Golf Rankings for RBC Heritage
Harbour Town is a narrow, seaside course where accuracy is key and winds will wreak havoc on the players. These greens are tiny, the fairways are narrow, and trees in front of greens block approach shots that are not coming from the correct angle. It's a typical strategist's track, with recent winners including Wesley Bryan, Branden Grace, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Carl Pettersson, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell, and Boo Weekley. No bombers in that group. Typically, the greens here are fast and firm, which creates a lot of missed greens and emphasizes scrambling ability. I'm also going to factor in course history a little more this week, because there are 5 players who have won this event multiple times. It's a track where you have to miss in the right places, be comfortable with your sight lines, and stick to detailed plan of attack.
Driving accuracy may be the one accuracy stat to ignore, because this is a less-than-driver course most of the way around. Players will be hitting a ton of fairways with irons and hybrids, so don't emphasize that as much. In terms of strokes gained statistics, strokes gained approach and strokes gained around the green are the two I will weigh heaviest this week. I will also be looking at certain trends, such as players who gain strokes in the wind, on Bermuda greens, and on short courses. Looking at the Florida, Georgia, and Carolina residents who perform well on Bermuda greens, you'll see names like Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Harris English, Bill Haas, Lucas Glover, and Ben Martin. The other connection that I'll mention is that Harbour Town is a Pete Dye design. His unique course style caters towards a certain type of player, and many of these players are in the field this week: Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Bill Haas, Russell Knox, Marc Leishman, and Ben Martin.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): Ball-striking, especially with irons, is going to be a major key for players this week. The greens at Harbour Town are some of the smallest on Tour, so controlling iron shots into the greens will be extremely important. If players hit their irons shots off-line, they'll be challenged around the greens and in the bunkers. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained approach are Blayne Barber, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Ian Poulter, Marc Leishman, Bryson DeChambeau, and Adam Hadwin.
Strokes Gained Around-the-Green (SG:ARG): Because the greens are so small at Harbour Town, I'm adding extra emphasis on the short game. I want elite scramblers who can save pars when they miss approach shots. The best around-the-green players in recent weeks are Paul Casey, Derek Fathauer, Adam Hadwin, Chris Stroud, Michael Kim, and Ollie Schniederjans.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are really not many weeks where we aren't going to target birdie or better percentage, because that's what fantasy golf scoring is all about. This event should lend itself to plenty of birdies, with some short par-4s and reachable par-5s. The best players in this field in recent birdie or better percentage are Grayson Murray, Kevin Na, Brice Garnett, Robert Garrigus, Dustin Johnson, Harris English, and Bryson DeChambeau.
Par-5 Scoring (P4): Harbour Town is a par-71, meaning players won't see the usual four par-5s. That, plus the narrow tree-lined fairways will add extra emphasis on accuracy, not distance. Par-4 scoring is what will separate players this week, so I'll have a heavy weight on strokes gained on par-4s. Some of the best par-4 scorers in this field are Michael Thompson, Marc Leishman, Charles Howell, Sean O'Hair, Chad Campbell, Emiliano Grillo, and Ryan Palmer.
Dustin Johnson - World Ranking: #1
Matt Kuchar - World Ranking: #15
Paul Casey - World Ranking: #16
Webb Simpson - World Ranking: #62
Adam Hadwin - World Ranking: #53
Marc Leishman - World Ranking: #37
Cameron Smith - World Ranking: #142
Emiliano Grillo - World Ranking: #42
Kevin Kisner - World Ranking: #22
Brian Harman - World Ranking: #27
Luke List - World Ranking: #128
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