Five things to watch this week at the RBC Heritage Classic
Five things I'll be looking for at the RBC Heritage Classic at par-71, 7,101-yard Harbour Town:
1. Brandt Snedeker could win by multiple strokes this week. That might be hard to believe in light of his scattershot, final-round 75 at the Masters, but he may have merely been the victim of his own inaction, i.e. not being in contention for a few months due to his strained intercostal muscle. Snedeker was not the same guy who finished 3, T23, T2, 2, 1 to start the season, but if he hasn't reinjured the rib muscle, and if he uses his Masters disappointment as fuel to become "mad decisive," he could back up his 2011 RBC Heritage win with another.
2. I'll be watching Jason Day to see how he handles disappointment. Day, 25, seems destined to win a Masters after his T2 at Augusta in 2011, and a solo third Sunday. He knows he could have gotten into the Cabrera-Scott playoff or won outright had he not made four late bogeys Saturday and Sunday. Where does he go from here? Day came back from his near-miss at Augusta two years ago by starting 69-65 at Harbour Town, but sputtered on the weekend and finished T9. He knows better than anyone that he's due (or probably overdue) for his second Tour win.
3. He might be hard to detect in his camouflage clothing, but you will still see plenty of the man who coined the word "compatibate" and rode his driver like it was a horse at the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla: Boo Weekley. Although he has fought injuries and will turn 40 in July, the folksy, likeable Weekley is enjoying a mini-comeback: runner-up at the Tampa Bay Championship, T8 in Puerto Rico before that. He has made nearly $850,000 so far in 2013, and is the last man to successfully defend his title at Harbour Town, having won there in 2007 and '08.
4. Luke Donald will not stay dormant forever, and I expect he will contend for the plaid jacket at Harbour Town, where he lost in a playoff to Snedeker in 2011. Yes, Donald is coming off a rather blah T25 at the Masters, but a better predictor for how he might do at the RBC Heritage is his T4 at Tampa last month. The only thing that the charming, scenic Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbour Town has in common with sprawling Augusta National is they both have 18 holes.
5. Graeme McDowell is also due to win again and will do so now that he's settling down. He recently moved into a new home at Lake Nona that was designed by his fiancé, Kristin Stape, and opened up a bar called Nona Blue. Now it's time for McDowell to start turning all those solid outings-T3 at WGC-Cadillac, T9 at Honda-into some actual victories. Cozy Harbour Town should fit him nicely.
Thursday Apr 18 – Sunday Apr 21, 2013
Harbour Town Golf Links -- Hilton Head, SC
Course Par Value: 71
Course Yardage: 7,101
Groups to Watch
8:00 am: Marc Leishman, Webb Simpson, Jason Day
12:30 pm Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner
12:40 pm: Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Tim Clark