With the year’s first major, the Masters, out of the way, the PGA Tour heads to Hilton Head Island, S.C., for the RBC Heritage.
Not a lot of drivers will be hit this week at Harbour Town Golf Links, which places a premium on ballstriking, position off the tee and, of course, putting.
Harbour Town lost nearly 265 trees after Hurricane Matthew last fall, but new trees were replanted in some spots to maintain the identity of certain holes.
Here are my top 25 players for this week’s RBC Heritage:
1. Matt Kuchar: Strong finish at the Masters, where he was T-4. Now he comes to one of his favorite courses. He won here in 2014 and has gone fifth and T-9 the last two years. He has made 12 straight Heritage cuts, too. Great one-and-done pick this week.
2. Kevin Kisner: Runner-up here in 2015 and enters this year’s event with six top 25s in eight 2017 starts. T-45 at Masters.
3. Branden Grace: Game came around nicely at Masters, where he was T-27. Defending champ was T-7 here in 2015.
4. Charley Hoffman: Tied for the 36-hole lead at Masters before fading hard to T-22. He is playing well and has been good in Hilton Head – six straight made cuts with three top 15s.
5. Pat Perez: Starting with T-6 in 2011, he has been T-26 or better in four straight trips to Harbour Town. He enters this year’s event playing some of the best golf of his career. T-18 at Masters.
6. Luke Donald: Seven top 15s in last eight trips to Harbour Town include six top-3 finishes. T-27 or better three times in last five Tour starts.
7. Martin Kaymer: T-23 in last trip here, in 2014, and is form has been great – he proved it with a T-16 at Augusta National, a course where he’s struggled.
8. Russell Henley: Played his way into the Masters with a win in Houston and finished T-11 to earn his way back to Augusta next year. T-23 last year at Heritage and T-6 in 2013.
9. William McGirt: T-9 twice in the last three years here. And enters this year coming off a good performance at Augusta, where he was T-22 despite played weekend in 74-74.
10. Brandt Snedeker: Won this event in 2011, but hasn’t been great otherwise with no other top 15s in 11 career Heritage starts. Still, he’s a great putter and his current form is nice. T-27 at Masters.
11. Matthew Fitzpatrick: Tied for 23rd here as an amateur but missed the cut last year. Looked good at times in Augusta, but a second-round 78 took him out of contention.
12. Bill Haas: Not a great record here (just six made cuts in 12 starts with no top 10s), but he hasn’t missed a weekend on Tour this season and played 54 holes in Augusta solid before fading to a T-36 finish.
13. Adam Hadwin: T-30 here last year and is enjoying a stellar season. Followed victory at Valspar and sixth at Bay Hill with T-36 in Masters debut.
14. Russell Knox: Game fits this course so well and he’s shown that with finishes of T-9, T-18, T-2 the last three years. Struggling to find form at the moment, though, with four missed cuts in his last six Tour starts.
15. Kevin Na: Four top 10s in last eight Heritage starts, including three in last four. T-4 last year. Has missed last three stroke-play cuts on Tour.
16. Charles Howell III: Just four missed cuts in 11 career starts here but not top 10s. Still, he was T-23 last year and has eight top 15s this season.
17. Bryson DeChambeau: T-4 here last year and has turned his game around with three straight made cuts, including a T-2 in Puerto Rico.
18. Jason Dufner: Has made last eight cuts here and seven straight on Tour, including T-33 at Masters.
19. Tyrrell Hatton: Never played Harbour Town, but his game fits the course. (Remember how he played at Honda?) Didn’t play well in Masters debut but can’t discount his recent form before that (12 straight top 25s).
20. Marc Leishman: Not great record here but does have a T-9 (in 2013) and T-30 (in 2016). Played well at Augusta with the exception of a third-round 78. Current form and putting should give him a chance here.
21. Jim Furyk: Current form isn’t great but he’s a course horse at Harbour Town. He’s made 14 of 17 cuts, won it in 2010 and ’15, is the event’s all-time leading earner, and has six other top 10s.
22. Francesco Molinari: Little experience here – was T-45 last year in just his second Heritage start. Did make the cut and finish T-33 at the Masters.
23. Patrick Cantlay: Rising up the world rankings quickly thanks in large part to runner-up at Valspar. Won’t be long before he contends again.
24. Aaron Baddeley: T-9 last year was his fourth top 10 here. Won 2006 Heritage. T-15 in last start, in Houston.
25. Jason Kokrak: T-12, T-18 and T-6 (last year) in past three starts here.