Now that Magnolia Lane and the Azalea’s of Augusta National and the Masters are in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for the world’s best to move up the South East coast. This week, the PGA Tour tees it up at another iconic venue — the Harbor Town Golf Links for the RBC Heritage.
For many, the tradition of playing on Hilton Head Island the week after the Masters is almost as important and legendary as the Masters itself. Every year since Synchronicity topped the charts, the PGA Tour has followed Augusta National with Harbor Town — and it’s yielded some great champions.
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Payne Stewart, Davis Love III, Hale Irwin, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar have all added their names to the trophy and donned the tartan jacket.
That said, there have been plenty of players you’ve never heard of who’ve also put their arms into the sleeves of the ugly plaid jacket.
More than anything, Harbor Town Golf Links is a course for horses — Of the mentioned champions, most of them captured multiple titles at the RBC Heritage. In fact, ten players have won the event multiple times. The all-time leader? Davis Love III with five.
So — who has the opportunity to add their name to the illustrious list of RBC Heritage winners? And who could add their name to the list of multiple champions? Here’s a look at those poised for victory in South Carolina — and those who’ll be wishing they were anywhere but Harbor Town:
Charley Hoffman — I feel like I’ve been writing about Charley Hoffman every week for the last 14 months — but its for good reason. Hoffman had a career year in 2017 despite not finding the winner’s circle. This year, it’s been more of the same for Hoffman — great weeks sabotaged by one bad round. After another decent week in Augusta that would have found him donning a green jacket if the tournament were cancelled after 36 holes, Hoffman looks to claim victory at a track that’s been very good to him.
Webb Simpson — Any idea who currently sits 10th on Tour in strokes gained putting? It’s Webb Simpson. Yes, belly putter convert Webb Simpson. Having faded into relative unknown since winning the 2012 U.S. Open, Simpson has been showing more of those flashes of brilliance that made him a major champion. Now that his putting is finally rounding back into form, it’s time to take a serious look at Simpson again in most formats — starting this week at the RBC Heritage.
Adam Hadwin — One of the more consistent fantasy sleepers in 2018 has been Adam Hadwin. It’s been more than a year since he picked up his first career PGA Tour win, but Hadwin is finally trending in the right direction again. After a solid showing at the Masters last week, the Canadian talent looks to ride a hot flat stick to great week in South Carolina.
Luke Donald — Is Luke Donald teeing it up at Harbor Town? Yes? OK, then pick him. It’s that simple. The idea that Luke Donald hasn’t won here is absurd. In nine career starts at the RBC Heritage, the former world No. 1 is 9-9 with five — yes, FIVE — second place finishes and a third. If that doesn’t scream fantasy favorite then I don’t know what does. As I’ve said, Harbor Town is a course for horses — and Donald is thoroughbred.
Matt Kuchar — Despite a decent week at the Masters and a solid track record at Harbor Town Golf Links — including a win here in 2014 — I can’t back Matt Kuchar this time around. He’s been OK at best in 2018, playing more inconsistently than we’ve seen in years. Obviously, he’s still got the talent and the fire — but from a fantasy standpoint, there’s no point in wasting a roster spot on him this week.
Jason Dufner — I love Jason Dufner — just not this week. After struggling around Augusta National last week, Dufner looks a little lost as of late. Despite a decent track record in this event, like Kuchar, I can’t back Dufner. I love the guy and can’t wait for him to put it together again, but until he starts to show some more consistency, he’s going to be stashed away on the bench.
Wesley Bryan — Last year’s champion, Wesley Bryan, finds himself on a lot of short lists this week. As I’ve mentioned — almost incessantly — track record at Harbor Town seems to mean something. Even though Bryan won in his first trip, that doesn’t exactly suggest he’ll do it again. There’s still plenty to prove and plenty to figure out for the former trick shot artist-turned PGA Tour winner. Pass on the champ this week.