RBC Heritage PGA Preview and Picks
RBC HERITAGE PGA PREVIEW AND PICKS – Whew, one week after The Masters, and we’re back at it again.
Harbour Town Golf Links is playing host to the strongest field in tournament history, as this week is one of the Tour’s designated events for the season. Almost all of the big dogs (except Rory and Jason Day) are teeing it up this week. If history tells us anything about designated events, it means that Rahm or Scottie will probably win.
That being said, we’re going to try and find some winners that may be a little less obvious as contenders.
The full course breakdown can be found here, but the quick and dirty version is this: short, narrow fairways, tiny greens. This course tends to heavily favor strong iron players and strong short games. Guys who fit that mold tend to be the ones who pop up and win. Let’s get into the specifics.
THE DRIVER (Scottie, Rahm, Cantlay, Collin)
These are guys we’re looking at if you only like betting studs at the top of the leaderboard. We usually take a look at the top three or four guys on the odds board and choose the one we like the most.
Patrick Cantlay (+1400) – We expanded the list to four this week to include everyone listed at under +2000. Of this list, the arguments are pretty obvious for Scottie as he gained a ton of strokes from tee-to-green last week and was unusually terrible with the putter. If the putter gets squared away, he’s going to be a factor. Period.
We were unanimous in liking Patrick Cantlay this week, though.His record here is ridiculous and there aren’t any glaring weaknesses right now. In five tries at Harbour Town, he’s had four top-10s, including a playoff loss to Jordan Spieth last year.
The man hasn’t won this season while all of his peers are having spectacular results, and he had to fend off the media frenzy over slow play at Augusta in the final round last week. The game is there. We aren’t big narrative dudes, but wouldn’t it just be typical for him to pop up and win one here after all this drama?
THE IRONS (Spieth, Justin Thomas, Sungjae Im)
These are solid, reliable guys in the mid-range tier (think 30/1-80/1ish). They are reliable and you can count on a handful of guys in that range to be sniffing around in contention. These are who we have our eyes on this week. Some of them we didn’t mention, but should have on the show. Here’s who we like.
Sungjae Im (+2500) – This just feels like a course that is perfect for him. He’s long enough, but not overly so at about exactly average on Tour. He thrives with his accurate driving, irons, and short game. He’s had a couple of good results here, finishing in the top-25 in his previous two tries.
He went -5 over the weekend at Augusta, so I think the game is still there. The man plays every week, and it feels like we’re on him every week. Here we go again.
THE WEDGE (Sahith Theegala, Shane Lowry)
This is a guy that we are always finding a reason to bet on, but they never win. These guys likely won’t either, but here’s to hoping.
Sahith Theegala (+6000) – Sahith defies most of our traditional handicapping because his play doesn’t always shine through in the stats. What we know about him is that he’s not terribly accurate off the tee, and he’s a magician around the greens. Go back and look at his ridiculous chip-in on 16 in the final round last week, if you need a reminder of his around-the-green brilliance.
He fits the mold as the type of guy who should benefit from leaving the driver in the bag a little bit more, while letting his irons and short game carry the load.
Some day soon, Sahith will win. And by god, we will be there for it.
THE PUTTER (Tom Hoge, Tom Kim)
These are guys who we bet on and then instantly regretted.
Tom Kim (+3500) – I’m not really sure if I regret betting on Tom Kim, but for some reason I don’t love it. It feels a little bit too obvious, somehow.
He’s a guy who consistently pops up on the shorter courses that favor precise irons, but now it feels like the cat is out of the bag.
Yes, he’s incredibly accurate off the tee and is a great iron player. The short game is solid and the putting is relatively reliable. Putting isn’t a super important stat this week, anyways, because the greens are so small that even bad putters can do well here.
We could have gone with Hoge, the best iron player on Tour, who still manages to miss about 30% of his cuts due to the short game, but you can catch Jack’s feverish rant on the Clubhouse Picks podcast for that.
HYBRID (J.T. Poston, Gary Woodland)
These are our wild card guys who could pop up and make us rich. They could also be out of the tournament by noon on Thursday. We’re just throwing darts here and hoping for something good at long odds.
J.T. Poston (+6500) – His odds are plummeting throughout the week as people seem to be catching on to him, just like with Tom Kim. I cannot quit J.T. on these shorter courses though, so we’ll keep riding with him.
It’s clear he enjoys this tournament with three top-10s in four starts, with the one outlier being a missed cut two years ago.
The results have been good, finishing T-10 at the Valspar, then he advanced out of group play in the Match Play and took Scottie to the limit before being knocked out.
He made the cut but was never seriously in it at The Masters, but that’s not necessarily the course I’d love him at.
He’s always someone I gravitate to in events where short game matters. I’ll take a strong iron player who also happens to be an elite putter to find a little something this week.