Pat Mayo provides a quick preview and makes his early 2021 Zurich Classic Picks in a his first look and research for the PGA TOUR event.
2021 RBC Heritage: Field
136 Players | Top 65 & Ties Make the Cut
First Tee Time: Thursday, April 18
Defending Champion: Webb Simpson
It’s a true Masters hangover on the PGA TOUR. In 2020, Harbour Town was second out of the gate after the restart and attracted a field on par with some majors. Not so much the case in 2021. Back in its regular slot directly after Augusta, the field is stronger than in most seasons, but a massive drop-off from a year ago.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, fresh off a missed cut at The Masters, joins defending champion Webb Simpson as the betting favorites. Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Cameron Smith, Abe Ancer, Will Zalatoris, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Corey Conners, Brian Harman, Sergio Garcia, Si WOOOO Kim and Kevin Na make up the remainder of the top tier.
Bryson DeChambeau was originally in the field but withdrew following the conclusion of The Masters.
2021 Masters: Key Stats
Strokes Gained: Approach
Good Drives Gained
Strokes Gained Putting
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2021 RBC Heritage: Course
Course: Harbour Town GL
2021 RBC Heritage: Past Winners
2020: Webb Simpson -22
2019: CT Pan -12
2018: Satoshi Kodaira -12
2017: Wes Bryan -13
2016: Branden Grace -9
2021 RBC Heritage: Notes
Harbour Town is one of the few courses on TOUR where driving means relatively little. That’s not to say you can be terrible off the tee and win, but looking at the Strokes Gained history from this event, SG: Off The Tee means less than SG: Around the Green among top 10 finishers. That’s a rarity. Like most Pete Dye courses, overall course strategy from tee-to-green needs to be on display more so than an average tournament. Hitting fairways is great and all, but a lot of these holes are structured in a way where being in the right rough generates a better birdie opportunity than being situated in the left section of the fairway. With its tiny greens, the field only hits greens at a 58% rate, making it one of the lowest average GIR rates of any course, so taking advantage of the proper angle will be imperative to scoring. Focusing on approach and putting is the path this week. Which makes the leaderboard accessible to all skill sets.
Pete Dye Courses on the PGA TOUR
- TPC Sawgrass (The Players Championship)
- Harbour Town (RBC Heritage)
- TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship)
- TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic)
- Austin Country Club (WGC Match Play)
- TPC Stadium Course at La Quinta (Two rounds at The American Express)
- Crooked Stick (2012/2016 BMW Championship)
- Whistling Straits (2015, 2010, 2005 PGA Championship)
- Kiawah Island (2012 PGA Championship)
Along with other Dye tracks, nearby Sea Island Resort (RSM Classic) and The Wyndham Championship are the courses with the most crossover success. Beyond those two, similar length, Bermuda grass green courses which have produced similar names at the top of leaderboards are: the Sony Open and Honda Classic.
Harbour Town features tree-lined fairways and measures on the short side of PGA TOUR courses, coming in at around 7,100 yards. Even with three par 5s, eagles are tough to come by for the field, regardless of distance.
Harbour Town annually ranks as the course with the fewest drives over 300 yards and shortest average driving distance on TOUR; just 267 yards off the tee, compared to the TOUR average of 284 yards. For example, on the par 4s at Harbour Town in his career, Dustin Johnson is averaging around 286 yards per drive. That is well below his average driving distance at almost any other course.
Over the past six years, Strokes Gained: Approach has been almost three times more impactful than Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green among the top 5 finishers at The RBC Heritage. Last year, of the top 11 leaders in SG: APP, seven appeared in the top 10 on the leaderboard.
Last year’s event was an outlier because of the star-studded field, but previous to 2020, each of the past seven winners has entered Sunday with at least a two-stroke deficit. Webb Simpson, last year’s winner, was one of four tied for the lead entering Sunday. C.T. Pan was two behind DJ two years ago; Satoshi Kodaira trailed Ian Poulter by six strokes entering the final round in 2018. Five of the past 11 years the RBC Heritage has gone to a playoff, too.
Yes, the course is difficult, but the elements always end up playing a factor. On Hilton Head Island, while there is usually a consistent, coastal breeze, certain rounds at Harbour Town can be played in full-on gale-force winds. One of the reasons Simpson was able to break the tournament record last summer was due to an unusual lack of wind all four days. Of the previous eight rounds at The Heritage, more rounds had been played in winds greater than 17 mph than under 10 mph (three-to-two).
2021 RBC Heritage Picks
Collin Morikawa ($10,500)
Time to jump back on Morikawa after a few weeks off. The irons are still firing at an elite level, but it was a complete performance at The Masters which had him inside the top 20. Morikawa finished in the positives in all three Tee-to-Green metrics. He’s tops in this field in approach over the past 50 rounds, but it will all come down to his putter. The past five times Morikawa has finished better than the field with his flat stick, he’s won the event. Let’s just hope it’s one of those weeks.
Doug Ghim ($6,900)
The Ghim Reaper has been buried in the odds and DraftKings pricing, and we get a shot to take advantage. The putting has been atrocious for about two months now, but if Hideki’s win taught us anything, keep following the ball striking and hope you get lucky on the greens. Ghim’s gained on approach in eight consecutive events, and the last time we saw him at Valero, despite a T44 finish, he was actually seventh in the field Tee-to-Green. Turns out losing 7.5 strokes putting will cap your upside. It’s worth noting, he was firmly in the mix at THE PLAYERS before a disastrous Sunday, and the best finish of his career came at The American Express in January, both on Pete Dye courses.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was a finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.