RBC HERITAGE: What was once a post-Masters comedown known for its relaxed vibes and middling field has turned into one of the most important tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule, as the RBC Heritage is now one of the Tour’s eight Signature Events featuring a limited field and an elevated purse.

That means a whopping $20 million will be spread out over the 69 contestants (it was 70 before Viktor Hovland’s late withdrawal) this week, and it also means no 36-hole cut and a guaranteed paycheck. Whether or not these new Signature Events have improved the product is a matter of considerable debate, and staging one the week after a Major does diminish the sizzle quite a bit. But, as we all know, this is the Tour’s attempt to plug the holes in the ship– it’s a way to keep major sponsor RBC happy while throwing some extra cash at the big names in an effort to prevent a further exodus to LIV.

The upshot is a major championship-quality field, as pretty much everyone who was at Augusta last week (minus the LIV guys) has made the 3-hour drive to Hilton Head Island. That includes Masters champion and undisputed World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who will be seeking his fourth victory in five starts and is the overwhelming favorite on the BETDAQ exchange, where he’s currently trading at around 6.2. Scheffler finished T11 here last year in his debut appearance, and his sublime ball-striking should make him very difficult to beat on a course like Harbour Town that requires tee-to-green precision.

Designed by Pete Dye in the late 1960s, Harbour Town Golf Links has played host to this event since its inception and has changed very little over the years, with its narrow fairways, overhanging trees, and tiny greens providing ample challenge for the best players in the world despite its relatively modest length– in an era of 7,800-yard courses, Harbour Town tips out at just 7,191 yards. To succeed this week players will need to be accurate off the tee and precise with the irons, and since the greens are usually quite firm and difficult to hold, a deft short game touch will come in handy, too. Scoring is typically a challenge, as the winning score usually hovers around the 10-12 under range, though Matt Fitzpatrick did reach 17-under last year and still needed to survive a playoff to get the job done. Fitzpatrick is back to defend and is currently trading at 34.0, placing him in the second tier of contenders this week alongside names like Shane Lowry (36.0), Cameron Young (37.0), and Max Homa (38.0).

Here are three names to consider:


Recommendations to BACK (odds in parenthesis)

Patrick Cantlay (19.0)- Cantlay’s game is all about tee-to-green precision, and though he hasn’t had the greatest start to the year statistically he has shown flashes of top form, finishing 4th at the Genesis three starts ago and nearly cracking the top-10 at the Masters last week before a final-round 76 left him in a tie for 22nd. He’s a perfect stylistic fit for Harbour Town and the results have borne this out: in his last six starts at this tournament he has a runner-up, three third-place finishes, and a T7 in 2018. He finished third last year and second in 2022, so it’s not like these results are from a decade ago. He simply plays well at Harbour Town whenever he tees it up there. A win this week would be just what the doctor ordered to jumpstart his season, and based on his play last week he certainly appears to be rounding into form. Among the group of favorites (non-Scottie Scheffler edition), Cantlay is my favorite bet.

Russell Henley (49.0)- This is basically a home game for Henley, who grew up a few hours away in Macon, Georgia and currently resides in nearby Kiawah Island. The 35-year-old is in the midst of his golfing prime and is off to a great start this season, logging three top-5 finishes in nine starts, the most recent being his T4 at the Texas Open two weeks ago. He finished T38 in Augusta last week, playing well with the exception of a 77 on a difficult Friday, and he feels like an excellent under-the-radar option at a place where he has a long history. Henley’s stats at Harbour Town have improved over the course of his career and he’s spent a considerable amount of time on the first page of the leaderboard in two of the past three years, going on to finish 9th in 2021 and T19 last year. He could be poised for a breakthrough, and he feels like one of the best values on the board at nearly 50/1.

Cam Davis (90.0)- I know this is a tremendously strong field and I guess there’s some post-Masters hangover built into this price, but this sure feels like a big number for Davis, whose 12th-place finish at the Masters last week was his third top-25 in his last four starts and who has an excellent record at Harbour Town. After finishing 25th on debut here in 2021, Davis finished 3rd in this tournament in 2022, closing with a Sunday 63, and 7th last year, breaking par in all four rounds. His confidence should be sky-high this week given his performance last week on the biggest stage in golf, and there are very few players in the field who can match his record at this event over the past three years. All things considered Davis feels like an absolute steal at a price like 90.0.

DAQMAN Mon: Yarmouth NAP
DAQSTATS Mon: Yarmouth NAP
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