RBC Heritage Key Fantasy Stats

RBC Heritage

April 18th – 21st, 2024

Harbour Town G.L.

Hilton Head, SC

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,213

Purse: $20 million

with $3,600,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Fitzpatrick

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This is based on Harbour Town’s most important stats, data from last year’s RBC Heritage, and data from all the field players with stats from 2024. We take their rank for each stat and then add the four categories.
The field’s scoring average at Harbour Town last year was 70.22, making it the 29th hardest course of the year.

Here is a look at the scoring average at Harbour Town for the last few years:
*2022 – Average was 70.74, was the 19th hardest of the 50 courses that year
*2021 – Average was 70.33, the year’s T-26th hardest of the 51 courses.
*2020 – Average was 69.14, the 37th hardest of the 41 courses that year. It’s the lowest-scoring average for Harbour Town since records were kept in 1997. The reason was that the tournament was put back in June, and conditions were much different.
*2019 – Average was 71.17, was 11th hardest of 49 courses that year. It was a half a shot easier 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 on Saturday, 30 mph.
After three days of perfect weather at the Masters.  After three days of perfect weather at the Masters, the news is good and evil. The good news is that after playing at Augusta on Sunday with temperatures in the low 80s, temperatures will range from 80 on Thursday and go down each day, 81 on Friday, 79 on Saturday, and 75 on Sunday. But the bad news is cloudy skies on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with showers all day on Sunday. So, for a second straight week, the weather will become the narrative for the week, but winds will be manageable between 8 and 10 mph daily at the Heritage.

Despite the course being one of the best on the PGA Tour, the winners were top-notch when Webb Simpson won it in 2020, Stewart Cink in 2021, Jordan Spieth in 2022, and Matt Fitzpatrick won it last year. In 2019, C.T. Pan won, and since the victory, he has only finished in the top three five times, 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 4th at the 2023 Byron Nelson, T-3rd at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open, and was T-3rd at the Mexico Open last month.
2018, Satoshi Kodaira won and has also struggled in 110 PGA Tour events. 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, and he is the only top-14 in the season. In 2023, Kodaira had one top-25 finish, a T-16th at the Zozo Championship. In 2024, Kodaira played once, missing the cut in Puerto Rico.
The same with 2017 winner Wesley Bryan. Since winning, he has played in 114 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 2019, he had surgery, which took a year to get better. Since coming back, I have played a limited schedule and struggled. In 2023, Bryan played in 19 events, with a 6th at Puerto Rico as his only top-20 finish, along with missing eleven cuts. He is just about gone from the PGA Tour, but he played once this year, missing the cut at Puerto Rico.

So, winning the RBC Heritage was not a launching pad to stardom on the PGA Tour in the late 90s. Not only have Pan, Kodaira, and Bryan yet to return to the winner’s circle, but it was the last time that 2015 champion Jim Furyk 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. Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the schedule has been loaded with significant events week in and week out. So, by the time the Heritage rolls around, most marquee players are taking the week and month off. But like the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am that got terrible fields that changed with it being a “designated” event, that will happen to the Heritage, which will get its best field ever. So, for the second event in a row, a “designated event,” the field is excellent for this week as most of the marquee players are playing.

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 to 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 2023, the course averaged 278.6 yards, meaning it was the 2nd shortest of all the courses on Tour (the shortest is Pebble Beach). Since it’s so low (The highest on Tour last year was Plantation Course at Kapalua, 307.3 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. Driving is essential when looking at Harbour Town’s stats from last year. The course ranked 2nd on the PGA Tour in driving distance (all holes) and 45th in driving accuracy (out of 58 courses). Winner Matt Fitzpatrick ranked 12th in driving distance (all holes) and T-56th (34 of 54) in accuracy.

Here is a look at the driving average at the RBC Heritage for the last few years:
*2022 – Harbour Town ranked 6th in driving distance (all holes) and 35th in driving accuracy.
Winner Jordan Spieth was 2nd in driving distance (all holes) and T-31st (34 of 54) in accuracy.
*2021 – Harbour Town ranked 4th in driving distance and 29th in driving accuracy.
Winner Stewart Cink was 5th in driving distance (all holes) and T-57th (31 of 54) in accuracy.
*2020 – Harbour Town ranked 2nd in driving distance and 33rd in driving accuracy.
Winner Webb Simpson was T-33rd in driving distance (all holes) and T-33rd (38 of 54) in accuracy.
*2019 – Harbour Town ranked 3rd in driving distance and 21st in driving accuracy.
Winner C.T. Pan was T-50th in driving distance (all holes) and T-59th (29 of 54) in accuracy.
The year before, Satoshi Kodaira hit 42 of 56 and ranked T-4th.
So, driving it far is not as important as hitting it straight.

For our next categories, one thing is evident in looking at the stats for Harbour Town: the course caters to those who hit lots of greens, so we are using Greens In Regulation. Last year, it ranked 17th as 63.14% of the players hit the greens. Last year’s winner, Matt Fitzpatrick, hit 48 of 72 greens and ranked T-23rd.

Here is a look at the Greens in Regulation of the RBC Heritage for the last few years:
*2022 – For Harbour Town, Greens in Regulation was 60.12% and was the 10th hardest of the 50 courses that year
Winner Jordan Spieth hit 50 of 72 greens (69.44%) and ranked T-9th.
*2021 – For Harbour Town, Greens in Regulation was 62.12% and was the 19th hardest of the 51 courses that year
Winner Stewart Cink hit 56 of 72 greens ( 73.61%) and ranked T-12th.
*2020 – For Harbour Town, Greens in Regulation was 65.82% and was the 17th hardest of the 41 courses that year
Winner Webb Simpson hit 53 of 72 greens (73.61%) and ranked T-1st.
*2019 – For Harbour Town, Greens in Regulation was 57.67% and was the 6th hardest of the 49 courses that year
Winner C.T. Pan hit 42 of 72 greens (58.33%) and ranked T-37th.
In 2018, it ranked 6th on Tour.
2017 was a misnomer as it ranked 16th,
In 2016, it ranked 2nd on the Tour and has been in the top 10 in seven of the last 12 years. In the previous 27 years, 14 champions ranked in the top ten, with six leading the category.
Again, I can’t stress how important it is to hit many greens.

