After battling it out for the green jacket last week, the PGA Tour pros head to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to fight it out for another stylish wardrobe addition–the tartan jacket. The winner of the RBC Heritage is given this jacket at the end of the tournament each season and Graeme McDowell wore it well last season. Typically the winner at Harbour Town Golf Links is a shotmaker extraordinaire as the tight par-71 course emphasizes precision more than length.
The much more famous golf tournament known for its jacket happened on Sunday as The Masters crowned Bubba Watson a Major Champion for the second time in three years. Bubba was on the roster of five of us in our 50-member Yahoo! Group (which you can find details to join here). “Put it in the Hole” claimed the overall lead for the segment with a group-high, 180-point week that also gave him the lead for the season so far.
This week’s tournament isn’t a Major, but it should offer plenty of drama on this Easter Sunday as it boasts a robust field playing on a familiar course. Here are my picks:
Luke Donald: Donald is a horse for the course with a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds over the last five years at Harbour Town. He missed the cut at Augusta after a tough opening 79, but had four top 25 finishes in his four previous tournaments.
Kevin Stadler: Stadler finished t8th last week at The Masters after missing the cut the previous week at the Shell Houston Open. He has a good history in Hilton Head highlighted by a t4 in 2012
Jim Furyk: Furyk is rounding into form coming off a pair of top 15′s in San Antonio and Augusta. Furyk won the Heritage in 2010 and has six top ten’s including two runner-up finishes to go with his tournament win.
Zach Johnson: Johnson is the perfect fit for a shot-maker’s haven like Harbour Town. He was runner-up in 2012 to Carl Pettersson and made the cut last year as well. He comes into this one after missing the cut at Augusta although he did finish t6 at the Valero Texas Open in his previous tournament.
Bill Haas: Haas has made the cut in all 12 events he has played this season and has been in the top 25 in five of his last six tournaments. Haas came out firing at Augusta with a first round 68 but then struggled to a 78 in round 2. He still finished t20 after a solid closing weekend and he’s made the cut in three of his last four trips to Hilton Head.
Jason Day: Day played The Masters without his normal preparation due to a thumb injury that cost him prep time. He still was able to battle to a t20 and should have knocked the rust off as he looks to regain his momentum which he flashed at the Match Play Championship. Day had been playing well before the injury and could contend if he regains his pre-injury form. UPDATE: Day has withdrawn from the event, so I’m replacing him with Hunter Mahan on my roster.
Graeme McDowell: Last year’s champ missed the cut at Augusta but had five top ten in his previous six tournaments before a rough 72-78 had him on the sidelines for the weekend. He’ll look to bounce back at a venue that fits his game well.
Stephen Gallacher: Gallacher hasn’t played a ton of US events, but the Scottish pro is an emerging European talent. He finished in the top 35 in three of his last four PGA events including a t34 at Augusta which could have been much better without a 81 in the third round. He finished 6th at the Cadillac Championship and has the style of game that should fit Harbour Town well.