The RBC Heritage has the unenviable task of following the Masters on the PGA Tour schedule. Harbour Town Golf Links will welcome many of the players who competed last week but the South Carolina Course will ask very different questions to Augusta.
This is not a course that can be easily overpowered. At 7,100 yards it is one of the shortest tracks on the PGA Tour but it is also one of the narrowest. The fairways will take some hitting and anybody who strays off-line will need to contend with the trees that frame so many of the holes. On a tour that is so often dominated by distance and power, it is nice to have a different challenge from both a playing and a viewing perspective.
Because Harbour Town requires such precision and concentration, it is unlikely that we will see anybody run away with the event lie Jordan Spieth did with the Masters. That does not mean, however, that Spieth cannot make it back-to-back wins. He is such a wonderful vein of form that he will believe he can win anywhere. Before the Houston Open he declared that the course was not set out well for his game, he ended up losing in a play-off. So if you are worried whether he can cope with such a different task this week than last, know that his game can stand up to any challenge at the moment. Spieth is a best priced 13/2 with Coral and it would take a brave punter to oppose him, even at those odds.
Given this is a links course, it was decided that it should emulate many of the features that can be found in courses around Scotland and the English coastline. That should mean that the British players in the field should relish the RBC Heritage. Of all of those teeing it up this week, perhaps the player with the biggest appeal is Ian Poulter. Poults, as he’s affectionately known in Britain, has never been the longest hitter so has had to rely on his approach play and a solid short game. Both of those are necessary features to do well at Harbour Town. Hopefully, he has sorted out the putting problems that stopped him from finishing even higher than the joint sixth place he managed at Augusta and he can come in at odds of 25/1.
Another player who has had to have solid fundamentals due to a relative lack of power, is Zach Johnson. His approach play is so good that he managed to win the Masters in 2007 without ever hitting one of the par fives in two. Alongside that Masters success, Johnson has won 10 times on the PGA Tour although his best RBC Heritage placing was the second he managed in 2012. He has such a good game for this course that many of the bookies have him as the second favourite. BetFred go 20/1 that he wins this week which is a fair price for such a great competitor.