The spring run toward TPC Sawgrass and The Players begins this week on the PGA Tour with the RBC Heritage. With that in mind, here's our stats column.
Team RBC, Baby!
Veteran readers will remember this refrain: we don't usually mention sponsors here, but the RBC is stable is as big and prominent as any on Tour and it must be mentioned as they get a high amount of commitments from all their players. RBC-sponsored players playing at Hilton Head this week are: Jason Day, Graham DeLaet, Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, David Hearn, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, Ryan Palmer, Brandt Snedeker, Nick Taylor and Mike Weir.
We'll highlight two players: Kuchar and Snedeker. You already know about Day, hot until the Masters who will be happy to see the second nine of Augusta National Golf Club not in play this week. He last played here in 2013 when he finished T30. The one thing I'm concerned about with him is the tightness of Pete Dye's design, which could hurt him if his swing goes astray. He's 162nd in driving accuracy this year on the PGA Tour.
Kuchar and Snedeker are both former RBC Heritage champions and have shown better form lately. Kuchar is coming off a T24 at the Masters where he hit an above average (for the field) 63 percent of his greens and a way above average 82 percent of his fairways. Snedeker finished T10 and hit 60 percent of his greens and 68 percent of his fairways, both above the field average.
Jim Furyk, another RBC player who is the defending champion, is not playing this week as he continues to rehab from wrist surgery. In winning last year, he played to his strengths, ranking T7 in driving accuracy, T10 in greens in regulation and second in strokes gained-tee to green.
Here are the driving accuracy and greens in regulation players in the field this week:
Colt Knost - 73.24%
Jerry Kelly - 71.76%
Justin Leonard - 71.74%
Jason Bohn - 71.60%
Kevin Kisner - 71.10%
The pick here has to be Kisner, who lost in the playoff to Furyk last year, won in nearby Sea Island late last year and comes in, albeit not in spectacular form, with confidence that he can win on a venue similar to what he won on in fall.
P.S. It's really good to see Bohn back, as this is his first start on the PGA Tour since suffering the heart attack at Honda. He said Tuesday, though, that his game is rusty, so we don't recommend him this week.
Greens in Regulation
Lucas Glover - 73.28%
Russell Knox - 73.17%
Jason Bohn - 72.22%
Johnson Wagner - 72.22%
Greg Owen - 71.73%
No one here really stands out, though Knox is the most recent winner, capturing the HSBC Champions late last year.
Besides the aforementioned players, the field also includes Bryson DeChambeau in his professional debut, Paul Casey (who had a high finish last week), Jason Dufner, Tony Finau (who won recently in Puerto Rico), Matthew Fitzpatrick (who impressed last week), Bill Haas, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire, Danny Lee, local hero Davis Love III, Justin Thomas and Webb Simpson.
This week's forecast is breezy all week (which has a slightly muted impact at Harbour Town considering 15 of the holes are inland, away from the water and exposed areas) with showers on Thursday and Friday before turning sunny and into the low 70s on Saturday and Sunday.