There is always a bit of a sense of after the Lord Mayor’s show about the golf tournaments that immediately follow the majors but the PGA Tour certainly has it right by scheduling the RBC Heritage after the Masters. There is nothing quite like Augusta National and this year’s finish was especially noteworthy but everybody likes Harbour Town Golf Links which offers something special in its own way.
At a yard or two over 7,100 yards Harbour Town cannot be considered a short course but it is certainly a much less daunting challenge in terms of distance than Augusta. Previous renewals of this event, which is this week being hosted for the 48th time, show that it is much more important to be accurate off the tee than to possess prodigious distance. It really comes alive though with the second shots where it is very important to hit the greens or to have an imaginative short game to keep bogeys off the card.
The number of multiple winners of the RBC Heritage demonstrates that experience is also vital. Players can do some incredible work with their caddies in terms of plotting a strategy before even visiting the course now but this is certainly a track that must be played many times to fully understand. 2015 champion Jim Furyk is not the first man in his 40s to display his knowledge of Harbour Town to overcome the challenge of much younger players.
Furyk’s win was incredibly popular as it marked the end of a punishing run in which he had failed to get over the line having held the lead but it was heart breaking for Kevin Kisner who missed out in the last year’s playoff. The 32-year-old is now one of the PGA Tour’s most consistent performers and he will relish the chance to get the job done this week. Kisner’s only PGA Tour win came at the RSM Classic which is held just around the corner from the RBC Heritage and the South Carolina native can win in his home state at 28/1 with Bet365.
Zach Johnson looks to have a readymade game to win this event but despite finishing runner up in 2012 he has not yet done enough to get over the line. As well as being able to find the greens with incredibly regularity, Johnson generally has excellent control of his ball flight. He’ll have to get over a poor display at Augusta but is worth adding to your bets at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.
Finally, it may be worth having a punt on Ian Poulter at 66/1 with Coral. You get the feeling that the Englishman knows that his career is starting to slip away from him and that he needs a really big win to get back on track. Having got off to a good start at the Masters his game faltered and he was forced to grind out the rest of his tournament. At his best he is a top class ball striker who can find the right part of the fairway off the tee and we all know what a great competitor he is so he could come up with a surprise win.