The Confidence Factor: 51st RBC Heritage Preview 2019

132 players will tee it up at Harbour Town Golf Links as they tackle Pete Dye and the coastal spring weather.

Man, if it looked like that EVERY DAY!

Preview after the jump.

51st RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,099
Par: 71 (35-36)
Greens: 3,700 square feet; TifEagle Bermuda over-seeded with Poa Trivialis.
Stimpmeter: 11’5
Rough:  Celebration Bermuda at 1 3/8″, same cut as last week.
Bunkers: 54
Water Hazards: 17
Architect(s): Pete Dye, 1969.
Purse: $6.9 million; $1.242 winner plus 500 FedExCup Points.
Defending Champion: Satoshi Kodaira (-12).
Notes: Field of 132, stroke play, top 70 and ties play the weekend.

Previous Winners:

Year Winner   Comment
       
2018 Satoshi Kodaira -12 Played the final 54 holes -13 under to win (playoff) on his maiden voyage.
2017 Wesley Bryan -13 First native to win and did so on his first try.
2016 Branden Grace -9 Held off Luke Donald and Russell Knox to win by two.
2015 Jim Furyk -18 Defeated Kevin Kisner in a playoff to win for the second time in six years.
2014 Matt Kuchar -11 Chipped in for birdie at the 72nd hole to beat Donald by a shot.
2013 Graeme McDowell -9 Defeated Webb Simpson in a playoff.
2012 Carl Pettersson -14 Won by five. Yep, that happened.
2011 Brandt Snedeker -12 Posted his only top 10 in 13 starts as he defeated Donald in a playoff.
2010 Brian Gay -20 Tournament record total. Tournament record margin of victory (10 shots).

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell
Valero Texas Open Corey Conners**
83rd Masters Tournament Tiger Woods

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 264 (-20); Gay, 2010
Course Record: 61; Troy Merritt Round 2, 2015.
Defending Champions since 2000: Boo Weekley, 2007-08.
Multiple Winners (entered) Davis Love (5); Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk and Boo Weekley (2).
First TOUR win (recent): Kodaira, Bryan and Grace.
First Appearance: Kodaira and Bryan.
Second Appearance: 5 in total; Schwartzel, Spieth and Willett this decade.
Margin of Victory: 12 shots (Woods, 1997).
Oldest: 48; Hale Irwin, 1994.
Youngest: 23; Davis Love, III, 1987.
Low Round 2018: 63; Kodaira, Round 2.
Odd Fact: In 50 events, the cut has been under par once, one-under, in 2017. It was (E) last year.
Odd Fact II: The last defending champion to miss the cut was Davis Love in 1993.
Odd Fact III: Stewart Cink was nine back after 54 holes in 2004 before he won.

 The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Trend or Not a Trend?

Stats 2018 2017 2016 2015
  Satoshi Kodaira Wesley Bryan Branden Grace Jim Furyk
Winning Score -12 -13 -9 -18
         
Distance of All Drives 27 70 12 72
Driving Accuracy T4 T55 T50 T7
Greens in Regulation T7 T66 T14 T10
Ball-Striking 10 71 39 27
Proximity to the Hole 1 7 40 2
Putting: Birdie-or-Better % 23 17 T7 T19
SG: Off-the-Tee 6 67 19 22
SG: Approach-the-Green 7 2 28 8
SG: Around-the-Green 66 10 3 6
SG: Putting 16 11 10 11
SG: Tee-to-Green 7 6 2 2
Scrambling T13 1 3 1
Bogey Avoidance T5 T1 T5 1
Par-3 Scoring T28 T4 T60 T5
Par-4 Scoring 2 T1 1 T2
Par-5 Scoring T31 T37 4 T28

 Horses for Courses

Each week I’ll put the major players in here. There are always exceptions to rules and “new” players every year so use this as a guide or tiebreaker.

If they are not on this list, they do not have a top 10 here.

Player Cuts Top Top Most Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s Recent  
           
Satoshi Kodaira 1/1 1 1 Win (2018)  
Si Woo Kim 2/2 1 2 P2 (2018) T14 debut
Bryson DeChambeau 2/3 2 2 T3 (2018) T4 pro debut ’16
Luke List 2/4 1 1 T3 (2018) T39 ’17
Webb Simpson 8/9 2 5 T5 (2018) 8 straight; 2 2013
Billy Horschel 5/6 2 2 T5 (2018) T9 ’13 debut
Kevin Kisner 5/6 2 3 T7 (2018) P2 2015; T11 ’17
Kevin Streelman 6/8 2 3 T7 (2018) T3 ’13; 6 straight
Patrick Cantlay 2/2 2 2 T7 (2018) T3 ’17; -20 in 2 starts
Bill Haas 7/14 1 3 T7 (2018) Yep, once
Ian Poulter 8/8 1 3 T7 (2018) T11 ’17 so heating up
           
Luke Donald 10/13 7 8 2 (2017) MC ’18; 5 top 15 in a row
O. Schniederjans 2/2 1 1 3 (2017) 7/8 rounds par or better
Brian Gay 10/18 3 4 T6 (2017) 2009 champ; -20 record
Brian Harman 6/9 2 3 T9 (2017) T7 ’14
Bud Cauley 3/5 1 2 T9 (2017) T23 ’18
           
