RBC Heritage Betting Preview
With the first major of the year in the books, another jacket will be given out this week, as the PGA Tour heads to historic Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage where the winner will receive an ugly plaid jacket to go along with more than $1 million in tournament earnings.
2013 RBC Heritage Fact Sheet
- Course: Harbour Town Golf Links
- Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Yardage: 7,101 yards, par 71
- Defending Champion: Carl Pettersson
- Five Consensus Favourites: Brandt Snedeker, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Jason Day
- Thursday – 3:00 to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday – 3:00 to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday – 1:00 to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
- Sunday – 1:00 to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
Harbour Town Golf Links
The Heritage was first played at Harbour Town in 1969, with the course being completed by legendary designers Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus earlier in the year. The course plays shorter than most on the PGA Tour, but it offers different challenges and usually attracts a very strong field, which is best reflected in its list of past champions. Names like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Davis Love, Greg Norman, Payne Stewart and Nick Price have all won at Harbour Town, lending to the credibility of the course and event. Harbour Town is typically ranked in the top-five courses on the PGA Tour by both the players and media, and is also open to the public for recreational play.
Harbour Town has some of the smallest greens in the world, averaging about 3,700 square feet throughout the course, nearly half the size of the average green size on the PGA Tour. In addition to the small greens, Harbour Town features incredibly narrow fairways, with water and sand carefully placed throughout by Dye, as well as the famous lighthouse that sits behind the 18th green. A few years ago, EA Sports had Tiger Woods preview the three key holes on the course for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, and really, there probably isn’t a better person to listen to about the course, so check it out:
The only other hole I’ll mention is the short par-4 9th. At 332 yards, it’s drivable for the real big hitters who want to take a chance, but most players will likely lay up to avoid the bunkers in front and behind the green. If they find the fairway, it should be a birdie hole and could be more if they try to take the green on from the tee.
Key Storyline This Week
Much like Augusta National, there is very rarely a bad winner crowned at Harbour Town. The above list of past champions speaks for itself, but the other thing that you find when you dig a little deeper is that the putter is even more key than most weeks on the PGA Tour. Three of the top four lowest total putting performances in PGA Tour history have happened on this course, with David Frost currently holding the all-time record needing only 94 total putts to finish the 2005 event. Recent winners like Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, Brian Gay and Aaron Baddeley are all known as good putters, and the likelihood of that trend continuing is very high.
The other trend to keep an eye on is the oddly high amount of repeat winners at the event. Nine players have won the event at least twice, with Boo Weekley being the last to accomplish the feat back in 2008. Five-time champion Davis Love III will miss the event for the second year in a row as he is still recovering from the spinal fusion surgery he had back in February.
Luke Donald (Best Odds 16-1 at bet365)
It’s been a weird season to date for Donald, with only one top-10 finish in six events and his first missed cut in a non-major since the 2011 Northern Trust Open when he didn’t play in Malaysia at the end of March. Still though, he’s too good of a player to get at this kind of price and his game suits the type of player that wins at Harbour Town. In seven years at this event, he’s got a T2, T3 and a solo second, all from 2009-2011.
Graeme McDowell (Best Odds 42-1 at BETDAQ)
McDowell’s been more consistent than Donald to start the year, and his game suits the place as well with how straight he drives the ball. Don’t be discouraged by the missed cut last week at the Masters, as Augusta National tends to frustrate even in the most ideal of conditions, which last week definitely wasn’t. He last played here in 2011 where back-to-back rounds of 74 on the weekend gave him no chance to contend, but I think he comes through with a good performance this week.
Zach Johnson (Best Odds 46-1 at BETDAQ)
Johnson usually doesn’t miss three cuts in an entire year, but he’s already got three coming into this week, but his last two tournaments show signs of him breaking out of his funk. Four rounds in his last two events on tough tracks like Augusta National and Bay Hill make me think things are starting to turn, and if he’s playing well, his lack of distance is minimized by his tremendous short game and putting. Two top-10’s in his career at Harbour Town including last year’s solo second.
Aaron Baddeley (Best Odds 50-1 at bwin)
When he was healthy, Baddeley was a virtual lock for a good finish at Harbour Town, never finishing outside of the top-25 from 2006 to 2011, including his first PGA Tour win in 2006 and a runner-up finish in 2008. What got him to those finishes was arguably the best putter on the PGA Tour, and now he appears to be healthy again for the first time in over a year, as he currently sits fourth in strokes gained putting on the year.
Stewart Cink (Best Odds 55-1 at BetVictor)
Cink’s another former champion at Harbour Town, winning the event in 2000 and 2004. His 25th place finish last week at the Masters gave him his fourth top-25 of the year, equaling his entire output from last year. Much like Baddeley, when his game has been in order, he’s always contended here. He’s on a run of good form, and another decent finish seems likely.
Brian Davis (Best Odds 70-1 at 888 Sport)
Harbour Town is the site of Davis’ most infamous moment. He famously called a penalty on himself in the 2010 Heritage while on the first playoff hole against Jim Furyk when he struck a loose impediment in a hazard. It’s become what Davis is known for since he’s never won on the PGA Tour, but he’s a consistent performer here, finishing inside the top-25 in each of the last three years. He hits a lot of fairways and usually putts well, so he seems like good value at 70-1 considering his prior record at Harbour Town.