The PGA TOUR Heads Down to Georgia ⏤ The RSM Classic

Fantasy Golf

Sea Island1

The PGA TOUR will be making its second start in the Peach State of Georgia this week, but the vibe at Sea Island Resort for the RSM Classic will be a far cry from what we witnessed at Augusta for last week's Masters. The intensity of the year's final major championship has melted away and the RSM Classic will look to fill the shoes of the RBC Heritage Classic as a wind-down from Masters Tournament pressure. Adding to the relaxed atmosphere this week will be the fact that this is a home game for quite a few players in the field. Sea Island Resort is where over a dozen PGA TOUR professionals have set up shop including some familiar names like Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III and Zach Johnson.

PGA TOUR journeyman Tyler Duncan captured last year's title here with a victory over Webb Simpson in a playoff on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort. Both players finished with a total score of 19-under par 263 and headed to sudden death to determine who would be the final PGA TOUR champion of 2019. After a push on the first playoff hole, Duncan buried a 12-foot birdie putt to secure his first-ever PGA TOUR win and punch his ticket to this year's Masters. Players in this week's field will get a similar opportunity as the winner this week will find his way into the 2021 Masters Tournament held just six months from now.

The Field and the Favorites

The 2020 PGA TOUR schedule is winding down and we're down to just two full-field events remaining. Accordingly, you've got a fair amount of quality players in what would otherwise be a weak post-major field. Opportunities to finish out the year strong are dwindling and somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 or so participants in the Masters Tournament will opt to skip the chance to decompress and push on through for a second consecutive week. The only real tournament (not including the QBE Shootout) that remains on the 2020 calendar is next week's Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. 

Webb Simpson is predictably the favorite (+850) running away this week as he is the highest-ranked (6th) player in the field. Moreover, he's coming off a strong finish at Augusta National (T10) and returning to the site of his runner-up performance last year. The next highest-ranked player in the field is Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (+1800) who has been playing some awfully solid golf lately. However, he is joined as the second favorite by Masters Tournament runner-up Sungjae Im (+1800). Im played some impressive golf at Augusta National and would have had a strong chance to win but for the record-setting performance by the best player in the world (Dustin Johnson).

Moreover, a lot of the COVID-related quarantine requirements that exist around the world have led to foreign players opting to stick around for one more event before they have to shut things down upon their arrival back home. Hatton represents just one of a strong contingent of European players in the field this week. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2500) has opted to play at Sea Island before heading back to England for the holidays. So too has Tommy Fleetwood (+2500), Shane Lowry (+3500), Justin Rose (+4000) Ian Poulter (+5500), Lee Westwood (+9000) and Bernd Wiesberger (+10000). If this event were held during a normally scheduled year, it's extremely unlikely we'd see so much European participation so close to the holidays and during what is usually the home stretch in the Race to Dubai.

The Golf Course

Thanks to the short days of November, the RSM Classic will be played over both of the courses at Sea Island Resort. The main host site is the Seaside Course, but the Plantation Course will also play host to the players over the first two rounds of the tournament as an additional golf course is necessary in order to get a full field through the first 36 holes before the sun sets early around 5:00 PM. Not unlike the North/South split at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, the final 36 holes will be played entirely on the more challenging eighteen found on the Seaside Course.

The difference in golf courses over those first two rounds should be noted by fantasy players involved in our H2H contests. Players within the same group may be playing different golf courses and an advantage can be gained by those who are paying close attention to the tee times. The Plantation Course (thanks largely to its par of 72) played over a half-shot easier than the par-70 Seaside Course and should any fantasy contestants be torn between two players to choose the tie ought to go to the player who is playing the easier of the two golf courses on that particular day.

Thanks to Sea Island Resort's coastal location, you can be sure that wind is likely to play a role throughout the tournament. Forecasts call for breezes in the double-digits all week with the stiffest winds coming over the course of the opening two rounds. These breezes will only heighten the effect of the numerous water hazards that come into play across both of the golf courses. Thirteen holes on the Seaside Course have water in play while ten holes on the Plantation have red or yellow-staked hazards that lie in wait for the poorly-played shot.

Here are our selections for this week's RSM Classic:

Group A (Webb Simpson)

Group B (Lee Westwood)

Group C (Stewart Cink)

Group D (Sungjae Im)

Group E (Dylan Frittelli)

Group F (Keegan Bradley)