The conventional post-Masters occasion takes place this week in South Carolina, the place 138 golfers will tee-up within the RBC Heritage.
From the extensive open areas of Augusta National, the golfers will immediately have to come back to phrases with the much-narrower fairways of Harbour Town Golf Links, located at Sea Pines Resort on the south-west fringe of Hilton Head Island.
Harbour Town is among the shortest layouts on the PGA Tour, but that is countered by tight fairways on which there’s little or no room for error.
The greens are slick and agency, in addition to being a lot smaller than the Tour common, so accuracy is the secret.
And if a golfer fails to search out the right a part of the golf green from the tee, there’s each probability that their path to the flag might be blocked by overhanging bushes.
This can occur on as many as 10 holes, which implies it is merely not ok simply to search out the golf green with the driving force, as this doesn’t assure a straight line to the pin.
An skill to scramble efficiently can even come in useful as it is not all the time potential to find each small placing floor in regulation.
This is borne out by the truth that between 2016 and 2020, Harbour Town’s greens had been the twenty fifth most troublesome (out of 29*) to find in regulation.
Water comes into play on 11 holes, with seven of those affecting method pictures.
It’s additionally a venue the place golf’s longer hitters should curb their exuberance, with fewer drives than regular exceeding the 300-yard mark.
To sum it up, Harbour Town calls for finesse, creativeness and shot-making, fairly than brute pressure.
On the tee
Despite happening the week following The Masters, the Heritage often attracts a powerful area.
As many as half of the world’s prime 10, and 13 of the highest 25, are in attendance, though remarkably none of them posted a top-10 end at Augusta.
The finest Masters end from this group of 13 got here from Webb Simpson (T-12), the defending champion at Harbour Town this week.
Simpson often performs effectively on Hilton Head Island and ought to be among the many main contenders, as soon as once more, come Sunday afternoon.
You need to go right down to No 27 Will Zalatoris, who completed second on his Masters debut, to search out an Augusta T-10 – he’d began the week at No 46 within the World Ranking.
World No 1 Dustin Johnson is within the area, however hasn’t posted a T-25 end in his most up-to-date 4 outings. He’s additionally failed to complete contained in the top-dozen from 5 earlier visits to the Heritage.
Harbour Town ought to go well with among the shorter hitters, akin to Kevin Na, Ian Poulter and Matt Fitzpatrick, all of whom have performed fairly effectively throughout 2021.
Former champ Matt Kuchar may provide some respectable worth this week, regardless of lacking the minimize at Augusta.
And Ireland’s Shane Lowry might simply go away South Carolina with a trophy this weekend.
The 34-year-old ‘still-reigning’ Open champion is taking part in solidly proper now. He’s correct together with his quick irons and can relish per week by the coast.
He tied-third at Harbour Town two years in the past, and posted 4 regular rounds at Augusta ending inside the highest 25.
Course historical past
This much-loved public course was designed by Pete Dye, together with Jack Nicklaus, and opened 54 years in the past.
In 1969 it hosted its first PGA Tour occasion and has remained on the schedule ever since.
The Heritage is one in all 5 tournaments afforded invitational standing on Tour, together with these at Muirfield Village, Bay Hill, Colonial and Riviera.
Over the 5 a long time of its existence, the Heritage has compiled an honours’ board full of fantastic ball-strikers and cast-iron gamers.
Last 12 months’s occasion was staged in mid-June, nine-weeks later than initially deliberate, having been denied its regular mid-April slot attributable to lockdown.
* 29 programs staged a minimal of 4 PGA Tour occasions throughout this five-year interval (2016-20). Averages relate to those that accomplished 54 or extra holes in tournaments.
Course Comparisons (1.1.16 – 31.12.20)
Driving Accuracy (%)
73.88: Sea Island (RSM Classic) (1/29)
61.97: Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) (16/29)
52.24: Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance) (29/29)
Greens in Regulation (%)
75.98: Sedgefield (Wyndham) (1/29)
61.36: Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) (25/29)
58.99: Innisbrook (Valspar) (29/29)
1.664: PGA West (host) (American Express) (1/29)
1.718: Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) (3/29)
2.668: Augusta National (Masters) (29/29)
Key: Above stats are for all 29 programs which staged 4 or extra PGA Tour occasions between January 1st, 2016 and December thirty first, 2020. To qualify for a rating (between 1 & 29), tournaments will need to have a minimal of fifty gamers competing over the ultimate two rounds of the occasion. Averages don’t embody gamers who failed to finish not less than 54 holes.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
MC* – Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves