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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: RBC Heritage (2024)


Those who missed out on the Green Jacket of The Masters a week ago will get their chance to sport the Plaid Jacket of the RBC Heritage this week.


In year’s past, the RBC Heritage would draw the short end of the stick, serving as the landing spot for The Masters’ ‘hangover.’


However, along with last year, that is no longer the case as this event has received Signature Event status which in turn, will draw the biggest names in the sport.


The event is held annually at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Islands, just a mere 142 miles from Augusta National and has been a staple of the PGA Tour since 1969.


What was once described as a relaxing trip to the low country of South Carolina after the stress of The Masters and the first major of the season will be no longer as it comes with a $20 Million purse for grabs.


The Field

Being a Signature Event, the field this week sits at just 69 golfers, making this the smallest and most concentrated field in the history of the RBC Heritage.


All eligible PGA Tour members within the top 50 of the OWGR outside of Hideki Matsuyama and Viktor Hovland will be making the short trip from Augusta National to Harbour Town Golf Links.


World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is slated to play this week despite the rumbling that he would have withdrawn from The Masters if his wife were to go into labor.


Ludvig Aberg, Matthieu Pavon and Eric Cole highlight the list of those making their RBC Heritage debut.


Matt Fitzpatrick comes in as the defending champion after downing Jordan Spieth in a playoff a season ago. Spieth (2022) is the only other former RBC Heritage champion in this week’s field. All of the other former winners no longer qualify for the limited field.


The Course

Harbour Town Golf Links is a course that makes up for its lack of length with tight fairways and the smallest greens on the entirety of the PGA Tour.


The Pete Dye designed course plays as a par 71 and comes in at around 7,100 yards


Harbour Town’s biggest defense is the size of its greens. As previously mentioned, the greens are the smallest on Tour. As well as being smaller in size, they are contoured in a way to challenge even the game’s best putters.


Along with the challenges on the greens, the combination of the fairways being both tight and tree lined with overhanging mossy oaks makes getting off the tee a challenge.


The course annually ranks as the venue with the fewest drives over 300 yards and shortest average driving distances on the PGA Tour. Harbour Town’s average distance off the tee is 268 yards as the PGA Tour average sits at  roughly 285 yards.


Although finding the fairway at any track is important, Harbour Town is one of the few courses on the PGA Tour where driving means very little. Traditionally speaking from a statistics standpoint, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee means less than Strokes Gained: Around the Green among top-ten finishers. That is very rare on the PGA Tour.


Heck, a lot of the holes this week are structured in a way where being in the right rough generates better birdie opportunities than being situated in the left section of the fairway.


The greens in regulation percentage (GIR%) at Harbour Town too is among the lowest on Tour in terms of average. Due to its Tour smallest greens in size, the course boasts a GIR% of 58-percent. Taking advantage of the proper angle will be imperative to scoring.


In the end, players are treated to an 18th hole that sits flush to the Calibogue Sound. Along with the famed red-and-white lighthouse standing sentry over the green, this creates one of the most scenic settings on all of the PGA Tour.


The Weather

As of the time of writing this, we may make it through the week without a weather interruption. Right now, Sunday holds the highest chance of precipitation at 40-percent, although that currently projects to hit late in the afternoon. Thursday and Friday currently hold a ten percent chance of precipitation and Saturday a 20-percent chance. Winds are currently set to peak at 11 miles-per-hour on Sunday with the rest of the week calling for nine-to-ten miles-per-hour but as the course sits along the Atlantic ocean, coastal winds will be present. Temperatures will range from 82-to-84 degrees for Thursday through Saturday before dipping to 76-degrees on Sunday. We can hope that the Sunday rain holds off and we get a clear four days of golf.


