trademark to turn negative energy around him into motivation to win.  At the Humana Challenge in 2014, Patrick Reed had one of the most explosive starts, shooting rounds of 63-63-63 to lead by seven going into the final round.  But he struggled in the final round after a bogey at 12 he was 1 over for the round, and things had tightened up, Patrick could hear the murmurs in the gallery on how it looked like he was folding and he again channeled that negativity into a birdie on 15 to hold onto the win.  Two months later in Doral, Reed found himself with a big lead in the final round but started to struggle until he heard those murmurs which help him hold on.  At the end of 2014 he made the Ryder Cup team and again in a hostile environment at Gleneagles in Scotland he was the only bright spot in a terrible American defeat.  With his 1 up singles victory against Henrik Stenson, he came out of those matches with a 3-0-1 record.  And to prove how good he was at the Ryder Cup he went mano-o-mano against Rory McIlroy in one of the greatest displays of match play.  They were the first out in the Sunday singles and put on a tremendous putting display, making putts all over the place to rev up the crowd and Reed held up to win 1 up over McIlroy.  Again when asked about the match he explained how he could feel the negativity which helps turn it around into positive energy in being able to beat one of the best players in the world.  Not only does he have an excellent record in two Ryder Cup appearances with a 6-1-2 record, winning 7 points, but his Presidents Cup record is also good at 4-3-2 earning 5 points.  I remember in accessing Reed’s Masters’ chances on Saturday evening; the big news was Reed not being able to hold his lead against playing partner Rory McIlroy and how McIlroy would win his personal Grand Slam.  On paper, it looked all easy, but in the back of my mind, all I could think of is how good Reed has been in tough conditions before and come through it.  But the one thing that really got my mind thinking that Reed could win was his big victory over Jordan Spieth at the WGC-Dell Match Play in which Reed was able to defeat Spieth in one of the biggest matches of that event.  That and Reed’s most favorite quote from his wife Justine, “Nerves just mean you’re prepared,” just had me thinking that Reed could handle everything on Sunday to win the Masters.

In the history of golf’s four major championships, which began just 20 days before Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States in 1860, the golfing world has seen 443 majors with Reed becoming the 222nd different winner.  It’s amazing to think that over 158 years of history only 222 men can claim to win a major and after a great Sunday no matter what anyone says, Patrick Reed deserves to be one of the elites in golf history.

What do Darren Clarke, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed have in common?

All seven of them have won major championships in which Rickie Fowler has been in the top-five.  Since the 2011 British Open Rickie Fowler has been in the top-five in eight of the 27 majors, he has played in.  Now he may not have the most top-five without a victory, that honor goes to Lee Westwood with 11 top-fives in 79 majors played, so it’s remarkable to think that Westwood has played in 52 more majors than Fowler.  The big question, when will Fowler win or will he ever win?  We kind of thought the same thing of Sergio Garcia, who took 74 majors to win finally or even Tom Kite who took 72 majors.  Do I think Fowler will win a major, yes just don’t know when.  You know it’s not a very good science in predicting major winners, come U.S. Open time it will be the same guys, Dustin, Jordan, Rory, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose along with Tiger and Phil.  You know it’s not a very good science in predicting major winners, come U.S. Open time it will be the same guys that everyone thinks of, Dustin, Jordan, Rory, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose along with Tiger and Phil.  What we tend to forget is the long list of outstanding players that can win a major, guys like Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar and Marc Leishman.  Just like with Reed last week at the Masters, there are so many that can win at any time so it’s tough to predict a winner.  After what happened at Valspar when Reed was runner-up, and at the Palmer when Reed finished T-7th and the Match Play when Patrick beat Spieth only to lose to Alex Noren the facts pointed to Reed playing well and on the cusp of a win.

So don’t be surprised when we see Rickie Fowler break out, it’s going to happen sooner than we think.

