Starts: 15th April 2021
Course: Harbour Town Golf Links, South Carolina
Par: 71 (36-35)
Length: 7,121 yards
2020 Champion: Webb Simpson
Used Since: 1969
Rough: Bermuda (0.75 inch)
Greens: TifEagle Bermuda (12.5 stimp)
Water Hazards: On 7 holes
Par 5's: 2nd, 5th and 18th
Premium on: Accurate approach play
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
This event was played in June last year. Treat last year's results with caution as the course was softer.
The forecast is mixed this week with rain possible on three days.
Max 11mph winds forecast
Max 9mph winds forecast
Max 8mph winds forecast
Max 8mph winds forecast
We saw a tournament record winning score last year of -22. Jim Furyk won with a score of -18 in 2015 but other than that, winning scores here from 2010 to 2019 were between 9 and 14 under par.
Only two players in the last thirteen years have won on their debut in this event. Of the ten players who had competed here prior to winning in the past 13 years, only one did so without having previously recorded a top-25 finish. That was Graeme McDowell, who obviously has significant pedigree on narrow, wind exposed courses.
We should treat Graeme as the exception to the rule as previous experience here counts for a lot. To emphasise that point, Luke Donald recorded an incredible SEVEN top-3 finishes in NINE years between 2009 and 2017, while Davis Love III is a FIVE time winner here.
Only one of the last five champions had posted a top 60 finish in their last start prior to winning here. Recent form isn't essential.
The world ranking of the past five champions has been 9-111-46-73-14. Winners are generally inside the top 100.
Between 2000 and 2011, American golfers dominated, winning nine of the twelve tournaments. However, since 2012 only four Americans have prevailed.
There are trends with another Pete Dye designed course, TPC Sawgrass. Home of The Players Championship, Sawgrass also demands accuracy off the tee and challenges players visually, as Dye likes to do.
Certain players have excellent records at both venues. A few notables include:
Davis Love III is a multiple winner of both tournaments
Jim Furyk has won the Heritage twice and been runner up twice at Sawgrass
Matt Kuchar has won at both venues
Webb Simpson has won both
Si Woo Kim has won The Players Championship and has a runner up finish at Hilton Head.
SG: Off The Tee
The last four winners have ranked 54-79-10-107
The last five winners have ranked 46-87-98-89-59. In general, distance is unimportant.
The last five winners have ranked 54-99-11-85-83. Accuracy off the tee isn't essential either.
The last four winners have ranked 8-23-10-3. Approach play is key.
SG: Around The Green
The last four winners have ranked 60-11-96-18.
The last five winners have ranked 4-5-22-14-11. A hot putter is essential
The 3rd and 4th holes have ranked inside the top four hardest holes in each of the past two years. The par 3 14th hole is also traditionally a hole ranked amongst the three hardest on the course.
The par 5's (2nd, 5th and 15th) play as the easiest holes. The easiest hole outside of those is the short par 4 9th.
Given the last couple of holes are exposed to the water, the severity of the wind often determines how difficult these holes play. The 18th hole played as the hardest hole on the course in 2019 but was only 6th hardest last year. The par 3 17th plays over par more often than not.
Fast or Slow Start
Webb Simpson started fast last year and was never outside the top 3 after each round. However, it is possible to get off to a slow start here and still win. In 2019 C.T. Pan opened with a level par 71 and found himself 6 shots behind first round leader Shane Lowry.
In 2018, Satoshi Kodaira was a full 9 strokes behind the first round lead after he opened with a 2 over par 73. Similarly, in 2017, Wesley Bryan was in 35th position after round one. In fact, in the last eleven runnings of the Heritage the winner has started with a score in the 70s five times.
Round 3 leaders have a very poor record here in recent years and there have been some stunning wins from players off the pace. Seven of the last eight winners have come from at least 2 shots back, and in six of those years the winner came from three shots back.
Even more impressively, in 2018 and 2011 Kodaira and Brand Snedeker came from six shots back, while in 2004 Stewart Cink overturned a NINE shot deficit.
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