The RSM Classic Key Fantasy Stats

The RSM Classic

November 16th – 19th, 2023

Seaside Course

Sea Island, GA

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,005

Purse: $8.4 million

with $1,512,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Adam Svensson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

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 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’s home since the tournament started in 2010. The Seaside course is one of those gems that has been around since the early 1930s and was renovated in 1999. It’s a true Scottish Links 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, the event used the neighboring Plantation Course for one of the four rounds, so 54 of the 72 holes are played on the Seaside Course. We will use just stats from the Seaside course for this statistical look. The course has bermudagrass, with a 72.3 rating and a slope of 137.

Last year, the Seaside course played to a 68.99 average score (a full shot under its par 70) and was the 35th toughest course of the 56 courses used for the 2023 season. (the plantation course, used for one round, played to a 69.76 average, but since it’s a par 72, it was over two shots under par and was the 50th hardest course). In 2022, the Seaside course played to a 68.97 average score (a full shot under its par 70) and was the 33rd toughest course of the 50 courses used in 2022. (the plantation course, used for one round, played to a 70.69 average and was the 36th hardest course) In 2021, the course played to a 68.69 average score (a full shot under its par 70) and was the 39th toughest course of the 51 courses used. (the plantation course, used for one round, played to a 71.34 average and was the 25th hardest course) The wind is an essential factor in whether the course will play tough. The wind blew 10 to 15mph daily in the last three years. In 2019, when the course played to a 68.84 average, the wind blew 5 to 10 mph on 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. Conditions for this week are calling for windy conditions each day, it being 13 mph Thursday through Saturday and calmer to 9 mph on Sunday. Weather will be different; on Thursday and Friday, it will rain, and the winds will blow at 17 to 20 mph. So, conditions will be challenging. Over the weekend, it will be mostly sunny, with winds down to the 10 mph range.
http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/l/USGA0511:1:US

This course is a lot like British Open rota courses. Like at Hoylake last summer, each day had 8 to 20 mph wind, making the course play more challenging. But if you can get the conditions like at Royal Birkdale in 2018, the lack of wind helps make the course a pushover for players since the fairways are very generous with very little rough. So, with the short yardage, the greens are easy targets, as many birdies are made on a course that only has two par 5s. In looking at this event’s 13 winners, except for Charles Howell III, are short hitters to medium length off the tee. An example of that is last year’s winner, Adam Svensson. He is 62nd in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee for the year, ranking 130th in driving distance and 42nd in fairway accuracy. The year before, Talor Gooch in 2023 was 40th in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee, 64th in Driving Distance, and 69th in Fairways hit. In 2021, the winner, Robert Streb, really proved this point. For the year (2021) he was 164th in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee as he ranked T-139th in driving distance and 131st in fairway accuracy. In 2020, Tyler Duncan 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 13 past champions, only 2019 winner Charles Howell III is the only great ball striker. So basically, the course allows a person who hits it short and is an average shotmaker to win. But in looking at the stats, the thing that does strike out is that scrambling and putting have made most of the champions at the RSM Classic.
We think that this is still important, so below is a look at the last ten winners and how they ranked in those key stats on or around the greens for the week:

Scrambling
2014 – Chris Kirk ranked 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
2021 – Robert Streb was 5th
2022 – Talor Gooch was 4th
2023 – Adam Svenson was T-19th

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
2021 – Robert Streb was 9th
2022 – Talor Gooch was 6th
2023 – Adam Svenson was 1st

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
2021 – Robert Streb was T-16th
2022 – Talor Gooch was T-16th
2023 – Adam Svenson was T-20th

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
2020 – Tyler Duncan was T-34th
2021 – Robert Streb was T-13th
2022 – Talor Gooch was T-16th
2023 – Adam Svenson was T-12th

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
2021 – Robert Streb was T-12th
2022 – Talor Gooch was T-23rd
2023 – Adam Svenson was 4th

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
2021 – Robert Streb was 13th
2022 – Talor Gooch was 6th
2023 – Adam Svenson was 3rd

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
2021 – Robert Streb was T-11th
2022 – Talor Gooch was 1st
2023 – Adam Svenson was 1st

So we see how a long hitter like 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. Our first stat is Strokes Gained Putting because this is the most important stat that everyone has figures on showing who is putting the best. Now courses don’t average Strokes Gained stats, so we looked at the overall putting average for the seaside course, and last year it ranked 5th on the PGA Tour in 2023 and 4th on the PGA Tour in 2022. Our 2nd stat is scrambling because again, the past winners showed the importance of this stat, and it ranked 24th best on tour in 2023 and 20th best on the PGA Tour in 2022 (remember, that means players do very well in getting it up and down). The third category that we are using is greens hit, this shows the importance of making sure to hit greens, it ranked 50th in 2023 on the PGA Tour and 47th last year (again showing a lot of players hit greens, only three courses, so more greens hit). Our last category is birdie average because it’s important to make a lot of them last year the Seaside course averaged 3.68 birdies per round and ranked T-27th in 2023. In looking at the Seaside course in 2022 it averaged 3.66 birdies per round and ranked T-25th for the 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.

*Birdie Average: Who has the lowest average of birdies per tournament

128 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2023:

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

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