The Law of Hilton Head states that any player who was in contention at the Masters last Sunday should not be backed in the following week. Dustin Johnson and Francesco Molinari are first and second favourites for the RBC Heritage but must be ignored for betting purposes because they were right in the mix to win the first major championship of the season. They could not get the job done at Augusta National where Tiger Woods won the fifth green jacket of his career.
His odds have plummeted for the calendar year Grand Slam and he is back on track to overhaul Jack Nicklaus’s tally of 18 majors. The USPGA Championship and US Open are being played on courses where Woods has won in the past so two more wins during 2019 in the weeks that matter most would not be a huge surprise. He would then arrive at Royal Portrush for the Open with the chance of becoming the first player to win all the majors in the same season.
Woods’ distance control in the Masters was excellent and for the most part his driver stayed in the bag. It was his course knowledge and experience that counted as much as his play. Woods plotted his way around Augusta last week and let other contenders make the mistakes. Molinari found the water twice on the back nine and it’s strange that he is playing this week. He may have contractual obligations to turn up but Molinari can’t win this week so soon after the pressure of trying to win a major.
Johnson may be in a better frame of mind because he came well off the pace during the fourth round of the Masters. He was never in contention until a run of birdies on the back nine took him close to the top of the leader board. However, Johnson could not pick up the shot on the 18th hole that would have reduced the winner’s lead from two to one shot. The Law of Hilton Head may take a blow because Johnson could bounce back and win the tournament.
The Heritage was first played in 1969 and the Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head has always been the host. It is now firmly established as the first tournament after the US Masters. Harbour Town is a short course and primarily a test of accuracy with some of the smallest greens on tour placing a premium on sound iron play. As a seaside course it is exposed if the wind blows when scores increase. In any other week Molinari would have a decent profile but not this time.
Tommy Fleetwood played well over the four days of the Masters but never quite got into contention. This week’s host course is right up his street so he could win his first professional event on the PGA Tour. Fleetwood excels on courses that require straight hitting and finding the greens in the correct number of shots. If his Masters hangover is not severe he has the game to win this tournament.
Jim Furyk did not get an invite to the Masters but he has been playing well. Furyk is the Heritage’s all time money leader and has two wins and eight top 10s in total. He is first for fairways hit, sixth in proximity to the hole, sixth in scrambling and third in adjusted scoring. After the wonders of Woods players are back in business and Furyk will have benefitted from the rest. He will be mentally and physically more refreshed than the other contenders which gives him a great chance in the 2019 Heritage.
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All Time: 1981.01
Year To Date: 243.92