Things you need to know about the RBC Heritage

This will be the 50th edition of the Heritage, which is now well-established thanks to the sponsorship deal with RBC seven years ago.  It was a long haul with a lot of apprehensive moments and rumors of its 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 going to be a 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 beautiful tradition for a championship after 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.
  • 7,099 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 Celebration BermudaGrass as the greens are Tif-Eagle Bermuda. The course is a resort course and can be played by the public.  Last year Harbour Town was the 29th hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 70.68 average.  The year before it was the 8th hardest course with a 72.29 average.  In 2015 it was 26th hardest course on the PGA Tour with 70.49 scoring average, about a half shot under par.  In 2014 Harbour Town was the 9th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.038 average (full shot over par). In 2013 Harbour Town was the 11th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.038 average which is 1.038 strokes over par, so it all depends on how the weather will be if the course is tough or easy.
  • The course was designed and built by Pete Dye in 1969.  Jack Nicklaus got his start in golf course architecture as he assisted Dye in 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.  The 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 7,099.  The holes that yardage was added to was the 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 16 & 18.  In most cases, players didn’t use a 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 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.
  • Two last things, in the summer of 2015 every blade of grass on the layout had been replaced – tees, greens, rough, practice facility. The irrigation system also was replaced with the latest technology, so it may be a bit for the players to get the feel of the course and get to know all of the rolls and breaks on the greens.
  • Lastly 18 months ago Hurricane Matthew hit Hilton Head Island and despite the power, other than debris and lose of trees there was no long-range damage.  We saw what mother-nature could do to a golf course when we see how heavy rains washed away the courses at Greenbrier and they couldn’t play the Greenbrier Classic.  The same at Houston, rain from the Hurricane last August put the Golf Club of Houston under water, but it was back to normal two weeks ago when the Houston Open was played.  For Hilton Head they were lucky, yes players 18 months later will notice a lack of trees, especially on holes near the bay like 16, 17 and 18.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing in Harbour Town.

This is based on the most important stats for Harbour Town, based on data from last years RBC Heritage, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Harbour Town last year was 70.68 (ranked 29th on tour), which is a shot and a half easier than in 2016 when it was 72.29 (ranked 8th on tour). So why the big difference? Wind, in 2016 it blew every day between 10-20 MPH with gusts ranging from 30MPH on Thursday to 25 on Sunday. Last year the weather was perfect and each day winds were below 10 mph. So that is the way it played in 2015, perfect conditions in which the players averaged 70.49 (26th hardest). With the course close to the Atlantic and in some places not blocked by trees, wind and weather are the reason the course can play tough. In looking at the weather for Hilton Head Island it’s going to be a picture-perfect week with sunny skies every day and temperatures ranging from 74 to 78 degrees and winds each day about 10mph. Right now they are predicting 60% chance of rain so that will make the course play even easier. So with better scoring conditions, the course tends to get an inexperienced winner like last year with Wesley Bryan, the same could happen this year.
That’s because it’s easier to hit the smaller greens with the lack of wind and then go on to 2 putts. Now last year Wesley Bryan proved that you can’t believe in stats as for the year he ranked 172nd in driving distance and 130th in driving accuracy for a total rank of 185th in strokes gained Off-the-Tee. Even for the week at Harbour Town, he was toward the bottom in all tee to green stats, he was 51st in driving distance, T-55th in driving accuracy and T-66th in greens hit. But he put on the finest performance of short game prowess, as he was 1st in scrambling, 1st in overall putting average, didn’t have a three-putt all week and was 2nd with 39 one-putts. His putting was so good that from 8 feet and in on 62 attempts only missed 3 putts. Still, this was a complete fluke of nature and something that happens once in a blue moon at Harbour Town, so when looking for a winner at the RBC Heritage forget what happened in 2017.

Harbour Town is one of the best courses in America, it’s a totally different experience in which ball placement is utmost over power. Hitting it hard and far doesn’t work at this venue so look for a precision player to win. Looking at all drives in 2017 the course averaged 273.4 yards, meaning it was the 3rd shortest of all the courses on tour. Since it’s so low (The highest on tour last year was TPC Scottsdale, 301.5 yards) players not only throttle it down, on many holes they lay up with 3 woods or long irons. So our first important stat is driving accuracy, you have to drive it well and straight at Harbour Town. Last year the course ranked 21st in this stat compared to the others on tour. In looking at past champions six of the last nine were in the top-ten in accuracy for the week and nine of the last nine champions were in the bottom in driving distance as Carl Pettersson was the longest driver as he ranked 31st in 2012.

