Just because the green jacket has been doled out doesn't mean the follow-up to the Masters is going to be a letdown.
The RBC Heritage is a designated event, which means a lot of the top golfers on the Tour are teeing it up this week, including the newest green jacket owner: Jon Rahm.
With that in mind, let's dig into the course, the key stats, the win simulations, and the best bets of the week.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Harbour Town Golf Links Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,191 (about 130 yards shorter than the average par 71)
Fairway Width: 32.3 yards (average; 38th of 80)
Average Green Size: 3,700 square feet (tiny; PGA average is ~6,000)
Green Type: Poa
Past 5 Winning Scores: -13, -19, -22, -12, -12
Past 5 Cut Lines: Even, -2, -4, Even, Even
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Around the Green, Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better Rate, Total Strokes Gained
There aren't many more drastic course setup changes from week to week than when we go from Augusta National to Harbour Town Golf Links. Augusta is super demanding off the tee and generally benefits distance with the driver.
Harbour Town downplays distance a ton and actually sees a bump in the importance of accuracy, via datagolf's course fit tool. In fact, it's the third-hardest course on Tour to gain strokes off the tee due to the setup, and the average driving distance is the third-shortest, as well.
Basically, we're looking at strokes gained: approach through putting for the week, which does not specifically harm the best drivers. It just keeps more options in play overall.
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
The best strokes gained averages among golfers who have played at least twice here over the past five years (a "-" indicates a did-not-play situation):
|Erik van Rooyen||$8,200||1.82||T10||-||T21||-||-|
Past winners in the field include Jordan Spieth (2022), Stewart Cink (2000, 2004, 2021), Webb Simpson (2020), C.T. Pan (2019), Satoshi Kodaira (2018), Wesley Bryan (2017), Jim Furyk (2010, 2015), Matt Kuchar (2014), Brian Gay (2009), and...Davis Love (1987, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2003).
Win Simulations for the RBC Heritage
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the RBC Heritage
The +850 number on Jon Rahm is tempting, mathematically, yet going back-to-back after winning the green jacket is a pretty tall task and something that my model isn't built to account for.
The better betting values at the top of the board are Xander Schauffele (+2600) and Tony Finau (+2900), two names my model tends to like a lot. Max Homa (+3100) is another name with some value attached to his name in the model.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the RBC Heritage
All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Scottie Scheffler (FanDuel Salary: $12,100 | Golf betting odds: +800) - The model isn't much lower on Scheffler than it is on Rahm, and Scheffler isn't dealing with a post-Masters win recovery week. Despite not being a factor on the leaderboard, Scheffler ended up trailing only Rahm in strokes gained: tee to green at Augusta. He just ranked 50th among 53 golfers who made the cut in strokes gained: putting. Scheffler has not played Harbour Town but is sixth in the field in strokes gained: approach through putting.
Xander Schauffele ($10,900 | +2600) - One of the quietest T10s of the week last week belonged to Schauffele, who finished fifth in the field in approach and eighth around the green. The form at Harbour Town isn't great (three made cuts but no top-30s), and that should do enough to keep Schauffele off of the top of lists this week. The lone knock on his recent form is an inconsistent driver, which isn't vital this week. It could be a breakthrough situation for Xander.
Tom Kim ($9,900 | +4100) - Although the luster is wearing off of Tom Kim, the reality is that he already has two PGA Tour wins and is golfing pretty well overall. He was T16 at The Masters in his debut. He'll make a debut at Harbour Town, as well. But what Kim does better than most is gaining fairways on the field, and he really had the irons clicking at Augusta last week. It's a great setup for him, and we should be able to get him at a lower roster rate than he deserves.
Russell Henley ($9,400 | +4500) - I don't want to chase last week's results, but I don't think that's the case with finding the appeal in Russell Henley. Henley is the second-most likely golfer to win, via my model, in the $9,000 range. He's super accurate off the tee (1st in accuracy) and has a great tee-to-green game (18th) for the salary. The putter is never a safe bet, yet the ball-striking is so good at its peak that he's a really strong pick in the mid-range.
Tom Hoge ($9,000 | +9500) - Hoge is a pretty accurate driver (27th), which should get him into good positions to hit his irons well (he's 2nd in the field there). Hoge is outside the top 100 in around-the-green play for the field but is a top-40 putter. One potential drawback is that he has not putted particularly well at Harbour Town in the past. His missed cut at Augusta came from bad putting, too. But that's just simply dropped his salary into the value tier, and he's too good of a ball-striker to ignore at $9,000.
Sam Ryder ($8,600 | +12000) - Ryder is almost always interesting as a value play because of his profile. He's got great irons (34th) for the salary as well as a strong putter (3rd). He struggles off the tee (114th) and around the green (93rd), which can definitely hold him back. But the two areas in which you can gain the most strokes are irons and putter, so he has high-end potential. When we downplay the driver, it's pretty easy to see why he has a path to a strong finish. We last saw Ryder finish T3 at the Valero Texas Open, thanks to ranking 4th in approach and 3rd in putting. He also has five top-20s in 2023 alone. That has not translated to great success at Harbour Town: cut, T41, cut. However, he's in a lot better form now than he was then.