GOLF GURU Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) shares his expert opinion on this week’s event from South Carolina.
RBC Heritage | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports
There is always a slight feeling about the tournament after The Masters (or any Major) being a little bit like the third-place play-off at the World Cup. Nobody really wants to be there, hardly anyone wants to watch and the result is kind of irrelevant.
Luckily for golf fans, Harbour Town Golf Links is one of those courses with real character and usually produces some excitement, courtesy of the tiny greens and unpredictable coastal winds.
2015 saw Kevin Kisner and Jim Furyk finish on -18 before Furyk won a sudden death play-off. The champion won’t be defending as he continues his recovery from a wrist injury.
South Carolina more often than not has courses that are short in length but tree-lined with narrow fairways and tiny greens. If we are on a Pete Dye design, as here, then those greens are inevitably small, difficult to hit and over seeded Bermudagrass. A type of putting surface that many players have trouble with.
This 7,100 yard par-71 suits accurate drivers and, if anything, works against the bombers. 20-yards off the fairway here and you are not just tackling the rough but will usually be blocked by trees and chipping back into position.
Those players who rank high in Greens in Regulation will do really well at Harbour Town. The driving average in 2015 was just 264.3 yards – smoking it 320 yards off the tee will work against you on this track.
That is the main reason I have zero interest in the favourite Jason Day at odds of 6/1 (Bet365). The Aussie is the best golfer in the world at this moment and could win by 10 but I’m not having a guy who hasn’t thrived on short technical courses at that kind of price.
Brandt Snedeker (20/1 Boylesports) will do for me this week; I thought he played beautifully for 10th-place at Augusta. He has a win under his belt here, triumphing in 2011.
Brandt’s form on Bermudagrass is a plus and Sneds has it in spades – third at Kapalua, second at Waialae and a win at Torrey Pines. He came from a mile back that day, in windy conditions coincidentally, with one of the best rounds of his career.
There are a couple of other coincidences that sit nicely with this Snedeker pick. His 2011 victory came off the back of a 15th at Augusta and The Heritage is also known for multiple winners – Furyk, Boo Weekley and Stewart Cink have all won here twice whilst Davis Love III has five wins to his name.
Snedeker won three games at the World Matchplay before losing to the eventual winner Jason Day and narrowly. A confident NAP, this one.
Russell Knox goes off at a ridiculous 60/1 with Bet365 – I really don’t get that.
Knox is perfect for this course and has a ninth and 18th-places finishes from his two appearances here. He’s currently second on Tour for Greens in Regulation and sixth in the FedEx Cup. So how on earth can he not be a value each-way punt?
If I don’t back him, I will make the same mistake as not seeing the world number 12 going off at 66/1 in The Masters. I’m sure we all thought about Danny Willett. Well, Russell Knox is just as good a bet as that was (obvious after the event).
Knox is a demon with his Irons and like most Scottish golfers, a very decent Links player.
Keep riding the form horse as it usually pays off in golf. Of course those runs come to an end but whilst course and conditions suit, the man in form will usually give you a run for your money.
Despite this being his professional debut, I thought Bryson DeChambeau would be considerably shorter than the 70/1 (888) on offer.
He was one of the stars of a dramatic Masters tournament and was in contention to win the thing until the last hole on Saturday when his worst drive of the tournament ended with him carding a 7.
That display was no one off. The young man featured prominently in some big time European Tour events in the Middle East in January and February. This is by no means a stellar field and many will be shattered after an incredibly difficult Major.
I like this kid and get a similar feeling to when I first saw Jordan Spieth three years or so ago. I’m not saying he will reach that level but there is something about him and I was hugely impressed with every aspect of his game last week. At 70/1, I’m in.
RBC Heritage – Brandt Snedeker to win (20/1 Boylesports)
RBC Heritage – Russell Knox to win (60/1 each-way Bet365)
RBC Heritage – Bryson DeChambeau to win (70/1 each-way 888)
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