Golf Glance: Jon Rahm, strong field head to elevated RBC Heritage

Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Field Level Media’s Golf Glance provides weekly news and storylines from each of the major North American golf tours.

LAST TOURNAMENT: Masters Tournament (Jon Rahm)
THIS WEEK: RBC Heritage, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links (Par 71, 7,191 yards)
Purse: $20 million (Winner: $3.6 million)
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth
FedEx Cup leader: Jon Rahm
TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS)
Streaming on ESPN+: Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Twitter: @RBC_Heritage
NOTES: The RBC Heritage carries a $20 million purse as an elevated event for the first time. … It marks the eighth elevated event of the season as part of the PGA Tour’s new designated events schedule. The first seven were won by just four golfers: Rahm (three), Scottie Scheffler (two), Kurt Kitayama and Sam Burns. … Once an optional post-Masters tour stop, the Heritage will welcome Scheffler for the first time and Rahm for the second time as 17 of the top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field. … World No. 3 Rory McIlroy withdrew from the field Monday. World No. 5 Cameron Smith plays for LIV Golf and world No. 8 Will Zalatoris is out for the rest of the season after undergoing back surgery. … Rahm’s victory at the Masters was already his fourth of the calendar year. The only player in PGA Tour history to win an event the week after winning the Masters was Bernhard Langer at the 1985 Heritage. … Rahm will play the first two rounds with Spieth and Adam Scott. Spieth defeated Patrick Cantlay in a playoff to win last year’s title; it ended a winless streak of just over one year, and Spieth has not won a tournament since. … Jim Furyk and Ernie Els of the PGA Tour Champions are in the field on sponsor exemptions. Furyk won the Heritage in 2010 and 2015. Els is playing his first non-major on tour since the 2020 Heritage. The field also includes 58-year-old Davis Love III, who’s won the event five times.
BEST BETS: Scheffler (+750 at BetMGM) already has a pair of wins this year and finished T10 in his attempt to defend his 2022 Masters title. Because Harbour Town features narrow fairways and the smallest greens on tour, the past two winners (Spieth and Stewart Cink) led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. Scheffler leads the tour in that category this season. … Rahm (+850) went 71-67-66-68 for 33rd place in his only RBC Heritage start in 2020. Rahm ranks third on tour in SG: Tee to Green and fourth in SG: Approach this season. … Cantlay (+1200) has finished third, T4, T19, T9 and T14 in his past five starts overall. Counting last year’s playoff loss to Spieth, he has three top-three finishes and four top-10s in five career Heritage starts. … Collin Morikawa (+1800) is fourth on the board after contending for much of the weekend at Augusta and tying for 10th. He placed seventh here in 2021, where he started with a 65 but shot a final-round 72. … Spieth (+2000) made nine birdies and three bogeys for a final-round 66 at the Masters. Had he parred No. 18 instead of bogeying, he would have tied Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka for second. … Justin Thomas (+2500) carries good value after careening out of Masters contention at the conclusion of the second round and missing the cut. He is 4-for-4 in made cuts at Harbour Town with two top-11 finishes. … Russell Henley (+4500) is coming off a T4 at the Masters, where he shot under par in each of his final three rounds, and has the approach game for Harbour Town. Though he doesn’t rank as highly this season, he was second on tour in SG: Approach in 2021-22 and sixth in 2020-21. He finished ninth at the 2021 RBC Heritage.

NEXT TOURNAMENT: Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Avondale, La., April 20-23
LAST TOURNAMENT: DIO Implant LA Open (Ruoning Yin)
THIS WEEK: Lotte Championship, Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, April 12-15
Course: Hoakalei Country Club (Par 72, 6,303 yards)
Purse: $2M (Winner: $300,000)
Defending Champion: Hyo Joo Kim
Race to the CME Globe leader: Lydia Ko
TV: Wednesday-Saturday, 7-11 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Streaming on and NBC Sports App
NOTES: This is the final event before the first major of the LPGA season, the Chevron Championship next week outside Houston. … World No. 7 Brooke Henderson is the highest-ranked player in the field. She won the tournament back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. … Defending champion Kim, ranked ninth in the world, has finished inside the top 10 of all three of her 2023 starts. … Cristie Kerr, 45, is in the field. She won the event in 2017 and hasn’t won on tour since October of that year in Malaysia. … The field also includes two native Hawaiians, Allisen Corpuz and Mariel Galdiano, the latter playing on a sponsor’s invite.
NEXT TOURNAMENT: The Chevron Championship, The Woodlands, Texas, April 20-23

Champions Tour
LAST TOURNAMENT: The Galleri Classic (David Toms)
NEXT TOURNAMENT: Invited Celebrity Classic, Irving, Texas, April 21-23

–Field Level Media

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