Branden Grace 3/3 2 3 Win (2016) DNS ’18; T11 worst
Russell Knox 5/5 2 4 T2 (2016) T9 ’14, T11 ’17
Kevin Na 9/13 4 6 T4 (2016) T39, MC last two
Jason Kokrak 4/7 1 3 T6 (2016) MC X 2 after
Aaron Baddeley 10/14 4 7 T9 (2016) 2006 champ
Matt Kuchar 14/15 5 9 T9 (2016) 2014 champ; 14 straight
           
Jim Furyk 15/19 8 10 Win (2015) 2010 champ
Morgan Hoffmann 2/4 1 2 T9 (2015) T23 ’16
Troy Merritt 2/4 1 1 3 (2015) T-course record 61
           
Scott Brown 4/6 1 1 T5 (2014) MC last 2 years
Brian Stuard 4/6 1 1 T5 (2014) 4 straight
Rory Sabbatini 6/9 3 6 T9 (2014) All six in the top 25
           
Graeme McDowell 7/9 1 2 Win (2013) T23 (2014) next best
Charley Hoffman 7/9 2 4 T6 (2013) T8 ’12
Russell Henley 3/5 1 2 T6 (2013)  
Chris Stroud 4/8 1 1 T6 (2013) T48 is next best
Jordan Spieth 3/3 1 3 T9 (2013) T12 ’14, T11 ’15
Marc Leishman 5/9 1 1 T9 (2013) T30 best since
           
Zach Johnson 10/13 2 2 2 (2012) last top 25
Colt Knost 3/5 1 2 3 (2012) T14 ’16
Harris English 3/6 1 1 T8 (2012) 67-65 bookends ’18
           
Brandt Snedeker 10/13 1 5 Win (2011) 64 Rd 2 ’18
           
Player Cuts Top Top Last Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s    
           
Davis Love III 23/30 11 13 T2 (2005) No top 25 last 10 tries
           
Stewart Cink 15/19 5 7 T7 (2008) Last top 20 was 2010

Hey!

Where did everyone go???

Did fantasy golf season end after last week? Where are all the previews and insight for this week?

I hope to have you covered along with my dudes at PGATOUR.COM.

The RBC Heritage has puzzled gamers for the last two years as less-than-famous folks have donned the tartan jacket late Sunday afternoon.

We do know that Pete Dye always has fun at the golfer’s expense and I wouldn’t expect much different this week.

He’ll sucker them into angles, shots and clubs and their eyes will agree. Those decisions will have to factor the wind, lack of rough and openings between the trees.

Remember, over FIFTY YEARS, the average winning score is just 11-under par on a course than doesn’t stretch 7,100 yards.

Work it, chip it, putt it and keep it out of the water and sand.

Oh, and don’t have the lead on Sunday! The last SIX winners have come from at least three shots off the pace.

Got all that?

The Chalk

Dustin Johnson: RBC ambassador sits second in scoring and Strokes-Gained: Total so it’s hardly a surprise he’s on top. His last five stroke-play events are all T9 or better with a win and T2 last week at Augusta National.

Patrick Cantlay: Speaking of metrics, I wrote last week that this guy would put his numbers to the test at the Masters. I’d say he passed with flying colors! Toss in he’s 20-under (T3, T7) his last two trips to HTGL and he goes here.

Matt Kuchar: Steady spaghetti, great form, loves to work it both ways, spectacular short game and former champ.

Webb Simpson: Never been accused of bombing it and was loitering on Sunday at the Masters before cashing T5. He’s gone close here three times in the last six years and his short game is the reason why.

Kevin Kisner: The last time he played a Pete Dye course he won the WGC-Match Play. That was also on his preferred surface of Bermuda. No pressure to be the first native to win either since Bryan took care of that in 2017.

Xander Schauffele: Any course. Any time. Anywhere. The nitpicker will point out his only MC is at THE PLAYERS and he didn’t get out of group play at WGC-Match Play. I’ll need a bit more deterrence than that for a guy who almost won the Masters and gives zero f#cks.

Tommy Fleetwood: Controlling the golf ball tee-to-green is the top priority this week so Fleetwood stands out. His touch around the green is severely understated. He’ll figure Pete Dye owes him one after his Sunday at THE PLAYERS.

Bryson DeChambeau: A bit of target golf should get the scientist back on track. This place will always resonate as he collected T4 in his first event as a pro here. It will also burn him that he couldn’t close his 36-hole lead last year.

Jason Kokrak: Oh, hey look! It’s him again. Ready? 18 consecutive cuts and four of the last five are T10 or better including T7 and T2 in the last two.

Ian Poulter: Never missed in eight tries as the lack of distance doesn’t hurt his argument either. He led after 54 holes last year and was three back in 2017 so it’s time to close the deal. I won’t mention last week but he has PLENTY of calluses to not let that bother him.

Jim Furyk: The last two winners have been in their late 20’s but that’s hardly going to bother this two-time champ. Keeping the ball in play and grinding out pars to him is normal.

