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BlogThe RSM Classic Preview and Picks

The RSM Classic

November 21st – 24th, 2019

Seaside Course

Sea Island, GA

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,005

Purse: $6.6 million

with $1,118,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Charles Howell III

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 16 of those in the top 100 and 5 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player being #12 Webb Simpson.  The other top-100 players are #22 Matt Kuchar, #32 Billy Horschel, #34 Kevin Kisner, #47 Adam Hadwin, #53 Charles Howell III, #56 Jim Furyk, #64 Alex Noren, #71 J.T. Poston, #74 Scottie Scheffler, #77 Rory Sabbatini, #83 Brendon Todd, #88 Si Woo Kim, #97 Aaron Wise, #98 Keith Mitchell and #100 Joel Dahmen.

Last year there were only 6 top-50 players.

The field includes 12 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2020.  Those players are #1 Brendon Todd, #2 Lanto Griffin, #5 Sebastian Munoz, #9 Cameron Champ, #13 Harris English, #14 Adam Hadwin, #17 Mark Hubbard, #19 Adam Long, #20 Scott Harrington, #T-21 Tom Hoge, #23 Charles Howell III and #25 Scottie Scheffler.

The field includes all 7 of the 9 past champions: Charles Howell III (2019), Austin Cook (2018), Mackenzie Hughes (2017), Kevin Kisner (2016), Robert Streb (2015), Chris Kirk (2014) and Ben Crane (2011).

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 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 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 RSM Classic

Player Mayakoba Golf Classic WGC HSBC Champions Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ. Portugal Masters Nine Bridges French Open Houston Open Italian Open Shriners Hospitals Safeway Open Sanderson Farms Champ. Greenbrier
Brendon Todd
(265.33 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Rory McIlroy
(192 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Carlos Ortiz
(184.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T37
(4.33)
T40
(3.33)
T4
(26.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Harris English
(179 pts)
5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
T6
(20)
T3
(30)
Hideki Matsuyama
(173.67 pts)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Lanto Griffin
(167 pts)
T76
(0)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T17
(11)
T11
(13)
13
(12.33)
Scottie Scheffler
(166.33 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP T74
(0)
DNP T16
(11.33)
T7
(18.33)
Brian Gay
(158.67 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T7
(18.33)
T23
(9)
T65
(0)
DNP
Sungjae Im
(150.33 pts)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
2
(33.33)
T19
(10.33)
Justin Thomas
(136.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Byeong Hun An
(133.67 pts)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
3
(30)
T47
(1)
Adam Long
(132.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
T23
(9)
T14
(12)
Kurt Kitayama
(132 pts)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP 3
(60)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Abraham Ancer
(129.33 pts)
T8
(50)
T4
(80)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Xander Schauffele
(126.67 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matthias Schwab
(126.67 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(124 pts)
T20
(30)
T36
(14)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Harry Higgs
(123 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(9)
CUT
(-3.33)
T19
(10.33)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(121.67 pts)
DNP 7
(55)
DNP 75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Danny Lee
(118.67 pts)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T71
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T36
(4.67)
Billy Horschel
(116 pts)
T8
(50)
T24
(26)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP 64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Steven Brown
(107.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(106.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(46.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Corey Conners
(104.33 pts)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Vaughn Taylor
(102.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Victor Perez
(102.67 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mark Hubbard
(100.67 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP T41
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T42
(2.67)
T13
(12.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T10
(13.33)
Denny McCarthy
(99 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T31
(6.33)
Tyrrell Hatton
(97.33 pts)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dylan Frittelli
(97.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T7
(18.33)
T6
(20)
DNP
Xinjun Zhang
(93.67 pts)
T48
(2)
T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T16
(11.33)
T7
(18.33)
60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Walters
(93.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(92.67 pts)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Pat Perez
(89.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP 3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(89 pts)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Mayakoba Golf Classic WGC HSBC Champions Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ. Portugal Masters Nine Bridges French Open Houston Open Italian Open Shriners Hospitals Safeway Open Sanderson Farms Champ. Greenbrier
Bo Van Pelt
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T62
(0)
DNP DNP
Kevin Stadler
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Michael Kim
(-25 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T69
(0)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
WD
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
John Rollins
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
David Lingmerth
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Vince Covello
(-22.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T47
(1)
Thomas Bjorn
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tim Herron
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
David Law
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

