Saturday, June 15, 2024

RSM Classic Golf – Event Overview


The final full-field event of the 2022 calendar year is the RSM Classic, an event that many players look forward to. This week’s venue is home to many players on the PGA Tour. On St Simon’s Island, the Plantation Course is just next door to the host venue, the Seaside Course. The 18-hole action is split between the two courses on Thursday and Friday, with the Seaside Course hosting the last 36 holes.

The Seaside Course is a hidden gem with firm, quick greens and the oldest TifEagle greens on tour.  It’s like a Scottish links course with ocean vistas near the Atlantic. The course flows through marshlands and lakes, with water or marshes in play on nearly every hole. A stop on the PGA Tour that all the players look forward to, especially those that get to stay in their own bed such as Harris English, Brian Harman, Patton Kizzire, Matt Kuchar, Keith Mitchell, and J T Poston to name just a few.

Plantation is more of a parkland course near the sea and it was recently refurbished by event host Davis Love III. The fairways are tree-lined and the course has a traditional parkland feel to it, with golfers referencing Harbour Town Golf Links as a reference point. However, because tidal rivers and lakes are present on nearly every hole, mistakes are costly.

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Plantation’s fairways are wide and this Par 72course is 7,060 yards long and so mega short by typical PGA Tour standards. With distance virtually having no advantage, players will club down more.The leaders will be determined by their ability to strike the ball and manage its trajectory and shot shapes, as well as their ability to hit fairways and greens and make more putts outside of 15 feet. If the wind isn’t too strong, this could turn into a putting contest. This could be another low-scoring PGA Tour event and it will be a dramatic turnaround from last week’s Houston Open.

Therefore let’s break down the key skill sets that will be required this week:

Event & Course Details

  • Course: Sea Island Resort (Seaside Course) & Plantation Course
  • Location: St. Simons Island, GA
  • Date: Nov. 17-20, 2022
  • Par: 70 / Yardage 7,005
  • Purse: $8.1 Million / Winner $1.4 Million
  • Fairways/Rough: Platinum Paspalum / Bermudagrass
  • Greens: Bermudagrass (TifEagle)
  • Past Winner: Talor Gooch

Key Skill Sets Required

SG T2G – This is a course that sees the same type of player contending year in year out. These are players that are accurate off the tee and consistent with their iron play. It often falls down to the best putter on the week and certainly so in recent times.

Driving Accuracy – The course this week is more tactical off the tee and it is not possible to overpower the golf course. Therefore playing to the right parts of the fairways will be key to success. Favouring players that show patience off the tee and who don’t solely rely on power could be the way to go.

GIR gained – When looking at the recent winners, it is apparent that GIR gained is a key metric. The majority of the winners in the past six years have been in the top 10 for GIR gained and we can potentially expect similar this week.

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Proximity to hole from 100-150 yards – Another low-scoring affair is possible and therefore it’s going to be imperative that players hit their short iron shots close to the pin giving themselves plenty of birdie opportunities inside 15 feet.

Par 4 Scoring 400-450 yards – The Sea Island course sees nine holes falling within this distance and therefore it is a category of importance. A total of 54 of the 72 holes are played at the Sea Island course, with 27 Holes being Par 4 from 400-450 yards.

SG Putting on Bermudagrass – When looking at the final leaderboards over the last few years it is apparent that players who putt the best rise to the top come Sunday. This is a course where only three or four shots can separate 20 players on the leaderboard at the end of the event. It’s the player that has the best putting stats that will often claim the title and that is highly likely again this week.

Best Outsiders

1. Brendon Todd 60/1

  • Fourth placed here in 2019.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for Par 4 scoring on holes of 400-450 yards in length.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for Proximity to the hole from 75-125 yards over the past 50 rounds.
  • Thrives in windy conditions, which can certainly happen here on the coastal course.
  • Gains strokes putting on the Bermudagrass that the players face this week.

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2. Chris Kirk 66/1

  • A winner here and two other top 10 finishes from 12 starts.
  • His form has dipped towards the back end of 2022, however, that is reflected in his odds.
  • There have been plenty of big-priced winners here in the past.
  • Ranks in the top 20 over the past 50 rounds for Par 4 scoring, scrambling and proximity to the hole from 100-150 yards.

3. Davis Thompson 80/1

  • Finished 23RD here on his first-ever PGA Tour start.
  • Knows the course well, having played for Georgia in the SEC Championship.
  • Carded a top 10 finish at the Fortinet Championship recently and also a 12th place finish at the Shriners Open.

Best Outright Picks

1. Brian Harman 20/1

  • Two top 10 finishes at the track previously.
  • Top 10 finishes in his last 9 starts worldwide.
  • His iron play has remained solid and he has gained strokes with his approach play in each of his last 6 events.
  • Gained strokes T2G vs the field in each of his last 6 events.
  • One of the best putters in this field and putts well on the bermudagrass he faces this week.

2. Matthew Nesmith 33/1

  • Carded 3 Top 20 finishes in a row heading into this week and this shows his game is firing.
  • Two Top 20 finishes from 3 starts at this event previously.
  • Ranked 6th for SG Approach play over the past 50 rounds.
  • Ranked 2nd for GIR Gained over the past 50 rounds.
  • Ranked 4TH for Proximity to the hole from 125-150yards, a key distance this week.
  • Lots to like from a player in real consistent form.

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3. Justin Rose 45/1

  • A player who arrives in good form with a Top 10 finish last week.
  • Finished 12th at this event last year on only his second start here.
  • Gained strokes across every key skill set here last year showing his liking for the layout.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for SG Approach play over the past 50 rounds on tour.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for SG Par 4 scoring on holes 400-450 yards over the past 50 rounds on tour.
  • Putts well on Bermudagrass greens.

4. JJ Spaun 45/1

  • A player who will relish the short technical layout on offer this week.
  • Finished 2nd here in 2017.
  • Ranked in the top 10 for GIR.
  • Gained over past 50 rounds on tour.
  • Ranked in the top 10 for SG Par 4 scoring on holes 400-450 yards in length.
  • Ranked in the top 10 for Proximity to the hole from 125-150 yards.
  • Putts at his best when faced with Bermudagrass greens.

Top 20 Picks

1. Matthew Nesmith 21/10

  • Key strengths listed above

2. Justin Rose 14/5

  • Key strengths listed above.