Power Rankings: The RSM Classic
4 Min Read
Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf
It happens every year, every year is different and this year is no exception. It’s the last week of competition for the PGA TOUR’s "Class of 2022-23."
Forever friendships have been formed, lifelong memories are shared and The RSM Classic presents the final opportunity to nudge a career trajectory into places that fulfill why touring professionals opt for the profession in the first place.
What’s at stake (quite a bit), how both courses will test and more is below the ranking of those projected to contend.
Luke List, Matt Kuchar and Cameron Young will be among the notables reviewed in Golfbet Insider.
The members of the Class of 2022-23 won’t be signing each other’s yearbooks, but they don’t have to, what with the history books that will chronicle 54 tournaments across 14 months. What’s been a lot ends at Sea Island Resort on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
The Golden Isles is the finish line where, well, golden tickets will be rewarded. At the conclusion of The RSM Classic, the top 125 in the FedExCup will be fully exempt on the PGA TOUR in 2024. They also will be eligible for THE PLAYERS Championship. Golfers who finish 51-60 will earn additional exemptions into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and The Genesis Invitational – the first two Signature Events of the new season. Both targets for all golfers in the field are detailed here.
Golfers that rank 126-150 are guaranteed no worse than conditional status in 2024, but they also can be among the entrants into the Final Stage of PGA TOUR Q-School. So too can non-members whose equivalent total of FedExCup points would slot inside the same range among members. Both Ryan Gerard (139th) and Peter Kuest (144th) are in position at Sea Island either to climb into the top 125 or qualify for the Final Stage.
All the while those tournaments within the tournament are transpiring, the field of 156 will be navigating two courses in the first two rounds. Half the field will be scheduled for the Seaside Course, while the other half will be playing the Plantation Course. They will swap assignments in the second round. After the traditional cut of low 65 and ties occurs, only Seaside will be used in the third and final rounds.
Seaside is a par 70 ranging 7,005 yards. It’s averaged a hair more than one stroke under par across four rounds for five consecutive editions, but the wind will influence that this week. It’s going to blow the hardest on Thursday, and it won’t truly relent until later on Friday. All who survive the cut will be treated to relatively calm conditions all weekend. Rain could accompany the gusts in the opener, but it also abates deeper into the tournament. Daytime highs will creep into the 70s.
The putting surfaces on Seaside are sizeable for a par 70, but challenging hole locations will add some bite to the resort course. Bermudagrass greens will be prepped to measure 12½ feet on the Stimpmeter when the wind lays down.
The Plantation Course is a stock par 72 tipping at just 7,060 yards. Last year’s scoring average of 69.763 matched its record low, but that won’t be threatened this week due to the weather. Its smaller-than-average Bermuda greens could touch 13 feet on the Stimpmeter.
Plantation’s 1 1/2-inch rough is not overseeded, but its counterpart on Seaside has been and might stand 2 inches tall. Fairways and greens on both courses also have been overseeded.
While both courses allow for scoring amid the stress – both are among the most inviting off the tee and on approach – conventional wisdom is to take advantage of the easier course on the easier day. With no changes in the forecast, that would benefit the half of the draw on Plantation on Friday even with the cut looming. Navigate that and there’s another perk awaiting in the finale: All top 10s will earn exemptions into the Sony Open in Hawaii on Jan. 11-14, regardless of their outcome as it concerns membership status.
NOTE: ShotLink to measure distances of every shot is utilized only on the Seaside Course.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
MONDAY: Power Rankings
WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider
SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Qualifiers, Reshuffle
* Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.
Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.