Seaside Course Key Fantasy Stats

The RSM Classic

November 19th – 22nd, 2020

Seaside Course

Sea Island, GA

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,005

Purse: $6.6 million

with $1,188,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Tyler Duncan

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

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 RSM Classic home 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 and windy conditions that give the players something that isn’t experienced much on the PGA Tour. 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 68.90 average score (a full shot under its par 70) and was the T-25th toughest course of the 41 courses used last year. (the plantation course, used for one round, played to a 70.44 average, but since it’s a par 72, it was a shot and a half under par and was the 34th hardest course) The wind is an important factor on if the course will play tough or not, last year the wind blew 6 to 12mph on Thursday and Friday but blew between 10 to 15 mph over the weekend. In 2019 when the course played to a 68.84 average, the wind blew the same 5 to 10 mph average. In 2018 the course played to a 69.24 average, and the winds blew 10 to 15 mph. 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. This week’s conditions are calling for windy conditions each day, it being 13 mph Thursday through Saturday and calmer to 9 mph on Sunday. Weather will be close to perfect in the mid-70s each day, chance of showers last Thursday and early morning on Sunday.

This course is a lot like British Open rota courses. Like at Royal Portrush a year and a half ago, 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 many birdies are made on a course that only has two par 5s. In looking at the ten winners of this event, one thing is striking, before 2019 winner Charles Howell III the previous eight winners weren’t long hitters, and last year’s winner Tyler Duncan is also a short hitter. An example of that is last year’s winner Tyler Duncan, for 2020, he was T-87th in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee as he ranked 173rd in driving distance and 6th in fairway accuracy The same for shotmaking. Of the ten past champions, only 2019 winner Charles Howell III is the only great ball striker. Basically, the course allows a person to hit it short and is an average shotmaker to win. But in looking at the stats, the thing that does strikeout is that scrambling and putting is what has made most of the champions at the RSM Classic.
We think that this is still important, so below is a look at the last seven winners and how they ranked in those key stats on or around the greens for the week:

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was 1st

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was 14th

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was T-10th

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was T-34th

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was T-20th

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was 45th

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was 1st

So we see that 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, the good scrambler and putter will be the guy to pick this week.

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 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 was important to make a lot of them last year, the Seaside course averaged 3.77 birdies per round and ranked T-28th last year.

*Strokes Gained Putting: A way to see how many strokes gained or lost putting

*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.

*Par Breakers: Who has the lowest average in making under par totals on holes

149 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.

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