The First Look: Who's fighting for 2024 status at The RSM Classic?
7 Min Read
Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley
The 2022-23 PGA TOUR season ends at The RSM Classic, the final event of the FedExCup Fall. In contrast to a historically tranquil vibe in coastal Georgia, the tension will be palpable this week as players jockey to improve (or keep) TOUR status for the 2024 season.
St. Simons Island, Georgia, is home to several TOUR stars – including tournament host Davis Love III – and while the event previously slotted as the last event of the calendar year before the wraparound schedule resumed in January, this year it will mark the season finale before the TOUR returns to a calendar-year cadence.
There are plenty of pearls for the Sea Island winner, of course. But this year brings heightened implications up and down the leaderboard.
The top 125 on the FedExCup Fall standings after this week will secure 2024 PGA TOUR exempt membership, earning spots in each Full-Field Event plus THE PLAYERS Championship. Those who finish Nos. 51-60 will get into two Signature Events in 2024 – The Genesis Invitational and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – via The Next 10.
FIELD NOTES: Adam Svensson looks to successfully defend at Sea Island. Svensson, who hasn’t missed a cut on TOUR since the Travelers Championship in June, will make his fifth start of the FedExCup Fall. There has never been a back-to-back winner at The RSM Classic… Ludvig Åberg is back in action on TOUR as he looks to continue his fine global play over the last few months. In his last seven worldwide starts, Åberg, chasing a top-50 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking by the end of the year for a Masters invite, hasn’t finished worse than a tie for 14th… Open Championship winner Brian Harman tees it up for the first time since the TOUR Championship. Harman, who finished second last year at The RSM Classic, has two other top-10 finishes at Sea Island, where he is a resident… There are plenty of St. Simons Island, Georgia, residents in the field including Love III, Zach Johnson, Harris English, Keith Mitchell and Patton Kizzire. Despite the hearty number of TOUR players who live in the area, none have actually won The RSM Classic. Kevin Kisner won in 2015 but he was living in Sea Island only because his home in South Carolina was being renovated at the time… Kisner, who also lost in a playoff in 2020 at Sea Island to go along with his 2015 title, is teeing it up… Padraig Harrington, who won his sixth title on PGA TOUR Champions two weeks ago at Boca Raton is playing The RSM Classic for the first time since 2017… Billy Horschel is back in action on TOUR for the first time since his season-best fourth-place result at the Wyndham Championship. Horschel notched three top-20 finishes in four starts on the DP World Tour across September and October. Horschel lost in a playoff at Sea Island in 2016… Other notables in the field at Sea Island who made it to the TOUR Championship but haven’t played since include Russell Henley and Corey Conners. Both Conners and Henley have five top-10 results this season including a victory.
SPONSOR EXEMPTIONS: Twins David and Maxwell Ford will tee it up together at a PGA TOUR event for the first time, becoming the third pair of twins to compete on TOUR this season after Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard and Pierceson and Parker Coody. David earned a spot in the field after winning the 2023 Jones Cup in January (a big-time amateur event annually hosted at Sea Island Golf Club). Maxwell, ranked 30th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, initially wanted to try to Monday Qualify but received a sponsor invite shortly before the event. This will be his TOUR debut. David, ranked fifth in the world, made his TOUR debut at the Barbasol Championship earlier this year. They’re both juniors at the University of North Carolina… U.S. Amateur runner-up Ben Carr will make his first PGA TOUR start as a pro. He played the Puerto Rico Open, the Masters and the U.S. Open earlier in the year and turned pro after making the cut at Los Angeles Country Club. Carr made six of seven cuts this summer on PGA TOUR Canada… FredBiondi will make his fourth start on TOUR during the FedExCup Fall. He made the cut for the first time on TOUR at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Biondi was part of the University of Florida’s NCAA Championship-winning squad earlier in 2023 and was also the NCAA Individual National Champion for 2023… Ben Kohles, who won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour this year and who topped the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, is back in action on the PGA TOUR… Josh Teater, who zipped into the top 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points list thanks to back-to-back top-10 finishes in the last two events of the season, will make his third TOUR start of the season.
