First Look: RBC Heritage
April 10, 2015
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- April 10, 2015
- Jordan Spieth finished T12 in 2014 at the RBC Heritage. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
• FIELD: Click here and see who's set to tee it up at Harbor Town Golf Links.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• COURSE: Harbour Town Golf Links, 7,101 yards, par 71. Jack Nicklaus’ first venture into course design, in collaboration with Pete Dye, remains a timeless test despite its status as one of the shortest layouts on the PGA TOUR schedule. Narrow fairways and small, deftly contoured greens combine to give Harbour Town a Scottish feel and offer a strategic challenge, requiring well-positioned shots to generate birdie chances. Poor drives will force players to work their way around and over hundreds of live oaks and pines. Harbour Town’s iconic red-and-white lighthouse behind the 18th green still helps vessels navigate Calibogue Sound.
• CHARITY: The Heritage Classic Foundation, which has contributed more than $28 million to organizations in South Carolina and Georgia since its 1987 start. The foundation’s Scholar Program awards 60 Beaufort County college students with up to $22,000 in aid, while other recipients include the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry and the Child Abuse Prevention Association.
• FIELD WATCH: World No. 2 and Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who hasn’t finished worse than second since mid-March, joins defending champion Matt Kuchar and FedExCup titleholder Billy Horschel in a field that features 10 of the top 30 in the world rankings. … Two-time winner Tom Watson, who became the oldest man to break par at the Masters, returns for his 25th appearance. Last year’s visit ended a 12-year absence from the event. … Hall of Famer Ernie Els makes his 16th start at Harbour Town, still seeking his first victory there. He was runner-up to Boo Weekley in 2007. … U.S. Amateur champion Gunn Yang and runner-up Corey Connors, both fresh off the Masters, test their skills against PGA TOUR competition for a second straight week.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Brian Gay (2009).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, David Frost (2nd round, 1994).
• LAST YEAR: Kuchar dramatically nabbed the victory that had been eluding him for a month, holing a chip on the final hole of regulation to claim a one-stroke triumph over Luke Donald. The closing holeout capped a 6-under-par 64, completing a comeback from a four-shot deficit to begin the day. Kuchar nearly squandered it with a three-putt bogey at No.17, but that only set up the final heroics. Before Hilton Head, Kuchar had finished second at both the Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open, losing in Houston on Matt Jones’ bunker holeout. Donald’s runner-up finish was his third at Harbour Town in his past six visits, with a pair of thirds mixed in.
• STORYLINES: Donald tries once again for that elusive first victory at Hilton Head, having played the past six editions in a combined 47-under par without winning. The English pro will have a little extra time to recharge after missing the Masters cut. … World No. 8 Jim Furyk, the 2010 winner, Brandt Snedeker (2011) and Horschel also figure to make early arrivals after short weeks at Augusta National. … Kuchar will endeavor to become just the fourth back-to-back winner at the Heritage, joining Payne Stewart (1989-90), Davis Love III (1991-92) and Boo Weekley (2007-08).
• SHORT CHIPS: Since the Heritage moved into the post-Masters slot in 1983, just six men have won without spending the prior week at Augusta National. Four, though, have come in the past decade – Aaron Baddeley (2006), Weekley (’07), Brian Gay (’09) and Carl Pettersson (’12). … Short yardage notwithstanding, no one in the past four editions at Harbour Town has posted four rounds in the 60s. Just 26 have done it in the event’s history, last in 2010 when playoff foes Furyk and Brian Davis did so. … No defending champion has missed the Heritage cut since Davis Love III in 1993 – a run now at 21 consecutive years.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m.(CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM).