Just one week after the Masters, the vast majority of the top players on the PGA Tour made the quick trip from Augusta, Georgia, to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town. Get here the latest RBC Heritage Odds by Jazzsports.
This event is drawing an elite field since it is a designated event on the PGA Tour schedule this year, which means more FedEx Cup points are available and a purse of $25 million.
In all, 47 who competed at the Masters will be among the field of 143 here—up from the typical 132 due to the designated status this year.
In 2022, Jordan Spieth outlasted Patrick Cantlay in a playoff for his only victory in 2022. Davis Love III holds the record with five wins in this event, which dates back to 1969. Hale Irwin and Stewart Cink, who won here in 2021, are the only three-time winners.
The course was an early design of Pete Dye (with input from Jack Nicklaus) and opened in 1969, in time for the inaugural Heritage Golf Classic, which was won by Arnold Palmer. It features some of the smallest greens and narrowest tree-lined fairways on the PGA Tour, so accuracy is key on the par-71, 7,121-yard course.
The four par-3 holes all feature water. The 14th (192 yards) and fourth (200 yards) are typically the toughest holes in the tournament.
Winning scores vary widely here. Spieth won last year at -13, but it took -19 the win the year prior. Webb Simpson holds the course record of a 22-under 262, which he set in 2020.
The pomp and circumstance of the green jacket, Butler Cabin, and everything that goes with the Masters is now in the rear-view mirror for Jon Rahm (+1000), who is among the three favorites here. He’s only played here once, and major winners typically have a bit of a letdown the week after, however.
Scottie Scheffler (+1000) lost his No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to Rahm last week, but he fared decently in defense of his Masters title by finishing 10th last week. In addition to two wins in 2023, Scheffler is currently on a run of 10-straight top-12 finishes, but he’s making his debut in this event.
If you’re looking to back a front-runner with more experience, look to Patrick Cantlay (+1000), who hasn’t won here (or anywhere yet this year) but does own the runner-up from last and a pair of third-place efforts at Harbour Town since 2017. He entered the final round at the Masters in fourth before settling for a tie for 14th.
We saw it with Scheffler and Will Zalatoris last year—golfers who had immense talent and were oh-so-close to winning several times before finally doing so. Cameron Young (+1600), last year’s PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, now sits in that position. After losing to Sam Burns in the finals of the WGC-Match Play last month, Young now has six runner-up finishes in just 38 events that he’s competed in. He also owns a pair of third-place efforts, one of which was at this event last year. Young is also coming off a seventh-place finish at the Masters.
Collin Morikawa (+1300) came in 10th at Augusta last week for his fifth top-15 of 2023. He could very well have a win under his belt if not for losing a six-stroke lead to Rahm at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Believe it or not, his last PGA Tour win came at the 2021 Open Championship, so he’s flying under the radar a bit. He’s made all three cuts in this event with a best finish of seventh in 2021.
Jordan Spieth (+2000) has decent value as the defending champion, especially given his performance at Augusta last week. His final-round 66 moved him into a tie for fourth on the final leaderboard, and he comes to a course where he has a win and hasn’t missed the cut in six tries.
Viktor Hovland (+1800) led after the first round of the Masters and was third going into the final day before ending up tied for seventh. He was 21st in his only finish here in 2020, but his game is well-suited for the postage-stamp greens of Harbour Town.
We were encouraged to see Matt Fitzpatrick (+3000) be one of just two players to shoot under par in all four rounds at Augusta on his way to a 10th-place finish. Neck pain had been limiting the defending U.S. Open champion, but his performance last week was a good sign. He also owns a fourth-place finish and two other top 15s at the RBC Heritage.
This is an event where we expect to see Sam Burns (+3500) in the mix. He took a step forward by winning the WGC-Match Play three weeks ago, was ninth the week before at the Valspar Championship (where he was a two-time defending champ), and managed to finish 29th despite a third round of 78 in the Masters.
Matt Kuchar (+5000) didn’t qualify for the Masters, but it wasn’t due to a lack of trying for the 44-year-old. After a strong performance at the WGC-Match Play, he finished third at the Valero Texas Open. After missing the cut on his first try here in 2003, Kuchar has played on the weekend in this event an astonishing 18 times in a row. The winner here in 2014, Kuchar was third in last year’s edition and runner-up in 2019.
Rahm and Scheffler have dominated 2023, winning six times between them. It could be Scheffler’s turn, but we also like Cantlay. We’re also thinking it’s time for Young, and our longshot picks are Burns and Kuchar.
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