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)

  • Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda (SG: PUTT Bermuda)

  • Good Drives Gained

  • Scrambling

  • Proximity to the Hole from 125-200 Yards

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Ball Striking


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

The fear of Scottie Scheffler withdrawing combined with a staggering $13,300 price tag sees him absent from my DFS lineups this week. Instead, I’ll opt for Xander Schauffele ($10,800,) who despite notably lacking a victory this season, has been one of the most consistent golfers on the entire PGA Tour. He comes into this week fresh off an eighth place finish at The Masters and on the back of three straight top five performances. He also placed T5th at the Valspar Championship and T2nd at THE PLAYERS Championship. He also placed T4th at The Genesis Invitational, T9th at the Farmers Insurance Open, T3rd at The American Express and T10th at The Sentry Tournament of Champions on the season. Schauffele is currently second on Tour in ball striking, third in bogey avoidance, sixth in scrambling, eighth in SG: ATG, 12th in GIR%, 19th in SG: APP, 30th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 49th in good drives gained and 83rd in SG: PUTT Bermuda. He also placed fourth here a season ago. His outright odds are too slim for me to back this week however.


$9,000-$9,900

When it comes to DFS, half the battle is finding golfers with the right sweet spot between performance and ownership. I think the egg that Wyndham Clark ($9,200) laid last week at The Masters will only help keep his ownership lower. Clark placed second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T2nd at THE PLAYERS Championship to Scheffler before placing T31st at the Texas Children’s Open and missing the cut at The Masters. Again, short term memory will have casual DFS players forgetting how great of form he was in just a few weeks back. On top of that, Clark is currently ninth on Tour in ball striking, 13th in GIR%, 27th in bogey avoidance, 33rd in both SG: APP and SG: PUTT Bermuda, 59th in good drives gained and 72nd in SG: ATG. He does offer some red flags this week, mainly with a 130th placement in scrambling a 163rd in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards. However, his results on the season speak for themselves. Clark also has played this event in each of the last five seasons where he made the cut each time. Also consider Matt Fitzpatrick ($9,600.) Now I know I opened my discussion about Clark talking about DFS ownership and being the defending champion, one can assume Fitzpatrick’s DFS ownership will be higher but I simply could not leave him out of this write-up. Fitzpatrick is currently seventh on Tour in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 18th in ball striking, 49th in GIR%, 66th in bogey avoidance, 73rd in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 80th in SG: ATG, 82nd in scrambling and 90th in SG: APP. Additionally, he heads into this week in some great form. He placed T22nd last week at The Masters and before that, placed T10th at the Valero Texas Open and solo fifth at THE PLAYERS Championship. Fitzpatrick has also played this event each of the last eight seasons. Outside of winning here a season ago he placed T4th in 2021 and T14th in both 2020 and 2018. 


$8,000-$8,900

I love when we get a chance to talk about these short positional courses because it brings into play many of the fan favorites of the PGA Tour. Among them is Russell Henley ($8,100.) Henley has played this event ten times dating back to 2013. In those ten events, he has a mixed bag of success. Although he missed the cut five times, he placed T6th in 2013, T9th in 2021, T19th last year, T23rd in 2016 and T26th in 2017. Henley comes into this week placing T38th last week at The Masters and prior to that placed fourth at the Valero Texas Open. He also placed T4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T4th at the Sony Open in Hawaii this season. He is currently 19th on Tour in good drives gained, 24th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 34th in scrambling, 37th in bogey avoidance, 40th in SG: ATG, 41st in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 69th in SG: APP, 85th in ball striking and 90th in GIR%. A perfect storm for Henley to compete this week. I’m also playing a unit on him at +5000 this week. Also consider Si Woo Kim ($8,000.) Kim has played this event seven times since 2016 where he placed solo second in 2018 and T14th in 2016. He did miss the cut here a season ago but prior to that made the cut in back-to-back outings. He comes into this week having made the cut in each of the ten events he’s played this season. His worst finish on the entire season was a T44th at The Genesis Invitational and in his last four outings, his worst finish was a T30th at both The Masters and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He also placed T6th at THE PLAYERS Championship. Kim is currently second on Tour in good drives gained, fifth in bogey avoidance, 17th in SG: ATG, 25th in both GIR% and scrambling, 27th in SG: APP and 32nd in ball striking. Now, he is 154th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards and 160th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. I’m not playing Kim to win this week but he’s one of those rather consistent guys who can easily flirt with a top ten or have a safe floor of a top twenty performance this week.