For our next categories in looking at the stats for Harbour Town, one thing is obvious, the course caters to those that hits lots of greens, last year it ranked 16th on tour. Now this was a misnomer last year as in 2016 it ranked 2nd on the Tour and it was in the top-3 in four of the last six years. In the last 21 years, eleven of the champions ranked in the top-ten with five of them leading the category, the last being Matt Kuchar in 2014. So despite last year’s winner Bryan ranking T-66th, on the whole, hitting greens is important to winning at Harbour Town.

Next important is around and on the greens. What makes Harbour Town tough is the greens, at 4,500 square feet they are some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour to hit, so it makes sense that scramblers do well since the course ranked 46th last year, 26th in 2016 and 49th best in 2015 which in this case means that the average player got it up and down 64.43% of the time, only four courses saw averages higher so you have to scramble well to exist. As we said above last year’s winner Bryan was great in this stat and ranked the best for the week.
Last we pick a stat rarely used, strokes gained-putting. That’s because at Hilton Head putting well doesn’t mean much, but you still have to make those nasty 4 to 8 footers. Last year in this stat Bryan ranked 11th.

So as you can see the secret for Harbour Town is not brute force, but finesse and total control over your game. When you look at the champions at this course, every one of them is ranked in the bottom of driving distance and the longest is Davis Love III who won last in 2003. So think of it, every champion since is very short, something that you won’t see at any other event on the PGA Tour. So the thought for the week is hit it short and straight.

*Driving Accuracy: Percentage of fairways hit, last year Heritage finished 21st in this stat, 18th in 2016 and was 36th in 2015.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is a great barometer on how good players manage their games around Harbour Town. Every year the players that hit lot’s of greens do well.

*Scrambling: So which course is tough to get it up and down on holes players miss the greens. Since all of the area’s around the greens are mowed short and are left with really hard shots to get it close, scrambling is important. You are not going to be perfect so you have to make sure you can make pars from some tough places

*Strokes Gained putting: Who gains the most strokes with their putter, since Harbour Town’s greens are so small you will see less putts as you won’t have as many three putts but you still need to make those putts under ten feet.

Players from this year’s field with stats from 2018 with 115 of the 132 players having stats:

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

Here is the link to the other 105 players with stats for 2018

DraftKings tips

Of the 132 in the field, 111 have played at least once at Harbour Town in the RBC Heritage since 2010:

  • Luke Donald is 65 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Jim Furyk is 44 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 43 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Russell Knox is 28 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Webb Simpson is 19 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Graeme McDowell is 17 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Kevin Na is 16 under in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Cameron Smith is 14 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Jason Dufner is 14 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Wesley Bryan is 13 under in 4 rounds playing 1 years
  • Ian Poulter is 13 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Kevin Kisner is 13 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Ollie Schniederjans is 11 under in 4 rounds playing 1 years
  • Patrick Cantlay is 11 under in 4 rounds playing 1 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Luke Donald is 65 under playing 8 years (-2.03)
  • Russell Knox is 28 under playing 4 years (-1.75)
  • Cameron Smith is 14 under playing 2 years (-1.75)
  • Jim Furyk is 44 under playing 7 years (-1.69)
  • Matt Kuchar is 43 under playing 8 years (-1.34)
  • Brice Garnett is 7 under playing 2 years (-0.88)
  • Ian Poulter is 13 under playing 4 years (-0.81)
  • Graeme McDowell is 17 under playing 6 years (-0.77)
  • Patton Kizzire is 6 under playing 2 years (-0.75)
  • Anirban Lahiri is 6 under playing 2 years (-0.75)
  • Charl Schwartzel is 6 under playing 2 years (-0.75)
  • Kevin Na is 16 under playing 6 years (-0.73)
  • Kevin Kisner is 13 under playing 5 years (-0.72)
  • Webb Simpson is 19 under playing 7 years (-0.68)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Dustin Johnson – $12,000
  • Paul Casey – $11,300
  • Matt Kuchar – $10,800
  • Marc Leishman- $10,300
  • Brian Harman – $9,800
  • Webb Simpson – $9,400
  • Ian Poulter – $9,300
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,100
  • Cameron Smith – $9,000
  • Luke List – $8,900
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $8,800
  • Kevin Kisner – $8,600

