The peaceful, serene environment of the Masters and Augusta National is traded this week for the, well, peaceful and serene environment harboured at Harbour Town.
The men’s golf world moves east from Augusta, Georgia, for the Masters to the resort town of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for the RBC Heritage.
This event has been a staple on the PGA Tour schedule since 1969. For much of its run, it’s held down the post-Masters spot on the calendar.
Harbour Town Golf Links is the venue. The Pete Dye design measures 7,191 yards for a par 71.
Players who competed at Augusta National will adjust from seeing wide corridors off the tee that lead into large green complexes.
Harbour Town’s known for narrow fairways and small, postage stamp greens.
The greens are Bermuda overseeded with poa and generally run about average PGA Tour speed.
The RBC Heritage is one of the PGA Tour’s newly-deemed “designated events.”
The purse has increased to $20 million and all the big names are required to play, unless they choose this as their one designated event for the season they are permitted to skip.
Twenty-two of the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field. No. 21 Hideki Matsuyama is the highest-ranked PGA Tour player not in the field.
Hilton Head got a lot of the rain that came through Augusta last week. Not to mention, the early forecast shows chances of rain or storms starting Friday and later on Sunday.
Expect fairly soft conditions. While length is never a necessity to play well here, it can perhaps help a little more than normal this week.
Let’s get it into the power rankings to see who might be donning a tartan jacket come Sunday night at the RBC Heritage:
A lot of the heavyweights in this week’s field do not have a lot of course history at Harbour Town, so I’m not going to hold that against Max Homa too much.
Last week’s disappointing Masters result (T-43rd) aside, he’s been playing some of the best golf of his life lately and could very well get back to that this week.
The 32-year-old Californian already has two wins by the halfway point of the 2022-23 PGA Tour season. Homa got it done for the second straight year at the Fortinet Championship and added in a title at the Farmers Insurance Open.
He nearly got it done at the Genesis Invitational, taking solo second.
Homa still hasn’t missed a cut since last year’s Open Championship. The last time he MC’d on American soil was in January 2022. His streak of 15 ranks second on the PGA Tour only behind Xander Schauffele at 21.
Homa did well at Augusta last week to finish his second round strong to play the weekend.
This will be his second trip to Hilton Head Island. The first came in 2020 when he posted 67-69-69-68 (-11) to finish T-41st.
Homa would likely sign up for those same scores again as that year’s conditions in a one-off June tournament due to the pandemic were a lot easier and softer than what’s common in April.
Homa’s all-around game is flourishing more than in 2020. It’s why he’s contending week in and week out, as opposed to just popping up and winning like in recent years.
The Cal-Berkeley alum ranks third on the PGA Tour this season in total strokes gained per round (2.166). Anything over two strokes per round is quite incredible.
Homa is 53rd or better in every SG category, including fifth in approach (.942).