$7,000-$7,900

We have to roll out Akshay Bhatia ($7,700) in this article. We often hear about Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard as the brightest young talents on the PGA Tour but Bhatia is right there with them. Bhatia is currently seventh on Tour in good drives gained, 12th in both SG: APP and ball striking, 18th in bogey avoidance, 24th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 27th in scrambling, 30th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 87th in SG: ATG. In other words, he’s top 30 in eight-of-the-nine statistical categories we took into consideration this week. Bhatia recorded his second PGA Tour victory two weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open and also made the cut last week at The Masters. He also placed T11th at the Texas Children’s Open and T17th at the Valspar Championship across his last four outings. He made his debut here a season ago where he missed the cut. Also consider Chris Kirk ($7,700.) Kirk very quietly placed T16th last week at Augusta. He also has missed the cut just once in nine events this season. Across his last four outings his worst finish has been a T44th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and outside of that placed T28th or better in the other three events. He is currently first on the entire PGA Tour in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 13th in good drives gained, 22nd in ball striking, 28th in bogey avoidance, 30th in GIR%, 37th in SG: ATG, 38th in SG: APP and 49th in scrambling. His downfall comes on the greens as he ranks 148th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. However, being the Tour’s best on approach from 125-200 yards is a massive boost. Kirk has made the cut here two-of-the-last-three seasons, highlighted by a T7th in 2021. I’m also playing a unit on him at +6600.


$6,900-

Now onto the lineup winners. Andrew Putnam ($6,400) is my favorite in this price range. He’s currently fourth on Tour in bogey avoidance, 11th in scrambling, 12th in good drives gained, 19th in GIR%, 46th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 47th in SG: ATG, 51st in SG: APP, 87th in ball striking and 94th in SG: PUTT Bermuda. In other words, he’s above average in each of the nine statistical categories we took into consideration this week. Putnam has made the cut in eight-of-ten events he’s played this season. He placed T14th in his last outing at the Valero Texas Open. He also placed T8th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. His track record has not been great here but again, this is a course where course history doesn’t mean a ton. I’m also playing a unit on him at +15000. Also consider Lucas Glover ($6,800.) Glover is currently fifth on Tour in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, seventh in SG: ATG, ninth in SG: APP, 24th in good drives gained, 50th in ball striking, 57th in bogey avoidance and 61st in scrambling. He is currently 169th in SG: PUTT Bermuda and we know that historically speaking, that is his downfall. He showed late last year the ability to spike with his putter for an extended period of time. He’s since lost that success but if he can find even a glimpse of that again, he’ll be climbing leaderboards once again. Glover has also played this event every year since 2004. That is 20 straight years. In those 20 events, he made the cut 13 times.


Betting Card

  • Max Homa (+2500) - 2u

  • Sahith Theegala (+3500) - 1u

  • Russell Henley (+5000) - 1u

  • Chris Kirk (+6000) - 1u

  • Matthieu Pavon (+10000) - 1u

  • Andrew Putnam (+15000) - 1u


Max Homa (+2500)

This is more of a gut play but it’s not like Homa doesn’t line up here this week. I feel like he’s in the right headspace to claim a Signature Event after what he did a week ago at The Masters. He’s fresh off a T3rd last week. He also placed in the top 25 in four-of-his-last-five events, including a T8th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He is also 12th on Tour in bogey avoidance, 13th in scrambling, 41st in ball striking, 48th in SG: ATG, 54th in SG: APP, 67th in GIR%, 88th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards, 91st in SG: PUTT Bermuda and 123rd in good drives gained.


Sahith Theegala (+3500)

Theegala has been showing up when it comes to these Signature Events. He placed T9th at THE PLAYERS Championship and T6th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He also placed fifth at the WM Phoenix Open and made the cut last week at The Masters. He has made the cut in both of his two appearances here and placed T5th a season ago. On top of that he is currently 14th on Tour in ball striking, 23rd in GIR%, 25th in bogey avoidance, 26th in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 35th in good drives gained, 48th in scrambling, 49th in SG: APP, 108th in SG: ATG and 135th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards.


Matthieu Pavon (+10000)

Pavon is making his RBC Heritage debut this week. He had a rather impressive debut at Augusta last week where he finished T12th. He also won the Farmers Insurance Open and placed third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this season. He is currently tenth on Tour in ball striking, 20th in good drives gained, 22nd in bogey avoidance, 25th in SG: APP, 27th in GIR%, 43rd in SG: PUTT Bermuda, 54th in scrambling, 66th in proximity to the hole from 125-200 yards and 144th in SG: ATG.

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