So the big problem here is the cost of Dustin Johnson, boy $12,000 is a king ransom.  He hasn’t played good enough to win of late, he has no history of playing this event, and I don’t see him maneuvering around Harbour Town, so I have to say a big pass on Johnson.  Paul Casey is a different beast, he has played the course four years but doesn’t have excellent results.  I would have to say take a pass on him.  Matt Kuchar has played well and not only has won but has been in the top-11 in his last four starts, so he is worth a spot on your team. As for Marc Leishman, that is a difficult choice. Frankly, he hasn’t given us any reason to pick him, poor production numbers and in 8 starts only one top-ten, a T-9th in 2013 so another pass on him.  Now another tough choice is Brian Harman, he has mixed results at Heritage and has mixed results for the year.  But for the year he is 10th in driving accuracy, 5th in greens hit, and 7th in strokes gained-putting so I would say to take a gamble on him.  Webb Simpson’s past play at Heritage doesn’t jump up and grab me, he has been consistent but I would save the $9,400 for someone else.  If Ian Poulter were $8,300 instead of $7,300, I would say yes, but $9,300 is way too high of a price for him.

So is there anyone else that I love the high price guys?  Patrick Cantlay is a great choice, he missed his first cut last week at the Masters in over two years, but that course is not good for his game.  Harbour Town is so I would recommend him for this week.  I also like Cameron Smith and Tyrrell Hatton, again good production numbers but take a pass on Luke List, again he is like Dustin Johnson, all about length and may not be suited for this course.  Last on the list is Kevin Kisner, yes he is an excellent buy at $8,600, his game suits the course and has come around after a slow last couple of months.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,500 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Kevin Na has been on a rollercoaster at this event, but I would say at $8,200 he is an excellent pick.  Russell Knox is also got to be a top pick at $7,800, he has significant production numbers, and the course suits him.  Adam Hadwin at $8,100 is a good buy, he had decent numbers for Heritage plus been very consistent this year.  Charley Hoffman at $7,700 is a good buy while I have mixed emotions on Luke Donald at $7,700.  He hasn’t had a finish in the top-30 on the PGA Tour in a year; his runner-up finishes last year in this event.  But year in and year out Donald always plays well, in his previous nine starts he has only been worst than 15th spot in 2012 when he finished T-37th, so no matter how he is playing this course suits his game and with five runner-up finishes you have to take him.  Another good pick is Matthew Fitzpatrick at $7,600, he has an excellent record on short, tight courses in Europe and despite missing the cut last year think he will do well.  One more guy to take is William McGirt at $7,600, a good record at Hilton Head, been in the top-ten in three of his last four starts.

*Are there any “Bargains” out there?

Ollie Schniederjans at $7,400 sticks out, how they priced this guy so low is weird, played great all year and finished T-3rd here last year, he has to be one of your picks.  Also at $7,400 is Brandt Snedeker the guy has been up and down all year like a yo-yo, but he is a past champion here and someone to think about.  Kevin Streelman at $7,300 is a reasonable price, he has been good at Harbour Town and could get you plenty of points for the cost.  For the year he is 3rd in scrambling so that is a good reason but the guy has been great on tour this year in driving accuracy and greens hit, should be a pick of yours.  Three flyer picks first is Austin Cook at $7,200, he has good stats for the year, has not played in this event, but did win down the road at the RSM Classic on a similar course.  Then you have Brian Gay at $7,100, he is generally on our radar screen, but for this event, he seems to strive at Hilton Head, worth the price.  Last but not least Brice Garnett at $7,000 is another guy that sticks out, not as good as Schniederjans but if you need someone with a low price, Garnett is good.

