RBC Heritage: Can Jim go in again?
Jim Furyk - One of the Punter's picks in the Heritage
“Jim Furyk’s somewhat pedestrian in a finish nowadays but he’s in fine fettle at present and it’s very hard to envisage him not contending again.”
Our man takes a look at this week's US PGA Tour event, where he can see Jim Furyk contending again and where value picks are plentiful. Read Steve's preview here...
This fantastic event was without a future sponsor at the conclusion of last year's renewal and the tournament's future was in some doubt. Mercifully, RBC signed a five-year title sponsorship soon after last year's event and Boeing have signed on as a presenting sponsor, also for five years, so the RBC Heritage's future looks assured. This will be the 44th staging.
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Par 71, 6.973 yards. Stroke Index in 2011 - 71.09
Assisted by Jack Nicklaus, Hilton Head was designed by Pete Dye, who also designed Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship. It has been the event's sole venue, so there's plenty of course form to examine. With water in play on half the holes and very small Bermuda greens, accuracy over power is definitely the way to go.
Live on Sky on all four days at 8.00pm.
Last Five Winners
2011 - Brandt Snedeker -12
2010 - Jim Furyk -13 (playoff)
2009 - Brian Gay -20
2008 - Boo Weekley -15
2007 - Boo Weekley -14
What will it take to win at Hilton Head?
Accurate iron-play to find the small greens is vital and so is great scrambling. Even the most precise players will miss at least the odd green or two here and getting up-and-down successfully is key.
Look at past winners. Players tend to play well here year after year and eight players have won the event more than once.
And don't give up on your picks, even if they appear to have too much to do with a round to go. Brandt Snedeker came from six off the lead last year and Stewart Cink was fully nine shots back with a round to go in 2004.
Given he's finished in the front three in each of the last three years, it's hardly a surprise to see Luke Donald heading the list and he'll be keen to make up for his poor effort at Augusta last week.
Matt Kuchar trades as second favourite and he comes here fresh off his 3rd placed finish at the US Masters but although he clearly has the game for Hilton Head, the best he's mustered from eight attempts so far is 7th back in 2008.
In contrast to the week's other event, the Maybank Malaysian Open, it wasn't a case of who to back here, more who not to back! Although there were a couple of the shorter ones I wanted onside, the vast majority of players trading at double-figure odds looked no value at all, but I could see plenty of value at triple-figure prices...
Of the shorter ones, I couldn't leave out Jim Furyk. He was a regular play of mine in this event for years but regrettably I gave up on him when he finally won it two years ago. He's somewhat pedestrian in a finish nowadays but he's in fine fettle at present and it's very hard to envisage him not contending again. He was in the final pairing on Sunday when defending the title twelve months ago.
I didn't get anywhere near as much on Zach Johnson as I wanted to and he's only a small winner for me. He's short enough now but I've got him onside at [50.0] and over to cover stakes and a bit besides.
Brian Gay demolished the field three years ago, smashing the event record and winning by ten strokes. Recent winners, Mark Wilson and George McNeill appear overlooked and so does Robert Garrigus, considering he's already finished runner-up twice this season and that he's won the Children's Miracle Network Classic, also played on Bermuda.
Chad Campbell and Tim Herron have shown glimpses of form of late and both were in a tie for 2nd after day one last year. Chad drifted away to a tie for 14th but Lumpy hung about well and finished tied for 4th. And last but not least, this venue has always looked ideal for Canadian veteran Stephen Ames. He's in woeful form but so was Herron twelve months ago and at [280.0], it wasn't expensive to get him onside.
There were another half a dozen at huge odds I could have easily added but for now that's it. I think!
RBC Heritage Selections
Jim Furyk @ [20.0]
Zach Johnson @ an average of just over [50.0]
Brian Gay @ [100.0]
Mark Wilson @ [110.0]
George McNeil @ [180.0]
Robert Garrigus @ [180.0]
Chad Campbell @ [250.0]
Stephen Ames @ [280.0]
Time Herron @ an average of [340.0]
I'll be back on Thursday or Friday with the In-Play Blog.
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