The Confidence Factor: The RSM Classic

The end is near but the beginning is just around the corner.

The RSM Classic is the final event of the 2018 portion of the 2018-19 season and the last chance to book a place at Kapalua.

Choose wisely my friends!

The RSM Classic

Sea Island Resort

Seaside Course (host)

Plantation Course

St. Simons Island, Georgia

 

Seaside Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,005
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Tifdwarf Bermuda; 7,000 sq. ft.
Stimpmeter: 11.5′
Rough: Bermuda at two inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards 40/7
Architects: Colt and Allison (1929); Joe Lee (1973); Tom Fazio combined the two nines in 1998.
Purse: $6.4 million; $1.152 million, 500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion: Austin Cook (-21; 261)
Fact of the Week: Five of the eight winners broke their maiden.
Fact of the Week II: Last two winners combined for 23 TOTAL starts on TOUR entering the week.

Notes:

  • Plantation Course (Par-72; 6,908) introduced in 2016.
  • 156 players play each course once before the cut.
  • Top 70 and ties play the weekend on the Seaside track.

2017-18 Winners

Looking back to look forward as you’ll notice no Spieth, Fowler, Scott, McIlroy, Matsuyama, Fleetwood, Finau, Stenson or Garcia.

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**
Fort Worth Invitational Justin Rose (2)
Memorial Bryson DeChambeau
FESJC Dustin Johnson (2)
U.S. Open Brooks Koepka
Travelers Championship Bubba Watson (3)
Quicken Loans National Francesco Molinari
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Kevin Na
John Deere Classic Michael Kim*
The Open Championship Francesco Molinari (2)
RBC Canadian Open Dustin Johnson (3)
Barracuda Championship Andrew Putnam*
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Justin Thomas (3)
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)
Wyndham Championship Brandt Snedeker
THE NORTHERN TRUST FEC I Bryson DeChambeau (2)
Dell Technologies FEC II Bryson DeChambeau (3)
BMW Championship FEC III Keegan Bradley
TOUR Championship Tiger Woods

 

The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM. I’ve included the link here for you. Please read as I’m not going to write it all out here.

 

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
Safeway Open Kevin Tway*
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
WGC-HSBC Champions Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Cameron Champ*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record (both courses): 260 (-22); Kevin Kisner
Course Record: Seaside 60; Tommy Gainey (Round 4, 2012)
Recent Defending Champion(s): Zero in seven previous defenses.
Multiple Winners (event or course): None.
First TOUR Win (last): Cook; of five total in eight events.
First-time Event: Cook, Hughes, Streb and Crane.
Low Round 2017: 62; Cook (Round 2), Spaun (Round 3).
Odd Fact: A resident of Sea Island has never won.

 

Quick Thoughts

This isn’t going to be much different than last week, take three.

The average winning score since the introduction of Plantation is 20-under.

Shoot first and ask questions later.

The last two winners didn’t have 30 COMBINED TOUR STARTS between them and never had played in the event before.

Both led the field in birdies and were in the top two in bogey avoidance.

Don’t make bogeys or worse is the only rule this week. As we have seen in the last two events and will again this week, 10-under isn’t going to get you into the top 20.

Wide-open course and a wide-open field equals a tough nut to crack again this year.

Recent Event Winners:

Year (calendar) Player Notes
2017 Austin Cook (-21) Won by four in the breeze; 54-hole scoring record.
2016 Mackenzie Hughes (-17) Won a five-man playoff in his ninth start on TOUR.
2015 Kevin Kisner (-22) All of those second-place finishes led to this break-out and first win. Tournament record set.
2014 Robert Streb (-14) Won a three-man playoff for his first TOUR win.
2013 Chris Kirk (-14) USED to live on Sea Island but was residing in Athens when he won.
2012 Tommy Gainey (-16) Shot 60 in the final round in a nice breeze.
2011 Ben Crane (-15) Defeated up-and-comer Webb Simpson in a playoff.
2010 Heath Slocum (-14) Started the run of mid-30’s guys that ended with Kirk’s victory.

 

Must-Haves

Some very familiar faces that I won’t have to go into great detail as they have played in the last few weeks!

Webb Simpson: I’d argue he’s the best player in the field but that has been hardly an indicator of past winners here. His scalding-hot putting always makes him a contender in events such as this.

J.J. Spaun: Not hard to connect the dots here as he hasn’t MC in five events to start the new season and is 42-under, T10, T15 and T3 last week in his last three starts. He won the B Flight here last year as he was four back of Cook for second.

Harold Varner III: Trending similarly to Spaun, he’s posted three top-15 finishes in four starts with T6 last week being the best. He had plenty of circles on the card in Mexico thanks to a hot putter. Let’s hope it cleared customs!

Bud Cauley: The man crush is strong here as I have mentioned before but this week has even more love. T8 last year included 63 in Round 2 and he’s also signed for 62 (Round 1, 2012) as he’s T20 or better in three of six starts.

Cameron Champ: He’s already won and he hasn’t taken a break as he cashed T28 in Vegas and T10 last week. Last time he was on Bermuda in the South he won and he proved he could knock it around a short track last week at Mayakoba. All systems go.