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 event 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, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, 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 that it’s found it’s spot, the last event on the fall swing.  Another thing four 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 built was a working plantation.  Some of the oak trees that are on the course 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 totally 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.

What happens if Brooks Koepka or Dustin Johnson can’t make the bell at the Presidents Cup

After Brendon Todd won at Mayakoba on Monday, the conversation went to should he be on top of Tiger’s list of replacements if Koepka or Johnson aren’t fit to play in Australia next month.  After a run in 2017 and ’18 in which he only made two cuts in 16 starts, Todd has found his game and won his last two starts at Bermuda and Mayakoba.  But before we take his measurements for Presidents cup clothes we should look at his overall record.  Yes it’s always great to win twice in a row on the PGA Tour but let’s be frank, the fields of Bermuda and Mayadoba won’t go down as full of top-notch players.  When Todd did play in events with better fields at Greenbrier, Sanderson Farms, Safeway and Shriners he missed the cut and at Houston was T-28th.  The point of this, sorry Brendon many will agree your not ready to fill in the shoes of Dustin or Brooks.  Who knows who Tiger has in mind, but players like Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschell and even Phil Mickelson would be better than Brendon.

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 McGladreys 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 challenges like 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 unique 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 in 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 an average size of 7,000 square feet.  The course has bermudagrass all through it with a 72.3 rating and a slope of 137.

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 vital stats that are important for those playing at the Sea Island Resort

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 tournament 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 69.84 average score (a quarter shot under its par 70) and was the 33rd toughest course of the 52 courses used last year. (the plantation course, used for one round played to a 70.45 average but since it’s a par 72, it was a shot and a half under par and was the 45th hardest course) the wind is an important factor if the course will play tough or not, in 2017 the course played to a 68.89 average, the lowest the course has ever played, one of the reasons is the benign conditions due to the lack of wind. In 2014 when the wind blew, the course played to a 70.25 scoring average the hardest it has ever played. Conditions for this week are calling for very little wind on Thursday and Friday but picking up over the weekend to 11 mph with showers on Saturday.

This course is a lot like British Open rota courses. Just like at Royal Portrush over the summer, each day had wind of 10 to 18 mph which made the course play tougher. But the summer before at Carnoustie the wind was up but not bad and the year before at Royal Birkdale, 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 nine winners of this event one thing is striking, before last year’s winner Charles Howell III the previous eight winners weren’t long hitters and weren’t very straight off the tee. Example of that was 2018 winner Austin Cook, he was 88th in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee as he ranked 130th in driving distance and 22nd in fairway accuracy The same for shotmaking, of the eight past champions there isn’t one that you can say is repeatedly a great ball striker. But that changed last year as Howell was T-49th in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee and was 32nd in driving distance and 88th in fairway accuracy. The same for shotmaking, Howell is probably one of the great shotmakers. Still despite Howell breaking the mode a bit last year if you look at some stats that do stick out of the champions around and on the greens, we think that this is still important so below is a look at the last six 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
    2018 – Austin Cook was T-1st
    2019 – Charles Howell III was T-70th
  • Strokes gained putting
    2014 – Chris Kirk was 11th
    2015 – Robert Streb was 2nd
    2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
    2017 – Mac Hughes was 3rd
    2018 – Austin Cook was 13th
    2019 – Charles Howell was 24th
  • Overall putting average
    2014 – Chris Kirk was 10th
    2015 – Robert Streb was T-1st
    2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
    2017 – Mac Hughes was 1st
    2018 – Austin Cook was T-12th
    2019 – Charles Howell was T-54th
  • One-putts
    2014 – Chris Kirk was T-27th
    2015 – Robert Streb was T-1st
    2016 – Kevin Kisner was 3rd
    2017 – Mac Hughes was 1st
    2018 – Austin Cook was T-8th
    2019 – Charles Howell was T-45th
  • 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
    2018 – Austin Cook was T-34th
    2019 – Charles Howell was T-53rd
  • The 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
    2018 – Austin Cook was T-17th
    2019 – Charles Howell was 17th
  • 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
    2018 – Austin Cook was 1st
    2019 – Charles Howell was T-13th

