Head of the Class

Mike Glasscott
One of the favorite stops on TOUR, Hilton Head Island welcomes the RBC Heritage and defending champion Graeme McDowell this week

Southern Comfort

One of the favorite stops on TOUR, Hilton Head Island welcomes the RBC Heritage and defending champion Graeme McDowell this week

Graeme McDowell’s par on the first playoff hole saw him defeat fellow U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson to claim the 2013 RBC Heritage Championship. McDowell and Simpson, both U.S. Open champions, both missed putts on the 72nd hole that would have given each of them the title. Both players finished nine-under-par 275 and into the playoff. G-Mac’s two-putt par on No. 18 in the playoff saw him secure his second victory on TOUR as Simpson couldn’t get up and down from just off the green. England’s Luke Donald and American Kevin Streelman rounded out the podium as they finished two shots back on 277.

It was interesting to see the two of the last three U.S. Open champions battling it out in separate groups on the back nine on Sunday but it wasn’t surprising. Both of these great champions have proven, with their major championship, that they can handle tough courses and less than optimum conditions. McDowell showed his mettle by firing the co-low-round of the day to force him into the playoff. Simpson, who began the day on nine-under, fired even par for his chance.

McDowell pounds fairways and his short game is where he makes his money and this week wasn’t any different. The one knock on G-Mac is that he hasn’t won enough for gamers but his record in majors last season shows that he has PLENTY of value. Last year, he was T12 (Masters), T2 (U.S. Open behind Simpson), T5 (The Open) and T11 (PGA) so that cannot be dismissed.  In 2013, he’s teed it up seven times and now adds a WIN to his T3 (WGC-Cadillac), T5 (WGC-Match Play) and T9 (Honda). Those are big events with big purses and he was present and accounted for in each of them. By his own admission, the Masters isn’t his cup of tea (MC) and we told you that before the tournament.

Looking down the road in 2013, I cannot dismiss him at Merion for the U.S. Open or The Open at Muirfield. As shown above, he gears his schedule up for the majors and the WGC events. He’s also getting married later this year and his new restaurant has not proved to be a distraction either. He looks to be in a great place upstairs and in the bag. Here’s more proof that missing a cut in a major should not be a barometer of where a player’s game currently is. His game set up PERFECTLY for this course and he took advantage after failing in his first three starts at Harbour Town.

With this victory, McDowell collects $1,044,000 and 500 FedExCup points.

Déjà vu All Over Again?

There have been 17 tournaments this season. After Americans won the first 14, the rest of the world, Scotland, Australia and Northern Ireland, have won the next three in a row.

In 2013 10 of the 16 stroke-play events this season the 54-hole leader (or co-leader) has gone on to victory. This is the fourth week in a row where the 54-hole leaders have not held up their end of the bargain as Charley Hoffman (two shots) slipped to sixth place.

The winners on TOUR have been Johnson (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods THRICE (37), Mickelson (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32) and now G-Mac (33).  The young folks (30 and younger) have six victories; the 30-somethings now have nine victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have their two wins. This week’s “great hope” for the Old folks was Jerry Kelly, 43, as he finished in fifth place.


Webb Simpson: He played bogey-free Thursday and Saturday and if you had any questions about his game, those should now be answered. For the week, he made just four bogeys and a double and was playing some great golf. After being cut in his last two tournaments and not breaking 73, Simpson showed that his game is turning the right direction as he matched his season-low round 65 on Saturday. He now adds T2 to his T5 and T6 finishes from February and has hit the top 25 seven times in 11 starts. He’s peaking at the right time for Quail Hollow, his home course, in two weeks. #oneanddone

Luke Donald: The world’s No. 6 player hits the top four for the second time in his last three events with this T3 finish. He also finished T4 at Tampa before his T25 last week at Augusta. In his last five starts here he now has a second, a T2, a pair of T3s and T37. This automatic selection this week should have helped you in multiple formats. It was nice to have a one-and-done pick actually contend…

Kevin Streelman: The back nine at Harbour Town is no picnic but someone forgot tell Streelman that as he played it six-under for the week and only carded two bogeys. He has now finished T3, MC, T21 and WIN in his last four tournaments on TOUR. This is his best four tournament stretch since 2011 so it’s fair to say his ball-striking is on right now. He’s now on your list for 2014 as he’s finished T3, T17 and T36 the last three years and shows that he’s getting better on this track.

Jerry Kelly: His T5 is his third T8 or better in his last eight trips around HHI and he has cemented his horse-for-course status. His third round 66 was his second-best round of 2013 and his first top 10. He also played well at Tampa so I’m seeing a pattern developing here.

Russell Henley: He jumped right into the mix in the first full-field event of 2013 with a W at the Sony Open but the rookie showed his chops this week by shaking off a first round 73 to finish T6 this week. It’s his first top 10 in his last nine events and it could have been better except for a double bogey on Saturday on No. 14. He’s eighth in the all-around ranking so he’s showing he’s not a flash-in-the-pan.