Si Woo Kim: All he needed was one par on his final nine holes last year to win and he didn’t close the deal. After bombing out at Match Play (he got RAN) he recovered for T4 at Valero and T21 last week at Augusta.

Graeme McDowell: Fits the dominant short game, wind-player profile this week. Former champ wins AGAIN this week (T7, WIN last two) and he’s heading home to Portrush and The Open Championship this summer. NO PRESSURE MAN.

Branden Grace: He’s 27-under here over three tries so it’s obvious he’s down to clown.

Lucas Glover: His streak of not finishing worse than T17 THIS SEASON continued with T14 at Valero LTO.

Jordan Spieth: Oh hey. You’re back again? Remember when you shot 62 here in Round 2 after winning the Masters? That’s the last time you were here so maybe this is a good fit to shake it up.

Next Tier

Russell Knox: Rattled off 11 consecutive checks on TOUR and his average is 69.40 in five events here (0 MC). Confluence.

Kevin Streelman: Another form (solo sixth) meets course form (6 straight, T7 last year).

Cameron Smith: Scrambles and putting = 69.42 over three events and 10 of 12 rounds are par or better.

Marc Leishman: Did someone say windy conditions???? Yeah, move him up but I wish he was playing a bit more consistently.

Aaron Baddeley: Hush. Super scrambler will need it on this tight track but he’s playing well as of late.

Matthew Fitzpatrick: It’s his favorite course on TOUR. Surely he’s not lying to us! He’s made the cut in just half of his four tries but T14 last year is the best of the bunch. Played the final 54 at Augusta in 11-under after opening with 78!

Charley Hoffman: He usually presses the gas for the Masters-RBC-Valero swing. Sol second at VTO followed by T29 last week shouldn’t surprise many.

Sungjae Im: Of his last five, three have gone for top 10’s and the other was T20. No shame in MC first time at THE PLAYERS.

Abraham Ancer: Too many fairways to ignore plus top 50 in scoring.

Ryan Moore: Also closed 69-64 and claimed third at VTO last time we saw him. Hard to ignore a guy who finds fairways (7th), greens (61st) and is 27th in SG: Putting.

Ben An: Chop, chop, chopping away as he’s now cashed 19 in a row, the most on TOUR.

I Have No Idea

Francesco Molinari: He played perfectly except for two holes last week so the analyst in me says that’s 70 great holes. The artist in me knows that he’s crushed that he couldn’t close the deal and join a very exclusive club. Playing this week is probably great to keep the momentum moving forward but I can’t believe he’s “all there” upstairs. Great contrarian play but I’m not building from him.

Form/Long Shots/Course Horse/DFS

Brian Gay: Last top 10 was at Pebble Beach, another short, difficult track. This will be start No. 19.

Patton Kizzire: Hoo baby, three rounds of 70 or better at the Masters should get the blood boiling!

Rory Sabbatini: T39 or better in his last five on TOUR plus T23 or better in six of nine starts here career. Opened with 64 to lead last year.

Kelly Kraft: Should play well after I was all over him at VTO and he MC. Haha.

Ryan Palmer: Wind player who also killed me at Valero. He’ll partner with Jon Rahm next week at Zurich because why not?

Scott Stallings: T23 and T7 in his last two = optimism this week.

K.H. Lee: T35 or better in five of his last six (WD is the other). DFS city.

Jonas Blixt: I like guys who are making cuts (six straight) instead of guys who I think can make the cut. Short game is his game and his T14 last year was his best in four visits.

Mark Anderson: He’ll be on everyone’s sleeper list this week. He should be if he’s ranked No. 45 in the Sagarin ratings! He won The Players Amateur when he was in college. He won on the Web.com in February.

Corey Conners: Yeah.

Nick Taylor: Ran off five straight of T33 or better before T52 at VTO.

Luke List: One back of the 54-hole lead last year before T3.

Beau Hossler: Led the field in putting last year.

Scott Brown: Second half of the Aiken Mafia with Kisner. All-or-nothingness makes him a perfect DFS filler.

Adam Schenk: Quietly cashed five of his last six including the best of the bunch, T7, at VTO.

Luke Donald: There was nobody better forever here but that was then and this is now. He’s down here because I don’t think he has any value with his past track record. I’ll have more thoughts in my REVAMPED OAD column later today.

Bud Cauley Section

Bud Cauley: Shot 63 here in 2017 to kick things off.

Harris English: Shot 65 to close last year, his best in 17 tries.

Mackenzie Hughes: 25-under his last three events.

Brian Harman: He can’t play poorly forever, right? T23 and T9 his last two visits to HHI.

Ollie Schniederjans: T3 in 2017. T42 in 2018. Sounds about right.

Fades

Satoshi Kodaira: Defending is tough and it’s even more difficult the first time.

Charles Howell III: Annually in this part of the column as this is one track, ONE, where he doesn’t play well. He’s played every event here this decade and T22 is the best.

Brandt Snedeker: Swing changes have cooled and this isn’t the place to get stuck trying to figure it out. Save him for down the road.

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

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