So, unfortunately, Howell has broken things up a bit, but that happens in golf and you have to believe that what has happened so many times in the past will happen again this year.

So in looking at our four categories, we are putting a lot of efficiencies in those stats around and on the greens. I would love to use the 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. last year on the Seaside Course it ranked T-6th on the PGA Tour. Our 2nd stat is scrambling because again the past winners showed the importance of this stat and it ranked 17th best on the PGA Tour last year. The third category that we are using is greens hit, this shows the importance of making sure to hit greens, it ranked 43rd last year. Our last category is birdie average because it’s important to make a lot of them last year the Seaside course averaged 3.77 birdies per round and ranked T-28th last year.

*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

148 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.

Let’s look at the other 138 players stats for the RSM Classic

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Webb Simpson – $11,600
  • Billy Horschel – $11,000
  • Matt Kuchar – $10,600
  • Charles Howell III- $10,400
  • Harris English – $10,000
  • Kevin Kisner – $9,800
  • Adam Hadwin – $9,600
  • Aaron Wise – $9,400
  • Alex Noren – $9,300
  • Scottie Scheffler – $9,200
  • Brendon Todd – $9,100
  • Zach Johnson – $9,000

Frankly, I don’t like tournaments that don’t have many really good players.  Frankly, I would spend more time playing Dubai than I would in this game.  Yes in a normal event you would be interested in Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar, but with Simpson at $11,600 and Kuchar at $10,600 I would say these guys are too high.  Simpson played once this year and yes he was T-7th in Las Vegas but that was a month ago.  He does have a good record in this event and the course is perfect for him, still, he is a lot of money so it’s up to you  As for Kuchar he was T-14th last week at Mayakoba so I really don’t know what to say about him.  He had won top-ten in 2014 so he doesn’t have the record to give us much confidence to spend so much money on him.  As for Billy Horschel at $11,000 I can see it based on his good play this year and the last time he played this event in 2017 was T-2nd.  Charles Howell III at $10,400 is a lot but did win last year and showed he is good on this course and should do good, at least get you a top-15.  Harris English at $10,000 is a player that will be picked due to his three top-tens this week and 5th last week in Mexico.  I say no because he doesn’t seem to be able to play well at the RSM, remember it’s a special course for a special player and I don’t think English fits the bill.  Now Kevin Kisner at $9,800 does fit the bill, he does play well here and should be a choice.  Adam Hadwin is at $9,600 and I would say if he was below $8,000 I would say yes but he is way too much money to risk.  I just don’t get Aaron Wise at $9,400, Draftkings always puts him at a high number and I swear he isn’t worth it and I can say this is weak to pass on him.  Alex Noren is at $9,300 and that is too much money for a guy that hasn’t had a good 2019.  Scottie Scheffler is $9,200 and has some merit but he is a rookie and I would be very careful with him.  The same with Brendon Todd at $9,100, yes he has won the last two times on courses by oceans but on this course by the Atlantic, he hasn’t been better than T-16th in five starts so I say pass on him.  Last is Zach Johnson at $9,000 who plays a lot at Sea Island and has played well on this course so I say yes for him this week.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