The next important category is around and on the greens. What makes Harbour Town tough is the greens. At 4,500 square feet, they are the smallest greens on the PGA Tour to hit, so it makes sense that scramblers do well since it’s tough to hit the greens.
So, our third category is scrambling, and you can see why. Since the course is a shot-maker delight, you can see that if you miss a lot of greens, you better get it up and down to play well. Last year, Harbour Town ranked 51st in scrambling out of 58 courses. It shows that players can get it up and down, so keeping up with the field to scramble is essential. Last year’s winner, Matt Fitzpatrick, was ranked t-4th, getting it up and down in 20 of the 24 greens he missed.

Here is a look at the scrambling of the RBC Heritage winners over the last few years:
*2022 – Harbour Town finished 43rd in scrambling of the 50 courses that tracked scrambling for the year, getting it up and down 64.78% of the time
Winner Jordan Spieth was ranked 6th, getting it up and down in 18 of the 22 greens he missed.
*2021 – Harbour Town finished 44th in scrambling of the 51 courses that tracked scrambling for the year, getting it up and down 63.80% of the time
Winner Stewart Cink was ranked T-50th, getting it up and down in 13 of the 16 greens he missed.
*2020 – Harbour Town finished 40th in scrambling of the 41 courses that tracked scrambling for the year, getting it up and down 67.14% of the time
Winner Webb Simpson was ranked T-27th, getting it up and down in 14 of the 19 greens he missed.
*2020 – Harbour Town finished 42nd in scrambling of the 49 courses that tracked scrambling for the year, getting it up and down 62.99% of the time
*2019 – Winner C.T. Pan was ranked T-16th. He got it up and down on 22 of the 30 greens he missed.
2018 champion Satoshi Kodaira was primarily t-13th because he hit a lot of greens.
So, the winner must do a great job getting it up and down on the greens he missed.

Last, we pick a stat rarely used: Strokes Gained Putting. That’s because at Hilton Head, putting well doesn’t mean much because of the small size of the greens, but you still have to make those nasty 4 to 8-footers. The winners of the Heritage are notoriously good putters. Last year, Harbour Town ranked 53rd in Putting average, 53rd in One-Putt Percentage, 58th in 3-Putt Avoidance, and 33rd in Putting Inside ten feet, as 88.55% of the putts in this range were made.
Last year’s winner, Matt Fitzpatrick, ranked 20th in Putting average, T-8th in One-Putt Percentage, T-1st in 3-putt Avoidance, and 5th in Putting Inside ten feet as he made 66 out of 70 putts in this range. With all these stats, he was 20th in Strokes Gained Putting, gaining 2.732 shots for the week.

Here is a look at the putting stats of Harbour Town and RBC Heritage winners in the last few years:
*2022 – Harbour Town ranked 37th in Putting average, 50th in One-Putt Percentage, T-43rd in 3-putt Avoidance, and 16th in Putting Inside ten feet, as 87.77% of the putts in this range were made.
Winner Jordan Spieth, who is one of the best putters in golf, ranked 40th in Putting average, T-43rd in One-Putt Percentage, T-65th in 3-putt Avoidance, and T-17th in Putting Inside ten feet as he made 63 out of 73 of the putts in this range. With all of these stats, he was 60th in Strokes Gained Putting, as he lost a whooping -2.545 shots for the week.
*2021 – Harbour Town ranked T-47th in Putting average, 48th in One-Putt Percentage, 48th in 3-putt Avoidance, and 25th in Putting Inside ten feet as 88.16% of the putts in this range were made.
Winner Stewart Cink ranked T-7th in Putting average, T-29th in One-Putt Percentage, T-1st in 3-putt Avoidance, and 19th in Putting Inside ten feet, making 67 out of 74 of the putts in this range. With all of these stats, he was 42nd in Strokes Gained Putting, gaining 1.632 shots.
*2020 – Harbour Town ranked 38th in Putting average, 39th in One-Putt Percentage, 41st in three-putt Avoidance, and 22nd in Putting Inside ten feet, as 88.57% of the putts in this range were made.
Winner Webb Simpson ranked 3rd in Putting average, T-15th in One-Putt Percentage, T-1st in 3-putt Avoidance, and 44th in Putting Inside ten feet, making 57 out of 64 of the putts in this range. With all of these stats, he was 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting, gaining 6.605 shots for the week.
*2019 – Harbour Town ranked T-38th in Putting average, 49th in One-Putt Percentage, 47th in 3-putt Avoidance, and 15th in Putting Inside ten feet, as 87.50% of the putts in this range were made.
Winner C.T. Pan ranked 2nd in Putting average, T-3rd in One-Putt Percentage, T-1st in 3-putt Avoidance, and 11th in Putting Inside ten feet, making 64 out of 69 of the putts in this range. With these stats, he was 5th in Strokes Gained Putting, gaining 6.271 shots for the week.

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, remember that most of them are ranked at the bottom of driving distance and high in driving accuracy. 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, so keeping it in the fairway is very important.

*Greens in Regulation: This stat is a great barometer of how well players manage their games around Harbour Town. Every year, the players who 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 2024 with 66 of the 69 players having stats:

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

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.