The RSM Classic preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
The last hurrah after nearly a year comes with the RSM Classic where same as it ever was, Fed Ex points and World Rankings are on the line. Next week we have Tiger back or Tiger’s back but that’s a jolly – this is the real deal. A group of pro’s make this their base at Sea Island for a host of reasons not the least being it has its own runway. That alone tells us what planet golf is like. Enough though – we need a winner to cap a good run with Patton prevailing last week over Rickie.
The field here is headed by Kisner and the Kuch which once again tells us all we need to know about depth and the lack of tier one stars this time of year. The event is 54 holes at the Sea Island Seaside Course – think linksy with Atlantic wind and 18 at the Plantation Course with tree lined fairways. At just over 7000 yards, par 70, with wide fairways and big greens the Seaside Course is a venue that will suit a putter. The Plantation course, at which all players will play one of their first two rounds, is not much different in length but a par 72 with three shortish par 5’s.
Looking back the profile of winners here is not unlike last week in that the names don’t come to mind at first and the winners over the last 5 years all averaged less than 300 off the tee. Patton did what we wanted last week by using a lot of 3 woods and rescues off the tee to good effect. This week it will take a player to hit fairways and greens and have their putting boots on to prevail.
A case could be made for any number of players but this week we are looking for pedigree and focus and will thus put all our faith is one player.
Graeme McDowell – 1pt win at $80 on
Graeme McDowell leaps off the page when looking for the profile of a winner here. Third here in 2015 with 15 under on his only start McDowell has found some great recent form illustrated not so much by his 34th last week but his 10th place at the Shriners and the underlying form of his game.
Driving accuracy T20 at 73.21% will stand him in good stead and expect this to be higher here. Greens in regulation at 68.98% – again expect this to be higher with these substantial greens. Both these stats suggest a player striking it well but it’s his strokes gained overall at T10 and strokes gained putting at 2nd which get the juices going. With 3 rounds that the Seaside Resort and thus the winds coming off the Atlantic to deal with this is a huge plus with McDowell as he can flight the ball and of course won his US Open at Pebble. Sneds would come into this category given his wind pedigree but he’s coming off a monster layoff. It’s been a while since McDowell won but this is a Major winner with the ideal profile and a man focused on success – plus he’s won on these Bermuda greens.