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 different experience in which ball placement is utmost 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 12 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 vital to winning at Harbour Town.  If 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 an essential element in being able to win.  Look at the recent winners to see how important this stat is. Last year Wesley Bryan missed 32 greens but got it up and down 27 times to lead the field in scrambling.  In 2016 Branden Grace was 22 of 28 greens missed, he was 3rd in scrambling, in 2015 Jim Furyk led the stat getting it up and down 21 of the 22 greens he missed, the best in championship history.  The year before Matt Kuchar was 12th in that stat on the PGA Tour in 2014. The 2013 winner Graeme McDowell led the scrambling list at Harbour Town getting it up and down 79.2% of the time.  In 2012 Carl Pettersson was 21st, and Brandt Snedeker did an excellent 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 victory, 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 15 of the 19 Heritage’s, seven of them have had playoffs, five have had a one-stroke margin of victory while the other was two and five.  Last year Wesley Bryan beat Luke Donald by a shot while the year before Branden Grace was the exception to the rule beating Luke Donald and Russell Knox by two shots.  The previous year Jim Furyk beat Kevin Kisner in a playoff while in 2014 Matt Kuchar defeated Luke Donald by a shot, thanks to a Kuchar birdie on the 72nd hole. In 2013 Graeme McDowell won in a playoff with Webb Simpson while in 2012 Carl Pettersson had an easy time winning by five.  In 2011 Snedeker went three extra holes before beating Luke Donald.   Can’t get any more exciting 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 beat Brian Davis in a playoff.
  • Just like the Masters in which three days of good weather was marred with a day of rain, the Heritage is going to have the same problem.  After good weather the first three days, Sunday will have an 80% chance of rain with heavy thunderstorms late in the afternoon according to forecasts.  Good news for the first three days winds under 10 mph but look for gusts up to 25 mph on Sunday.

Who to watch for at the RBC Heritage

Best Bets:

Brian Harman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 CUT T44 T7 T59 T70 CUT

Good stats that pertain to good playing at Harbour Town, he should be perfect for the course.

Matt Kuchar

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 T9 5 Win T35 T44 T21 T14 T48 T7 T61

Seems to play well every year on the course, past champion and the way his game makes him one of the favorites.

Patrick Cantlay

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T3

His game fits Harbour Town perfectly, played well last year and should continue the trend.

Best of the rest:

Russell Knox

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 T2 T18 T9

Makes a lot of birdies on this course and seems to play well everytime he plays in this event.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT T23

Guy plays well on short, tight courses on the European Tour, if he can win the European Masters in Switzerland, he can win at Hilton Head.

Adam Hadwin

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T22 T30 CUT

Has been very consistent all year, can handle short courses like Harbour Town.

Cameron Smith

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T29 T15

Seems to play well each week, look for the good play to continue.

Luke Donald

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
2 T2 T15 2 T3 T37 2 T3 T2

Has played terrible ever since he was runner-up last year at Hilton Head. This guy seems to always play well on this course so don’t worry about what he has done over the last 51 weeks, he will get his act together this week.

Solid contenders

Kevin Streelman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T55 T53 T3 T17 T36 CUT CUT

Sleeper pick, his stats for the year in scrambling, driving accuracy and greens hit are very high which could mean good numbers for this week.

Brandt Snedeker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 CUT T26 T74 T59 T17 Win CUT CUT T53 T16

Past champion that always seems to play well at Hilton Head.

Kevin Na

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T39 T4 CUT T8 T9 T35 CUT T17 T4 T52

Either plays really well or poorly, this will be a good year for him.

Ollie Schniederjans

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T3

Finished 3rd last year in this event.

Charley Hoffman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T14 T64 T38 T6 T8 75 CUT

Hitting a period that he plays well.

Long shots that could come through:

Brian Gay

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T6 CUT T68 T55 CUT T36 T32 Win CUT T16 T9

Just like Luke Donald this guy always plays well at Harbour Town.

Austin Cook

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Won down the road at Sea Island on a course that has a lot of the same traits as Hilton Head.

Brice Garnett

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 T53

Plays well on short courses.

Graeme McDowell

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T29 CUT T26 T23 Win T61 CUT

Another player that does well on courses by a sea.

Wrong course for him:

Dustin Johnson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT

This is not a course for Dustin, he can’t overpower it and could find himself getting very frustrated when he has to throttle back.

Paul Casey

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T18 T22 T11

On paper this seems to be right up his alley but in the four year’s he has played here has not played well.

Comments

  1. No love for Paul Casey? He’s the “hottest” player and 4th in the stat aggregation. I think I’ll roll the dice on him.

  2. Not that I am not showing any love towards Paul Casey, but I am worried that he will be a bust at Hilton Head. Look at his record, he struggles in this event probably one of the reasons he hasn’t played in many of them. Now to be fair, Patrick Reed also struggled in the Masters and majors and look what happened so anything is possible.

  3. Richard B says:

    I really like Tyrell Hatton this week if he avoids a Masters hangover. He’s a great putter and can put in some really low numbers if he keeps a lid on his temperament.

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