RBC Heritage is Masters-Lite with Scheffler, Aberg, Schauffele, Homa and More

The RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island is just two and a half hours southeast of the Masters, and from the looks of things, many of those who were in contention there -- as well as those who wanted to be in contention -- are here. 
Matt Fitzpatrick - The Masters
Matt Fitzpatrick - The Masters / Andrew Redington/GettyImages

The RBC Heritage used to be a week to decompress after the tense golf at Augusta National. Davis Love was so relaxed after trying to win the Masters that he triumphed in the tournament five times. He’d park his boat in the harbor where the lighthouse is and had a very short walk to work.

But now RBC Heritage is a Signature Event so there’s a little more emphasis on great play instead of a week of chilling by the water or living on the boat, which is what Love used to do. And great play is what it’s going to take to conquer this Pete Dye jewel. Harbour Town Golf Links is not a pushover.

Those who are slated to tee it up this week include Masters and Players champ Scottie Scheffler, but that depends on whether his wife goes into labor. Those not in the childbirth predicament include Ludvig Aberg, Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Sahith Theegala, Akshay Bhatia and more.

British Open champ Brian Harman remembers the first time he played in the tournament. He was a teenager.  

“I can remember Steve Wilcot ( tournament director) called me. I was at home, obviously still living with my parents, I was 16,” he recalled. “I got the call, was super excited. I probably came over here and played 15 times after I found out.”

Harman is actually from nearby Savannah, but people in this area kind of feel that Savannah and Hilton Head are the same state of mind even if they aren’t in the same state. He expects plenty of guests this week which will include friends and family.

“This is one of my absolute favorite stops all year,” said British Open champ Brian Harman. “The state of South Course, I'm so happy that they have got such a good field. This is such a great event. They have always supported this event, even when it got a little dicey there, I don't know, seven, eight years ago. We were afraid we were going to lose this tournament.”

Harman thinks if Scottie Scheffler’s wife doesn’t go into labor, he has a great chance this week, too.   

“It feels like right now that if Scottie shows up with anything above a B game he's probably going to be right there,” Harman said. “He works extremely hard. I can remember at THE PLAYERS this year, he had just won Bay Hill the day before and Monday afternoon he's out just, I mean, golf ball after golf ball after golf ball, working, working, working. So, he's very dedicated to it.”

Matt Fitzpatrick returns to the RBC Heritage

Defending champ Matt Fitzpatrick, a past U.S. Open champ and defending champ at the RBC Heritage, said the difference between playing a course like Hilton Head versus playing Augusta National last week is every hole isn’t impossibly hard.

Most golf courses on the PGA Tour, he explained, have two or three or four holes that he calls “breather holes.” But Augusta National is not that way.

“The biggest thing is that every single hole you got to be switched on, you got to be thinking about where you're hitting it,” Fitzpatrick said. “That is what I learned from the very first time I went to Augusta is that you got to plot your way around, you can't short side yourself, you can't miss in the wrong spots.”

He believes having a no-cut tournament after an event like the Masters allows momentum from the Masters to keep flowing.

“You got four days, that's plenty of time to make up any ground on any scores,” he added.

Fitzpatrick’s family has been coming here since he was a youngster.

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“I think for me, I've just been looking forward to coming back and obviously sort of looking around it feels like it's the same every year for me, and that's what makes it such an exciting week,” he said. “We know what we're getting. As a family we love being here. I think that's what makes it so special.”

Signature Event, seaside location, beach weather.  What’s not to like about the RBC Heritage?