Highest Ranked Players in the Field
|9. Brian Harman||52. Matt Kuchar|
|18. Cameron Young||53. Mackenzie Hughes|
|25. Russell Henley||54. Ben Griffin|
|33. Corey Conners||55. Taylor Montgomery|
|36. Denny McCarthy||56. Nick Hardy|
|39. Harris English||57. Alex Smalley|
|40. J.T. Poston||58. Luke List|
|41. Si Woo Kim||59. J.J. Spaun|
|45. Adam Schenk||60. Sam Ryder|
|48. Eric Cole||61. Mark Hubbard|
1) Chase for the top 125
With The RSM Classic marking the final event of the FedExCup Fall, there are two key numbers to monitor. The first is No. 125, as those who finish inside that mark on the FedExCup Fall standings will be exempt into all Full-Field Events and THE PLAYERS Championship next season. (Nos. 126-150 on the FedExCup Fall standings will retain conditionally exempt status for 2024.)
2) Chase for The Next 10
Also of note, those who finish Nos. 51-60 in the standings at the conclusion of The RSM Classic will qualify for two Signature Events in 2024 via The Next 10 (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, The Genesis Invitational).
There are plenty of opportunity for movement in the final event of the 2022-23 season.
3) Talking about playoffs
The precedent has been set: It’s fairly likely The RSM Classic will head into a playoff come Sunday. There have been six playoffs in the 13 events at Sea Island, including three in a row from 2018-2020.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Sea Island Resort (Seaside), 7,005 yards, par 70; Sea Island Resort (Plantation), 7,060 yards, par 72. Golfers will once again tee it up on the Plantation and the Seaside courses for the first two days before the Seaside takes on hosting duties through the weekend. The Plantation Course was re-done by tournament host Davis Love III and his brother Mark in 2019, with changes inspired by Walter Travis’ 1928 original. Tom Fazio, in 1999, was charged with the redesign of the Seaside Course which is a links-style layout adjacent to the ocean. The previous three winners of this event have all be inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Putting at the end of the week, with last year’s winner, Adam Svensson, topping the category.
72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Kisner (2015), Talor Gooch (2021)
18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Tommy Gainey (4th round, 2012), Sebastian Munoz (1st round, 2021), Tyler McCumber (4th round, 2021)
LAST TIME: Svensson held off plenty of notable chasers to capture his first PGA TOUR title, winning The RSM Classic last year by two shots after finishing at 19 under. Svensson fired a final-round 64 and while he was in a four-way tie for the lead late into the back nine, he rolled in an 18-footer for birdie on No. 16 and followed that up with another birdie on the penultimate hole of the championship after knocking his tee shot on the par-3 to just 10 feet. Both Harman and Sahith Theegala missed their own birdie tries from about 25 feet on the closing hole and Svensson just needed a par on No. 18 to claim victory. Svensson started the tournament with a 73 and he was 108th on the leaderboard after 18 holes, and after his first job was completed – making the cut – he ended up holding the trophy come Sunday. Harman, Theegala and Callum Tarren (who tied Svensson, amongst others, for the Sunday round-of-the-day, 6 under) finished tied for second while five others finished tied for fifth.
HOW TO FOLLOW:
Television: Thursday-Friday: noon-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m. (Golf Channel)
PGA TOUR LIVE:
|Stream 1||Featured Groups: 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.||Featured Groups: 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.|
|Stream 2||Featured Group: noon-4 p.m.||Featured Group: noon-4 p.m.|
PGA TOUR LIVE is available exclusively on ESPN+
• Main Feed: primary tournament-coverage featuring the best action from across the course
• Marquee Group: new “marquee group” showcasing every shot from each player in the group
• Featured Groups: traditional PGA TOUR LIVE coverage of two concurrent featured groups
• Featured Holes: a combination of par-3s and iconic or pivotal holes
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio)
*Denotes all players outside the top 50 in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of the Playoffs who are still actively earning points.