The final tournament of the PGA Tour fall campaign takes place this week when the RSM Classic is played out and that means there is one last chance for those yet to secure their playing privileges for next season to do so.
Adam Svensson took full advantage of the opportunity on offer in this tournament a year ago when he took down the title. The Canadian will be back to attempt to successfully defend the title but plenty of runners and riders will be out to take the crown from him.
2022 – Adam Svensson
2021 – Talor Gooch
2020 – Robert Streb
2019 – Tyler Duncan
2018 – Charles Howell III
2017 – Austin Cook
2016 – Mackenzie Hughes
2015 – Kevin Kisner
2014 – Robert Streb
2013 – Chris Kirk
There are two courses in use for this tournament. The Seaside Course and the Plantation Course are the two in use. Three of the four rounds take place on the Seaside Course with the other on the Plantation track. Neither course is especially long so if the wind isn’t blowing they can both be got after. The Seaside Course is a par 70 that measures 7,005 yards while the Plantation Course is a par 72 which goes up to 7,060 yards. It has four par fives on it so they have to be taken care of.
These are courses where accuracy matters more than length although in truth there is no great demand off the tee. The key comes in firing at flags and holing putts in what are generally low scoring tournaments. The wind is expected to play a part in the early part of the tournament so having players who can do well in the wind is a pre-requisite. There is no rough though so it may pay to go with form horses here.
With the DP World Tour having their season ending tournament on the other side of the world this week and the PGA Tour stars shutting down for the season this isn’t a brilliant field but given the potential rewards that are on offer for those who need it, it should certainly be a competitive one. The Ryder Cup winner Ludvig Aberg is probably the headline act in the field although that might be harsh on The Open champion Brian Harman.
There are one or two other notable names in the field. They include Russell Henley and Cameron Young while Corey Conners leads the international charge alongside the defending champion Adam Svensson. Other names who are easily recognisable in the field include Matt Kuchar, Billy Horschel Harris English, Chris Kirk and Justin Suh. Alex Noren is another teeing it up who will be looking to bounce back from missing out on the title last week.
Ludvig Aberg is undoubtedly a superstar in the making if he isn’t one already and he is the 12/1 favourite to win the tournament this week but the problem with backing him is length doesn’t really carry much weight this week and that would be the big thing which separates him from the others. That isn’t to say the rest of his game isn’t good enough to win this but I would probably want a bit of a better price or if I had to take him at this price it would be on a course where length is everything.
Russell Henley comes next in the market at 16/1 to win this tournament. That immediately feels a little on the skinny side even though he made the Tour Championship earlier in the year. Henley does have a decent enough record around here. He has three top 10 finishes without landing the title. At the price though you really need him to win the title if you want to make any decent cash and I’d prefer others in that regard.
Brian Harman became a major champion just four months ago so you could quickly argue that a 20/1 price in a much lesser event is extreme value. The caveat to that is that this will be the first time that The Open winner has teed it up since the Ryder Cup. He is a local lad which will help but with conditions likely to be testing early doors in this tournament and it likely to be low scoring later in the piece he’s a little short given the potential rust that he will have to shake off.
Cameron Young is still looking for a first PGA Tour title and he is 22/1 to break his duck this week. He will fancy his chances that it comes here given the good record he has in the wind but I’m not convinced this is a tough enough test from tee to green for that to be the case. The good thing with backing Young is he doesn’t miss many cuts so you are likely to get a full run for your dough but whether he can push on and win is another thing entirely.
Alex Noren had a decent spin in Bermuda last week and I think he can back that up and get the job done here. Conditions here and in Bermuda are the same in terms of the grass so that certainly isn’t a bad thing for a proper tilt for Noren here and he wouldn’t be the first player to narrowly miss out one week and then win the next. Noren is very comfortable in the wind which is going to be important in the early stages of this week and last week showed that he is hitting the ball well. I’ll pay to see if he goes one better than last week.
Whenever a tournament is played on short courses I’m always keen to be on the side of Matt Kuchar, particularly when the wind is going to play a factor as he is such a good player in the wind. Kuchar comes in here off the back of a good run of form with three top 20 finishes in his last four starts and that certainly bodes well. Kuchar is relatively local to here and will know both courses well. He should come into his own in the wind and I would be surprised if he isn’t a contender in this field this week.
I’ll stick to the local lads for my outsider bets with the first being the man who probably thought he had the Sanderson Farms Championship won earlier in the fall only to surrender a final round lead and then lose out in a monster playoff. That is Ben Griffin. He hasn’t gone great guns since then but there have been shoots of decent form, and signs that he can go well on home soil. Although he only finished T37 last week, he did card a second round of 63 and you don’t shoot those numbers if you are not hitting the ball well. Griffin will know these two courses well and off that I’ll pay to see what he has here.
Zach Johnson can concentrate on playing again after the sideshow of being the Ryder Cup captain and all the time that took away from doing what he does best which is actually swinging the club. He has been speaking positively about his game in the lead up to the tournament and the one thing we know is he is good in the wind and these courses aren’t too long for him, both of which bodes well. Johnson is a local lad who will know these courses so well and if his game is in the shape he says it is there is no reason why he can’t go well here.
Back A.Noren to win RSM Classic (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)
Back M.Kuchar to win RSM Classic (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 36.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)
Back Z.Johnson to win RSM Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 176.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)
Back them here:
Back B.Griffin to win RSM Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 61.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-8)