Storylines from The RSM Classic
November 10, 2017
By Jeff Shain, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- Mac Hughes poses with his trophy after his first PGA TOUR win in a playoff of the final round of the 2016-17 RSM Classic. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Sea Island GC (Seaside), 7,005 yards, par 70. Sea Island’s original layout dates back to 1929, a nine-hole links on the southern tip of St. Simon’s Island created by English architects Harry Colt and Charles Alison. Among its early enthusiasts was Bobby Jones, who described Seaside as among the best nine holes he’d ever played. Joe Lee added the “Marshside Nine” in 1973, and the two nines were combined in a 1999 Tom Fazio project. Entrants also play one of their first two rounds at the par-72 Plantation course, which joined the format two years ago after Rees Jones fused two other nine-hole layouts into an 18-hole test.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Special Olympics and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia are primary beneficiaries, as the host Davis Love Foundation focuses its attention on programs centering on children and families. More than 70 other charities receive funds via the tournament’s “Birdies Fore Love” pledge program.
• FIELD WATCH: St. Simon’s Island resident Patton Kizzire, just off his victory in Mexico, and 2015 champion Kevin Kisner head a lineup that includes five of the top 30 in last season’s FedExCup standings. … A dozen St. Simon’s pros are entered, including tournament host and new World Golf Hall of Famer Davis Love III, two-time major champion Zach Johnson and 2017 winners Brian Harman (Wells Fargo) and Hudson Swafford (CareerBuilder). … Reigning NCAA champion Braden Thornberry is in on a sponsor exemption given to the winner of the Jones Cup. … Invitations also were handed out to former Texas A&M standout Cameron Champ, making his second pro start, as well as Love’s son Dru.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Kevin Kisner (2015).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Tommy Gainey (4th round, 2012).
• LAST YEAR: Mac Hughes prevailed in a five-man playoff that spilled into Monday for his first PGA TOUR victory. The Canadian rookie won on the third extra hole, draining an 18-foot par save from just off the green at Seaside’s par-3 No.17. He then watched in disbelief as Blayne Barber, Henrik Norlander and finally Camilo Villegas all missed their par attempts from 10 feet and closer. Billy Horschel was the fifth man in the playoff, but went home early after a three-putt on the first extra hole. Hughes was fueled by an opening 61 that was one stroke off Tommy Gainey’s course record.
• STORYLINES: Though past champions Kisner and Chris Kirk (2014) have been part-time residents, the tournament is still looking for its first true hometown winner. The closest a fulltimer has come was Love's tie for fourth in 2012. … Chesson Hadley, with three top-four finishes in the new season, and Whee Kim are among a handful with a chance to displace Pat Perez atop the FedExCup standings before the holiday break. Perez is taking the week off. … It’ll be Love’s first home start as a Hall of Famer, following September’s enshrinement ceremony in New York. Aside from his 2012 performance, he hasn’t finished better than 33rd.
• SHORT CHIPS: Six of the tournament’s first seven editions have been decided by no more than one shot, the lone exception being Kisner’s six-shot romp in 2015. Hughes’ triumph was the third resolved in a playoff. … The fall schedule typically is populated with first-time winners, but it hasn’t been the trend this season. The season’s first six stops produced just two – Ryan Armour (Mississippi) and Patrick Cantlay (Las Vegas). … Though nobody will have played all seven weeks of the new season’s fall schedule, Villegas and Kim are among a half-dozen set to head into the break with six starts.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: None.
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).