RBC Heritage Key Fantasy Stats

RBC Heritage

April 13th – 16th, 2023

Harbour Town G.L.

Hilton Head, SC

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,191

Purse: $20 million

with $3.6 Million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jordan Spieth

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:


(Updated on Monday night with full DraftKing money and withdrawals of Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, and Will Zalatoris.)

This is based on the most important stats for Harbour Town, data from last year’s RBC Heritage, and data from all the field players with stats from 2023. We take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The field’s scoring average at Harbour Town last year was 70.74, the 19th hardest course for the year. In 2021 the average was 70.33, and it was the 26th hardest course on the PGA Tour. In 2021 the average score was 69.14, making it the 37th hardest course on Tour. It’s the lowest scoring average the course has ever had since records were kept back in 1997. The reason probably is that the tournament was put back in June, and conditions were much different. In 2019 the scoring average was 71.17, ranked the 11th hardest course of the year. It was a half a shot tougher than in 2018 when he played to a 70.85 average. Weather is always a factor. Winds off the Atlantic make the course hard like it was in 2019, each day had winds over 10 mph, and on Friday, they had gusts up to 40 mph, and Saturday, 30 mph. After four days of cold and wet weather at the Masters, the news is good and bad. The good news is that after playing at Augusta with temperatures in the low 50s, temperatures will range from 73 to 76 degrees as the week progresses. But the bad news is cloudy skies on Thursday and Saturday, but thunderstorms on Friday and Sunday. So for a second straight week, the weather will become the narrative for the week, and winds will be manageable between 7 and 11 mph each day.

Despite the course being one of the best on the PGA Tour, the winners weren’t top-notch until Webb Simpson won it in 2020, Stewart Cink in 2021, and Jordan Spieth won last year. In 2019 C.T. Pan won, and since the victory, he has only finished in the top five twice, a T-3rd at the Charles Schwab, a month after winning at Hilton Head. Pan also finished T-3rd at the 2021 Honda Classic. Pan was 9th at the 2022 Genesis Invitational, but those were his only top-tens. Pan has struggled in 2023, with a best finish of 44th at the Bermuda Championship. He hasn’t played since Mayakoba last November.
In 2018 Satoshi Kodaira won, and he also has struggled in 95 PGA Tour events since. He has not finished in the top ten, with a best finish of T-11th in the 2021 Wells Fargo. For 2022 his best finish is T-12th at the Sony Open in Hawaii, his only top-14 of the season. In 2023 Kodaira had one top-25 finish, a T-16th at Zozo Championship. The same with 2017 winner Wesley Bryan. Since winning, he has played in 83 events and has only had eight top-25 finishes, the best a T-3rd in the 2017 John Deere Classic. To be fair to Bryan, at the end of 2018, he hurt himself and found out he had a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and at the end of January of 2019 had surgery which took a year to get better. Since coming back has played a limited schedule and struggled. In 2023 Bryan played in six events, with a 6th at Puerto Rico, but missing five cuts.

So winning the RBC Heritage has not been any launching pad to stardom on the PGA Tour. Not only has Pan, Kodaira, or Bryan not returned to the winner’s circle, 2015 champion Jim Furyk has not won on the PGA Tour. The same happened with 2020 winner Webb Simpson and 2021 champion Stewart Cink. One thing that is a fact for this event, with better scoring conditions, the course tends to get an inexperienced winner, as we have seen. Another factor we see, since the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the schedule has been loaded with significant events week in and week out. Between now and the PGA Championship, there are only two powerhouse events, this and Wells Fargo, in three weeks. So a lot of players will be taking the next few weeks off. Because the RBC Heritage is a “designated event,” the field is excellent for this week as most of the marquee players are there.

