This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
The RSM Classic
Courses: Sea Island Resort Seaside Course (7,005 yards, par 70) [Host course], Sea Island Resort Plantation Course (7,060 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,296,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The RSM Classic marks the final official PGA Tour event of 2021 and the last opportunity for players to earn FedExCup points until the Tournament of Champions in Maui Jan. 6-9, or the Sony Open in Honolulu Jan. 13-16 if you did not pick up a win in 2021. This tournament will utilize two courses this week where players will play one round on the Seaside course and one round at the Plantation course on Thursday/Friday before a 36-hole cut is made and all players transition to the more difficult Seaside course for the final two rounds on the weekend. Robert Streb picked up his second RSM Classic win a year ago and he is the only player with multiple titles in the 11-year history of the event in Sea Island.
Leading the notables in the field this week is Scottie Scheffler, who is agonizingly close to picking up PGA Tour win No. 1. He was unable to close out the 54-hole lead last week in Houston, which made way for Jason Kokrak to notch his third win in the last 13 months. Joining Scheffler in the field is a man who has been knocking on the door of a win in Sea Island for some time. That would be Webb Simpson, who owns three career top-three finishes here. This field also will welcome major winners Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Jason Day.
The forecast for Thursday is significantly better than the rest of the week, and because of the format with two courses being utilized in the first two rounds that will make the draw a bit more of a factor considering the Plantation course will play easier than the Seaside course. A cold front will move in on Friday which will bring temperatures down to the mid-60's the rest of the tournament and also bring winds that could extend to 25 miles per hour. This event the last three years has seen a playoff at 19-under-par, but with the high winds expected shooting 19-under this week should win outright easily. In 11 previous RSM Classic's, the tournament has been decided by more than one stroke just twice.
2020 – Robert Streb (-19)
2019 – Tyler Duncan (-19)
2018 – Charles Howell III (-19)
2017 – Austin Cook (-21)
2016 – Mackenzie Hughes (-17)
2015 – Kevin Kisner (-22)
2014 – Robert Streb (-14)
2013 – Chris Kirk (-14)
2012 – Tommy Gainey (-16)
2011 – Ben Crane (-15)
2010 – Heath Slocum (-14)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Putting
With both of these courses being situated right along the coastline, the wind will play even more of a factor. Length is an absolute non-factor at Sea Island, just go look at the champions here. The name of the game will be all about precision. The greens are not overly large, so strong iron players should come to the forefront this week as they try to control their flight and distance. The Seaside course will be prepped to run around 13 on the Stimpmeter, but the PGA Tour might have to let it grow a bit over the weekend when the winds start to really kick up. Naturally with more wind, that should equal more missed greens which puts an emphasis on scrambling as well. Players who played well on bermuda last week in Houston should theoretically have a good week on the same type of surface at Sea Island.
FanDuel Value Picks
Scottie Scheffler ($12,000)
After a missed cut and a T38 in the two Vegas events, Scheffler has looked fantastic by going fourth at Mayakoba and T2 in Houston. He ranks 25th in GIR percentage and fifth in birdie average this season. Scheffler is also a top-five driver of the ball in the world. The Texan clearly likes Sea Island and has shown he can play in wind after a T5 showing in his only start two years ago.
Cameron Smith ($11,800)
It's a surprise that Smith has never played at Sea Island before because his game seems perfect for the challenge. The Aussie has a crazy good short game and was the 10th-ranked putter on Tour last season. Now his iron game is coming around too, having finished top-15 in his two starts this season. Smith is also 11th in birdie average and sixth in scoring average.
Russell Henley ($11,300)
Henley is the perfect type of player who will be able to control his ball in the wind. He ranks first in SG: Approach, 15th in driving accuracy, and eighth in GIR percentage this season. Henley is also a terrific scrambler, finishing last season inside the top-15 in that stat. The former Georgia product knows bermuda well and is coming off a T7 finish last week in Houston, which was his third top-25 in four starts.
Kevin Kisner ($10,700)
Form has just never seemed to matter for Kisner when it comes to playing at Sea Island. He is the all-time earnings leader in this event, posting a six shot win in 2015 and a playoff loss a year ago. Kisner also boasts three other top-seven finishes. The former Georgia Bulldog ranks third in driving accuracy and second in GIR percentage this season.
Longer Shots with Value
Chris Kirk ($9,800)
Kirk – who is sponsored by RSM – ranks 17th through four starts in SG: Total. He has been very strong all the way through the bag for the last couple seasons, which gives him a pretty high floor for a player in this price range. Kirk also owns a strong history at Sea Island that includes a win back in 2013 and a total of six top-20 finishes.
Robert Streb ($9,400)
Streb is coming into this week's RSM Classic in far better form than he was in either of the two times he won here. He has made four cuts in a row and finished top-10 in two of the last three starts, including in Houston a week ago. Streb isn't a long hitter by any means, but he always puts the ball in play and has the ability to get up and down from almost anywhere.
Henrik Norlander ($8,800)
Norlander is a player I liken to a poor man's Henley. He is an amazing iron player that seems to player better at events where the course plays tougher. Norlander has made the cut in all five of his starts this season, including a T4 in Jackson and a T18 in Japan. The Swede also boasts a pair of top-five finishes at Sea Island.
Denny McCarthy ($8,600)
McCarthy comes into the week of a pair of top-15 finishes. He flew up the leaderboard last Sunday in Houston with a six-under 64 to finish a season-best T11. McCarthy is one of the best putters on Tour having ranked top-25 in strokes gained each of the last four seasons, including leading the stat twice. This season he also ranks top-35 in GIR percentage, scrambling, and scoring average. McCarthy finished T8 at Sea Island two years ago.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
This field seems to have a more balanced feel to it than recent weeks. There are some really strong options near the top, but you can argue for plenty of players that are under five digits that are capable of potentially winning this week. A lot of that has to do with the course the players will face. Sea Island gives everyone a shot because it is on the shorter end, but the challenge of the wind allows iron players, scramblers, and putters to all be able to separate themselves. Recent form is definitely important, but a number of players in this field are perennial names that show up for this event and always seem to put their best foot forward. Players that fall into that category that I did not mention above would include Webb Simpson, Brian Harman, Charles Howell III, Matt Kuchar, and Lucas Glover.