PGA Tour: 2019 RBC Heritage Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

Tiger Woods’ epic achievement at Augusta can have a dual effect. On one hand, it unquestionably raises the profile of the game and generates inordinate interest in the tour. 

On the other, it makes events that don’t feature him seem slightly hollow in comparison. Nonetheless, this event is often praised by players as one of the most enjoyable destinations on tour. Perhaps it also offers a psychological reprieve from the pressure-cooker atmosphere that was Augusta.

The late, great Arnold Palmer won the inaugural staging of this event back in 1969, and Hilton Head has played host to every renewal of the RBC Heritage. It will be interesting to see how various players are able to elevate themselves following the emotionally draining week in Georgia. 

Hilton Head was designed by Pete Dye with the assistance of Jack Nicklaus. It is a breezy seaside links course that is extremely exposed. Weather is predicted to be volatile in the early part of the event, so one should factor in players who are able to cope with the elements. The fairways aren’t overly narrow but are absolutely critical to find. This is due to the extremely small and tricky Bermuda greens. This course falls into the tight tricky bracket and as such driving distance is largely irrelevant. Players will need to find fairways and hit plenty of greens.

Having reclaimed his World Number One spot, Masters Runner-up Dustin Johnson is the clear bookies favourite this week. He is sponsored by RBC and perhaps wouldn’t be contesting this week otherwise. But his presence certainly does add some firepower to quite a decent field post-Masters. Francisco Molinari will be looking to bounce back following a painful Sunday meltdown at Augusta while Bryson Dechambeau and Xander Schauffele were in contention at various moments. It may be useful to look at previous champions such as Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell, as there have been no fewer than ten multiple winners of this event in the past: Davis Love III won this event a remarkable five times.

PGA Tour | 2019 RBC Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina | 18-21 April 2019

Past Winners
2018: Satoshi Kodaira (-12)
2017: Wesley Bryan (-13)
2016: Branden Grace (-9)
2015: Jim Furyk (-18)*playoff
2014: Matt Kuchar (-11)

Betting Favourites (To Win)
Dustin Johnson (17/2)
Francisco Molinari (14/1)
Xander Schauffele (18/1)
Bryson Dechambeau (20/1)
Patrick Cantlay (20/1)

Value Bets

Kevin Kisner - To Win (30/1), To Place (13/2)
Kevin Kisner has just got to be a choice with this type of layout in mind. He is deadly accurate off the tee and actually over-performed at Augusta last week. His tie for 21st was admirable considering that the course was really too long for him.  He has terrific form around Hilton Head, finishing 3rd here in 2015. He then went T11 in 2017 prior to a T7 last year. Kisner also displayed his ability to follow the ‘horses for courses’ approach recently with that magnificent win in Austin. He won the WGC Match-Play after finishing runner-up last year.

Russell Knox - To Win (55/1), To Place (12/1)
Scottish professional Russell Knox has been the poster child of consistency thus far this season. He has made the cut in his last eleven events, which includes five top 25 finishes. As a Scot, he is well versed in taming courses with the challenging wind. He has utilized that links experience to great effect around this golf course in the past. Though he struggled slightly last year, Knox’s form around otherwise has been impressive. He was runner-up in 2016 and has finished in the top 20 in his other three starts. Knox is a player who needs to exploit these smaller courses and I believe he should thrive in the post-Augusta milieu.

The Man to Beat

Patrick Cantlay - To Win (20/1), To Place (44/10)

Patrick Cantlay surged out of nowhere to hold the lead during the final round of Augusta. He actually outscored Tiger Woods by five shots over the course of the weekend. But to be honest, Cantlay wasn’t a player earmarked for success in Georgia so he may be able to shake off the disappointment more easily. He is just perfectly suited to this golf course. He is accurate and hits a lot of greens. He has finished here in a tie for 3rd before while his last two visits saw him register finishes of 11th and T7. Cantlay is fast emerging as a perennial contender and he should pose a real challenge this week.

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets. 

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