Russell Henley: Electric, regional course horse with three top-10 paydays in his last three trips. UGA alum lives up the coast on Kiawah so it’s hardly a surprise on why he plays well here. His recent form is a bit scary but a pair of 66’s in his last five shows light.

Kevin Kisner: Speaking of form, there isn’t any but his record speaks for itself here as the leading money winner at the event. If your angle this week is to fade the trend of first-timers, he deserves a big look.

Chris Kirk: All these dudes all play well at Colonial too so yeah. Kirk rolled in here last year on fumes and threw up 63 and 64 en route to T4. T18 or better in five of eight starts here.

C.T. Pan: I’d move him up. He’s missed one cut since the beginning of May worldwide. He resides in the top 15 of fairways and greens hit and that should resonate in a shoot-out. He’s also cashed T6 and T13 in two tries the last two years.

Jim Furyk: I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that his Las Vegas MC was a rust-buster. I hate leaning on late 40-somethings but he’s earned a look after top-six finishes in two of his last three.

Brian Gay: Last time he putted on Bermuda he cashed T6 at Wyndham. He’s peeled off 10 paydays running since a MC at JDC. Twenty-five percent of his rounds here are 65 or lower. Ok.

Lucas Glover: T17, T14 and T7 in his last three suggest he’s in fine form. The first part of getting into a shoot-out/putting contest is finding the putting surface. He has no problem in that area!

Charles Howell III: Since he was my MC OAD last week I’d expect a big push this week. Full disclosure: He was my OAD in this event two years ago and ALSO MC. I’ve found my kryptonite and also found out that nothing is automatic in fantasy golf. He was 22-under the previous two years for T13 and T9 so you try him!

 

Insurance

Michael Thompson: Hush, y’all! T21 or better in five of his last seven on TOUR and the resident has only MC once in six tries here. Of his 22 rounds, 18 are in the 60’s and four of his five paychecks are T17 or BETTER.

Brian Harman: Is it better to have his all-or-nothing or fade completely? If you’re even asking that question, he falls no higher than right here. Pair him with a stud above and you have a great counter move.

Sungjae Im: He’s 20 so I would expect some bumps in the road. He also won for fun last year on the Web.com and winners tend to win. He won’t have any problem chasing down 20-under.

Austin Cook: He makes way too many cuts to be ignored but I’m always leery with first-time defending champions. Patrick Cantlay should have put that to bed in Vegas but Cook hasn’t been kicking the door down this fall.

Peter Uihlein: Another that I could argue belongs up the list but he hasn’t been able to get out of his own way this fall. He opened 63-66 last time out so he’s getting closer.

Denny McCarthy: Play yourself out of the column my dude! He was T41 last week but nine-under so hardly irrelevant. I saw that 64 in Round 2!

Joe Quinn Newman: He’s cashed in 10 straight world-wide.

Joaquin Niemann: He’s cashed in 10 straight world-wide.

Stewart Cink: T10 and T25 last year in his last two visits. If Furyk and Gay are listed…

Hudson Swafford: Resident has opened 64 (2017) and 65 (2018) the last two seasons. Georgia doesn’t play Georgia Tech until NEXT WEEK so he and the rest of the ‘Dawgs and Jackets won’t be distracted on the course on the weekend.

Heat Check/Long Shot/DFS

Richy Werenski: I’m still not sure on the spelling of his first name but I am sure he’s not MC in four tries this season. T3 last week and that’s with the OWGR using Roberto Castro’s picture on his page. Or maybe that his Werenski. They both went to Georgia Tech…

Roberto Castro: If he’s not Richy Werenski, fine, but he’s only MC twice in 18 starts in 2018. I’ll point out he was T5 at SFC on Bermuda and never MC here in four tries.

Kramer Hickok: He’s also missing a letter in his name but after T23 and T29 in his last two, this isn’t the worst long-shot on the board this week.

Sean O’Hair: T20 or better in four of six trips.

Kelly Kraft: Cashed twice inside the top 25 in three trips.

Brice Garnett: Now that he’s hit the top 10 three times at Mayakoba, maybe I’ll play him NEXT YEAR.

J.T. Poston: I see your T21 last week.

David Hearn: T9 in 2016 and T17 last year plus never missed in five tries.

Nate Lashley: Two starts this season both in the top 20.

Jamie Lovemark: A pair of top 10’s in his first two visits met a MC last year. Sounds about right.

Vaughn Taylor: His part of the world, playing steady golf, T8 last year.

Ted Potter, Jr.: Short, seaside course? Yes, please.

Chad Campbell:  Playing out of the No. 126-150 category, he’ll be looking to pick up some points on a track where he has three T13 or better finishes from six made cuts.

Dominic Bozzelli: Opened 64-67 last week before fading on the weekend. I’m panning for gold here.

Done for the Year

There’s a reason, in my opinion, Sea Island residents get distracted at this event. It’s chill, it’s a party and there’s nothing to get ready for/practice for next week or next month.

This is it.

Finito.

It’s a family and golf community that is close-knit and they just might be more worried about being proper hosts than tuning up the golf one last time. There are always exceptions to the rules as Brian Harman and Zach Johnson both painted the top 10 last year. I’ll point out that was Johnson’s first in eight tries and his best since T12 in the inaugural event.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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