So what will it take to win this week? Harbour Town is one of the best courses in America. It’s a different experience in which ball placement is utmost overpowering. Hitting it hard and far doesn’t work at this venue, so look for a precision player to win. Looking at all drives in 2022, the course averaged 278.6 yards, meaning it was the 6th shortest of all the courses on Tour. Since it’s so low (The highest on Tour last year was TPC Scottsdale, 311.3 yards), players not only throttle it down on many holes, they lay up with three 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 35th (63.36%) in this stat compared to the others on Tour. Looking at past champions, seven of the last 14 were in the week’s top ten in accuracy. But that trend has changed as the last four and six of the previous seven have not even been in the top 30. Last year’s champion Jordan Spieth hit 36 of 54 fairways and ranked T-31st. 2021 champion Stewart Cink hit 31 of 54 fairways and ranked T-57th. 2020 champion Webb Simpson hit 33 of 54 fairways which ranked T-33rd. In 2019 C.T. Pan was terrible in this stat, as he hit just 29 of the 54 fairways and ranked T-59th, the worst of any champion since 1997. The year before, Satoshi Kodaira hit 42 of 56 and ranked T-4th.

For our next categories, in looking at the stats for Harbour Town, one thing is obvious, the course caters to those that hit lots of greens; Last year, it ranked 10th as 60.12% of the players hit the greens. Last year’s winner Jordan Speith hit 50 of 72 greens and ranked T-9th. In 2021, Harbour Town ranked 19th, as 60.12% of the players hit the green, as 62.12% of the players hit the greens. In 2020 it ranked 17th, in 2019 and in 2018, it ranked 6th on Tour. 2017 was a misnomer as it ranked 16th, while in 2016, it ranked 2nd on the Tour and was in the top-6 in five of the last eight years. In the previous 26 years, 14 of the champions ranked in the top ten, with six leading the category. Stewart Cink was 1st in the category in 2021, hitting 56 of 72 greens, the best of all the champions since 1997. 2020 winner, Webb Simpson, ranked T-12th and hit 53 of 72 greens. In 2019, C.T. Pan ranked 37th, hitting 42 of 72 greens, while in 2018, Satoshi Kodaira ranked T-7th, so hitting greens is essential to winning at Harbour Town.

The 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. It ranked 43rd last year (64.78, 8th best on Tour). In 2021 it ranked 44th (63.80, 8th best on Tour). In 2020 Harbour Town ranked 40th (67.14, 2nd best on Tour). In 2019 it ranked 42nd (62.99, 8th best on Tour) and 45th in 2018. It was 46th in 2017, 26th in 2016, and 49th best in 2015, which meant that the average player got it up and down 64.68% of the time. Only three courses saw averages higher you have to scramble well to exist. Last year’s winner, Jordan Spieth, ranked 6th, getting it up and down 18 of the 22 greens he missed. In 2021, Stewart Cink ranked T-4th getting it up and down 13 of 16 greens missed. In 2020 Webb Simpson ranked T-27th, while 2019 winner C.T. Pan ranked T-16th. 2018 champion Satoshi Kodaira was T-13th mostly because he hit a lot of greens.

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, Jordan Spieth, despite having the reputation as one of the best putters on Tour, putted terribly. He was 60th in Strokes Gained Putting as he was 71st in putting from 4 to 8 feet and was 57th in putting inside ten feet, making 63 of 73 putts. In the previous year’s champions, in 2021, Cink ranked T-25th mostly because he hit so many greens. In 2020 Simpson ranked 2nd. In 2019 Pan ranked 5th, while in 2018, Kodaira ranked T-13th. So maybe it’s best to pick those putters that make putts in the five to ten-foot range?

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 at the bottom of driving distance, and the longest is Jordan Spieth last year, who ranked 2nd as all of his drives averaged 290.5 yards. So think of it, most of the champions do not hit it long, something you won’t see at any other event on the PGA Tour. So the thought for the week is to hit it short and straight.

*Driving Accuracy: Percentage of fairways hit, last year Heritage finished 35th, in 2021, it ranked 29th in this stat, while in 2020, it was 33rd in this stat. In 2019 it ranked 21st, 24th in 2018, 21st in 2017, 18th in 2016, and 36th in 2015.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is a great barometer on how good players manage their games around Harbour Town, last year Harbour Town ranked 10th, in 2021, it was 19th, while in 2020, it ranked 17th in this stat but was 6th in 2019 and in 2018. Every year the players that hit lots 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 areas 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 fewer 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 2022, with 130 of the 147 players having stats:

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


  1. martin struckman says

    Hey Sal, on the boss of the moss stats it states Poa Annua greens – I think they are Bermuda

  2. Martin,
    They have changed, according to the GCSAA Tournament fact sheet the greens are poa trivialis overeseed which is Poa Annua


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