After Jordan Spieth’s wonderful display at the Masters, it is time for the PGA Tour to get going again. Spieth heads the RBC Heritage field that will swap the wide fairways and long holes of Augusta for the Harbour Town Golf Links, one of the tightest but shortest courses on the tour this year.
Harbour Town was one of the first courses that employed Jack Nicklaus as a design consultant. Along with Pete Dye, the Golden Bear’s task was to bring a little bit of Scotland links to South Carolina. They did that by devising a series of tough driving holes, creating small greens that are easy to miss and lining the narrow fairways with trees. When picking players to bet on this week, you can forget driving distance and instead focus on accuracy and approach play.
The first player to look at for glory in the RBC Heritage is Jim Furyk. The experienced American has been playing tournament golf at Harbour Town for almost 20 years, racking up one win and five top 10 finishes. His only top 10 so far this season came at Pebble Beach, another links course that requires patience and positioning. It’s been too long since Furyk won on tour. He needs to get that monkey off his back this season in order for people to stop wondering whether his best golf is now in the past. Coral are offering 25/1 that Furyk will recapture some good form and win this week, which is worth taking at each-way terms.
The second player to consider this week is a certain 21-year-old Texan who’s just added a natty new jacket to his wardrobe. Jordan Spieth has risen to number two in the world ranking but on current form not even Rory McIlroy can live with him. On paper, this is not a course that suits him too well but you could say the same thing about most of the tracks he’s played around over the last month. He has two wins, one second-place and a play-off defeat to his name in his last four starts and also won at the Northern Trust Open in February. Spieth’s success means his prices will be very short with the bookies for the foreseeable future (he’s 13/2 with Coral who are top-priced on him) but playing as he is, it’s tough to leave him out of your options.
Zach Johnson’s form may be someway short of Spieth’s but he will be quietly happy with the way his season is going. He’s missed a couple of cuts but has gone ninth, 20th, ninth in his last three starts. For a player who plots his way around the course with fairly defensive golf it’s a surprise that his record at Harbour Town is not better. He couldn’t get going last year and finished the week without recording a round in the 60s. This time he’s coming of a solid top 10 finish at Augusta and has been talking positively about his game. Coral are offering the best value on Johnson with their 20/1 and five places each-way looking very tempting.