Chris Stroud: Every week on TOUR we have a player who hits the top 10 that comes from nowhere. Stroud’s last four events saw him finish MC, T38, T34 and T63 and he was 0-for-3 at Harbour Town. He only made eight bogeys this week so his game was obviously dialed in.

Charley Hoffman: The 54-hole leader by two shots fired a back nine 40 to drop into a tie for sixth place on Sunday. Hoffman backed up his T8 last year but his Sunday will haunt gamers who were riding his hot stretch of play. Hoffman hits the top 10 for the third time in nine events, including back-to-back weeks, on TOUR. More proof it’s just flat out hard to win on TOUR.

Mark Wilson: He’s now made six consecutive cuts on HHI as Wilson finished T9 this week. Wilson hadn’t teed it up since API in last March so I could see if he wasn’t on your radar this week. Wilson has played nine events and now has accumulated three top 11s.

Rory Sabbatini: Cemented his “horse-for-course” reputation on HHI as he finished in the top 17 for the fourth time in his last four starts with his T9 result. It would have been better than T9 if he hadn’t have carded TWO doubles on Saturday. Sabbatini hadn’t played since his T30 (Puerto Rico Open) and T27 (Tampa Bay) back-to-back finishes in mid-March. He’ll make more today than he had previously cashed ($88,009) in all of 2013.

Trevor Immelman: His best finish this season was T38 so he was DESTINED to be a factor this week and he was with T9. He’s now made five cuts in a row in the low country and this is the best of the lot. His 66 on Saturday was his second best round of the year and was his only round under par for the week.

Marc Leishman: His excellent play continued this week as he only made four bogeys heading into Sunday. Sadly, his back nine 39 on Sunday knocked him back into T9. That’s two weeks in a row in the top 10 (T4 Masters) so last week cannot be dismissed.

Richard H. Lee: He backed up his T13 at Valero last time out with T9 this week in his first time around HHI. This is his second top 10 of the season and fourth trip inside the top 25 in 11 events. His ball-striking is the key and he’s showing he can handle this level.

Jordan Spieth: Wow, another week, another top 10 for youngster from Texas (T9). The youth (Henley, Lee, Spieth) that finished in the top 10 this week is the EXCEPTION, not the rule, at HHI but it’s hard not to believe that this kid is for real. He’s now hit the top 10 three times in his last five events on TOUR. He was T2 in Puerto Rico, T7 at Tampa and T9 this week. It’s weird that his worse two finishes were in his home state of Texas. He could have even been better but his six pars and three bogeys on the final nine on Sunday knocked him back.

Billy Horschel: Another first-timer this week to hit the top 10 as Horschel continued his excellent 2013 with T9. That’s T2, T3 and T9 in his last three starts on TOUR. His bogey-double finish on Sunday will frustrate you but if you were told that he would hit the top 10 before the week started, you would have gladly taken it. Don’t be greedy, especially with young folks!

Camilo Villegas: Welcome to the Sunday column! This is his first top 10 since the BMW in 2011. He has now hit the top 18 in three of his last four events and is looking to regain the form that he was carrying in 2011. He had a top 20 last year at Zurich so he’ll be on the radar next week for sure!

Brendon de Jonge: Gamers will know that he’s a handful on Sundays and he didn’t disappoint this week with 75. He still found a way into the top 10 because he only made five bogeys and a double on the week. Two bogeys and the double were on the back nine Sunday. In his last three events de Jonge has posted T10, T22 and T9 this week and has made 11 of 13 cuts. He’s a season-long salary capper’s dream!

“Hey, what ever happened to…”

I take a look back at what happened to the chalk

Bill Haas: His T24 wasn’t as disappointing as his Sunday 76 to get there. He hit 18 greens on Thursday. Works for me. His solid 2013 marches on and I have no problem with him moving forward.

Jason Day: After his opening round 67, he looked dialed in and ready to go. He started well on the front nine both days of the weekend but matched those starts with dual 38s on the back. T30.

Jason Dufner/Matt Kuchar: Ho-hum T35s. Dufner and Kuchar both shot 70 on Sunday to move up 25 places. That should show you how difficult the conditions were to finish this event.

Jim Furyk: Ouch. He began the day T14 and with difficult conditions, gamers were licking their chops as he sat within striking distance at five-under. Sadly, Furyk fired 78 and dropped 28 spots to T42.

Brandt Snedeker: He and 21 other players were awarded the chance to play on the weekend after Jesper Parnevik’s five-foot par putt missed Saturday morning. He played the weekend 71-74 to cash you a check, albeit a very small one. After his Sunday at Augusta, I can’t say I’m shocked that he didn’t fire on his level this week.

Boo Weekley: Hey, it happens. Sometimes course history and form just don’t come together as we think it should. The fundamentals were there; the performance was not, hence why it’s called a projection.

Coming Wednesday:

Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at NOON ET at Rotoworld.com. We will be breaking down the field at the Zurich Classic and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget that you can follow Rob (https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (https://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter!

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