The PGA Tour returned to action last week at Colonial, where Daniel Berger lifted the first winner’s trophy in over three months. Now the Tour heads to Harbour Town Golf Links for the 2020 RBC Heritage. Here’s everything you need to know about the tournament, including tee times for the first and second rounds.
RBC Heritage preview
As was the case last week, the RBC Heritage features a star-studded field that includes all of the Top 5 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. The man at the top of that ranking, Rory McIlroy, is also the betting favorite at the Heritage. Rory’s game looked sharp at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, that is until Sunday, when he shot a 74 to finish T32.
One big player in the Heritage field that’s nowhere near the Top 5 at the moment is Jordan Spieth (No. 55). Spieth has the resume that reads like a World No. 1, including three major titles. But he’s struggled in recent years and hasn’t captured a victory since the 2017 Open Championship (his third major). But Spieth looked like his old self at Colonial, where he finished T10, just four shots short of Berger, which is a good sign for his chances at Harbour Town.
Fan favorites and contenders from last week like Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Xander Schuaffele, Harold Varner III and Justin Rose will also be vying for the RBC Heritage title. And don’t forget about defending champion C.T. Pan, who will be grouped with McIlroy and Rickie Fowler for the first two rounds.
On the heels of the PGA Tour’s successful return to play with last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, the best golfers in the world are in Hilton Head, South Carolina, for the RBC Heritage.
Daniel Berger, who was a pre-tournament long shot at +6000 to win outright, set the tone with his impressive performance in an unlikely playoff victory Sunday at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Traditionally, the field for this event hasn’t been overly strong, which is in large part because it’s been held immediately following the Masters on the PGA Tour calendar.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic created a unique situation that will ensure the top-five golfers in the world will be teeing it up for a second straight week as part of a revised schedule.
This is a golf course where ball striking is at a premium with tight tree-lined fairways often taking the driver out of the bomber’s hands.
Precision is paramount at Harbour Town, which features the second smallest greens on tour.
The list of recent past champions like Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Branden Grace, Graeme McDowell and five-time winner Davis Love III indicates an emphasis on accuracy over distance.
Here is our first look at the field for the RBC Heritage.
Odds To Win RBC Heritage
Rory McIlroy +1200
Bryson DeChambeau +1400
Justin Thomas +1400
Jon Rahm +1400
Xander Schauffele +2200
Collin Morikawa +2500
Hideki Matsuyama +2500
Justin Rose +2800
Patrick Reed +2800
Webb Simpson +2800
McIlroy Favourite Again Despite Sunday Struggle
Things didn’t go the way Rory McIlroy expected at Colonial on Sunday.
After delivering a 68-63-69 to enter the final round just three shots back of the lead, it all fell apart for the World No. 1.
McIlroy struggled through an uncharacteristic 4-over, 74 on Sunday that ultimately led to him finishing tied for 32nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
The collapse ended his streak of seven straight top-five finishes.
That could be a good thing if you think he has the potential to bounce back at Hilton Head.
After all, McIlroy is still the consensus favourite to win the RBC Heritage.
Only this time around, he’s listed at +1200 to win outright. He was +750 as the favourite to win the Charles Schwab Challenge.
However, there is reason for caution for those interested in backing the Ulsterman this week.
McIlroy was a pedestrian 58th in putting and 36th in approaching the green last week at Colonial, which won’t inspire confidence heading into a tight track like Harbour Town.
Plus, McIlroy also hasn’t played this event since his debut here back in 2009, when he finished tied for 58th.
With such a stacked field in place for the second week in a row, combined with McIlroy’s lack of experience on this course and how things fell apart for him on Sunday, you would be better off looking elsewhere for the RBC Heritage.
RBC Heritage Last Five Winners
2019: C.T. Pan
2018: Satoshi Kodaira
2017: Wesley Bryan
2016: Branden Grace
2015: Jim Furyk
DeChambeau contends for win, potentially comes out on top
David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Bryson DeChambeau picked up right where he left off prior to the three-month hiatus.
The 26-year-old shot a 65 in each of the first two rounds last weekend and ended the tournament with a 66 to finish tied with third. And had it not been for a 70 in the third round, he could have come away with his first victory of the season.
Although DeChambeau has yet to win in the 2019-20 campaign, he’s been playing consistently well, as last weekend’s finish marked his fourth straight top-five showing. But he’s still seeking his first victory since the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November 2018.
The Californian should have a chance to end that drought this weekend, after some strong showings at Harbour Town Golf Links in the past. He finished third at the Heritage in 2018 and fourth in 2016. However, he also missed the cut in 2017 and 2019.
Expect DeChambeau to bounce back from last year’s rough showing, though, as he showcased a lot more power to his driving last weekend. That’s because he added 20 pounds of muscle during quarantine, as he told Rex Hoggard of GolfChannel.com, which adds another strength to his game.
McIlroy bounces back with strong showing
McIlroy had one of the best rounds of any golfer at the Charles Schwab Challenge when he shot a 63 last Friday.
Along with decent showings in the first and third rounds, the world No. 1 was three shots off the lead at 10 under par entering the final day of the tournament.
However, things fell apart for McIlroy on Sunday, when he shot a 74 in a round that included five bogeys and a double bogey. He ended up tied for 32nd, even after notching birdies on two of the last three holes.
“I just got into a rut and played a bad run of holes, and obviously that put me out of the tournament,” the 31-year-old said, according to Hoggard.
McIlroy should get things back on track this weekend in his first appearance at Harbour Town Golf Links since 2009. In that showing, he finished tied for 59th, but that came more than a year before his first PGA Tour victory.