I like Brian Gay at $8,800, he was 3rd in 2018 so we know he can play well on this course.  I also like Dylan Frittelli at $8,700 who is playing in this event for the first time.  Vaughn Taylor is at $8,200 and good price since he played well last year and was T-8th in this event in 2018.  Watch Jim Furyk who is at $8,100 and I will tell you why.  Right now he is 56th in the World Rankings and would really love to play in the Masters.  One of the ways to get a ticket to the Masters is to finish 50th in the rankings at the end of the year, so a really good finish this week could be that ticket, so watch him.  Brian Harman is $7,900 and would be worth it, has played well including a T-4th in 2018.  Austin Cook at $7,800 is also a good pick, he won in 2018 and was T-11th last year.

*Some of the “bargains” this week at the RSM Classic

Boy, it’s really hard to find bargains for this week.  First, one that strikes me is Peter Uihlein at $7,100 due to his T-7th last year.  David Hearn at $7,000 is also a nice choice due to his good finishes in the last three starts.

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

The 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, 2017 winner Mac Hughes was 2nd in scrambling and 1st in scrambling from the fringe and 2018 winner Austin Cook was T-1st in Scrambling so this is an important stat.  Sure last year’s winner Charles Howell III was T-70th but we shouldn’t worry about that.  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 Talor Gooch and Tom Lovelady 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 nine 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 in 2017.  2018 champion Austin Cook was T-2nd in Greens hit and 13th in Strokes Gained putting, while last year’s winner Charles Howell III was 1st in Greens hit and 24th in Strokes Gained putting  So you can see what is important to win this week.
  • All nine winners had one thing in common, and that was the ability to play 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), in 2018 Mac Hughes was 9 under on the par 4s, in 2019 Austin Cook was 11 under and last year Charles Howell was 9 under.  So if it’s Sunday and you’re looking for someone with the edge look at that stat.
  • Driving accuracy means nothing on the Seaside Course that makes sense since it’s a resort course.  Last year it was 47th while in 2018 it was 48th, in 2017 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 T-6th last year, 6th in 2018,  7th in 2017 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.  Last year Charles Howell III was from Orlando (via Augusta, Ga), in 2018 Austin Cook was from Arkansas, so both were used to Bermuda. 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 bermudagrasses.  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.

 

Who to watch for at The RSM Classic

Best Bets:

Webb Simpson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
3 WD T36 T41 T7 2 T12

Playing the best with a good record in this event.

Billy Horschel

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T2 T43 T20

Was T-2nd last time he played the event, playing ok on tour.

Charles Howell III

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
Win CUT T13 T9 T73 T27 T7 T32 T6

Hard to bet against the defending champion for this week.

Best of the rest:

Harris English

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T46 CUT CUT T25 CUT T27 T15

Came close last week, who knows if he can keep the momentum going.

Brendon Todd

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T54 T83 T48 T16 CUT

Talk about keeping the momentum going, he has been really good and I think he may have one more good week left in him.

Matt Kuchar

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T29 CUT T25 T22 T7 T20 T25

Showed that he can play some good golf last week.

Kevin Kisner

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T7 T4 CUT Win T4 T20 CUT T26

Always seems to play well here.

Jim Furyk

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T6 3 T11

Think this will be a great week for him, the course is perfect for him.

Solid contenders

Brian Gay

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T23 3 CUT T4 T43 CUT T33

This guy keeps on playing well week after week after week.

Vaughn Taylor

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T8 CUT CUT T54 CUT

Looking to carry over the good play from last week.

Austin Cook

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T11 Win

Has a special flair for this course.

Brendan Steele

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T20

This guy just keeps on coming up with good rounds.

Long shots that could come through:

Dylan Frittelli

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Looking for a good week at a place he has never played before.

Zach Johnson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
    T7                T8              Cut            T75           Cut            T16                               T49            Cut           T12

Has done well before here.

Peter Uihlein

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T7

Played well last year.

Comments

  1. Denny McCarthy a smooth 29 on the front 9!!!!

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