With Jordan Spieth spending the week in a darkened room wondering just what went wrong at the 12th at Augusta, the PGA Tour rumbles into Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage.
Strong Masters’ form has usually proven about as reliable as Arsenal seeing out a game in this tournament and it was never on Masters’ Champ Danny Willett’s radar to pitch up here a week after his first Major title.
But players who were on the premises without shooting the lights out and a few more who had the weekend off have traditionally fared well in South Carolina a week later.
And there’s plenty of those among the seven players you’re backing at noon on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s tee-off at Hilton Head Island.
1. Jason Day
The Aussie is an infrequent visitor to Harbour Town with the last of his four appearances coming two years ago and a T9 behind Brandt Snedeker in 2011 is his best run there so far.
Never really caught fire at Augusta when one of the favs, finishing T10 after the World No 1 posted four rounds in the 70s.
A links test shouldn’t bother him but having to plot around this course rather than his natural boom from the boxes mightn’t fully play to his strengths. There no denying he’s one of the top and most consistent players on the planet at the moment.
2. Bryson DeChambeau
With his matinee idol name and a dress sense firmly rooted in the 1920s, golf’s ‘next big thang’ rocks up at Harbour Town on his pro debut after a respectable T-21 in Augusta – his last tournament as an amatuer.
The physics major with the custom-made, single-length irons, has already made the cut in six of the seven pro events he’s played to date. So dropping the (A) after his name shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Whether his game is suited to a Hilton Head Island links test only time will tell. But expect to hear and see a lot more of BDC from now on.
3. Billy Horschel
The man who gave up the Mr Angry moniker to Patrick Reed posted three days of solid shooting at Augusta, where he hovered in mid-div without ever really threatening.
Horschel’s had three run-outs in the last three years on this course with a T9 on debut the high point. Being an also-ran at the Masters hasn’t stopped players here before and his two Top 10s at the Farmers Insurance Open and Honda Classic give some evidence that his game is in reasonably good shape. But this links course offers a different challenge.
4. Luke Donald
It’s odd to see the words ‘Luke’ and ‘Donald’ being backed for a golf tournament again but the ‘Donald’ as he’s probably never been called, has some serious course form at Hilton Head Island.
Had to suffer the indignity of being sacked by his caddie John McLaren last year after some poor performances but his last seven visits to this event have seen the Englishman record five Top 3 finishes. Not bad considering his last eight starts this season hasn’t seen him grace the Top 20.
The former World Number One is without a win on Tour since 2012 and missed last week’s Masters after falling to 90 in the World rankings. If ever a career-reviving performance was needed, this former Scottish Open winner could find it in Harbour Town.
5. Paul Casey
A final-round 67 saw the rejuvenated Englishman finish T4 at Augusta wondering what might have been after a second round 77 undid a lot more good work on the opening day.
Casey has more or less said he can’t be arsed playing on the European Tour to reach the qualifying criteria for Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup side, so it leaves him free for more bank-building Stateside.
Finished 11th on debut here in 2009 but is an infrequent visitor with just a 22nd and 18th place finish in two start since then. If there’s an angle though, he has John McLaren, on the bag, who guided Luke Donald to plenty of Top 5 finishes here before.
6. Brandt Snedeker
The World No 15 has shown some consistency this season and posted a T10 in the season’s first Major at Augusta with four solid – if unspectacular – rounds in the 70s.
Strong runs early this term when close-up in the Hyudai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii eventually saw him getting his head in front at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Sits third in the Fed Ex Championship and despite only troubling the Top 20 once in four subsequent starts since 2011, Snedeker has a few repeat wins on his CV which augurs well for those who’ve backed him based on his previous course win here.
7. Branden Grace
The South African hasn’t quite caught fire this season but showed up nicely on his RBC debut last year when seventh to Jim Furyk. Grace is a proven links specialist and after getting his eye in here in 2015, can be expected to improve again.
His links credentials are strong with the three-course 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the 2012 Volvo Golf Championship in his native South Africa already on his trophy mantlepiece. He also finished second in a play-off to Phil Mickelson at the 2013 Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Missed the weekend at Augusta but that has never been a hindrance to winners here before. Could be overpriced in an arena that will play to his strengths.