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Ben Everill's RSM Classic preview

The last PGA Tour event of the calendar year brings with it a likely shootout on St. Simons Island, Georgia as players look to make their last push for FedExCup points before the holiday break at The RSM Classic.

Sea Island Golf Club hosts via its Seaside and Plantation Courses with both used in the opening rounds before play switches exclusively to Seaside for the weekend. The tournament has been running since 2010, with this rotation in play since 2015. 

Seaside plays at 7,005 yards as a par-70 and has the oldest TifEagle greens on Tour. Plantation is just 7,060 yards with four par-5s on a par-72 layout.

In the seven editions with Plantation in the rotation the highest winning total was 17-under once. It’s been between 19 and 22 under in all others. 

Looking at the numbers, one golf cliché rings very true this week. The layouts of the RSM Classic are definitely second shot courses with the approach game clearly the focus ahead of distance. 

Strokes Gained: Approach is clearly a metric to watch. Last season the top eight on the leaderboard were all inside the top 11 of SG: Approach on the week. Six of the last seven champions were in the top 10 in Greens In Regulation (GIR). 

Digging into that a little deeper we will highlight GIR Percentage from 100-125 yards (15%), 125-150 yards (21%) and 150-175 yards (20%) which accounted for 56% of all approach shots a year ago. 

It’s one thing to hit the greens, it’s another to take advantage. On the putting side of the coin Birdie or Better Conversion Rate is another key metric at Sea Island as is Rounds in the 60s as players know you need four low rounds to contend. 

With the birdie or bust attitude, Scrambling becomes paramount to retaining momentum. Six of last seven winners were inside the top five in scrambling on the way to victory. Tyler Duncan made just one bogey all week to tie the record. 

Latest RSM Classic odds


In recent times the top of the board hasn’t been the place to look at The RSM Classic with three of the last six winners 150/1 or longer. But with the WD of last start winner Tony Finau the top tier represents opportunity. 

Brian Harman (18/1), Seamus Power (20/1), Jason Day (22/1) and Tom Hoge (22/1) all bring factors worth considering. 

Harman is a local at Sea Island and was runner up a few weeks ago in Mexico. He has two top 15s at RSM in his last five attempts. 

Power leads the FedExCup at this early stage after a win in Bermuda and T3 in Mexico. A year ago, he was T4 at RSM. 

Day, a former world No.1, has been trending of late with four straight results of T21 or better. He was T12 two years ago at the RSM. 

Hoge, a winner at Pebble Beach last season, was T4 at RSM a year ago and has four top 15s already this season. 

Using the key stats below we see Harman looks strong in scrambling while Day has completely turned his approach game from one season to the next. The Aussie is a biased favourite in my eyes this week but he will still need to lift from 125-150 yards and make more putts than he has been of late. 

Power’s numbers don’t impress other than his work on the greens and ability to score despite not having his best iron and wedge game of late. 

The most solid numbers belong to Hoge who missed the cut in Mexico as a favoured player but could replicate Finau by winning in his next start afterwards. 

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KEY STAT RANKINGS (This season / Last season)

Strokes Gained: Approach

Hoge 3rd / 11th, Day 9th / 145th, Harman 48th / 66th, Power 201st / 117th.

Best of rest in Field ’23: Hank Lebioda 7th, Nick Hardy 8th, Russell Knox 16th, Matt Kuchar 17th, Brian Stuard 18th, Davis Riley 20th. 

Best of rest in Field ’22: Russell Knox 25th.

Greens In Regulation (GIR) 

Hoge 9th / 101st, Day 19th / 146th, Harman 20th / 71st, Power 65th / 27th.

Best of rest in Field ’23: Akshay Bhatia 4th, Andrew Novak 4th, Sean O’Hair 10th, Cameron Percy 15th.

Best of rest in Field ’22: Russell Knox 4th, Taylor Pendrith 10th, Luke List 15th, Hayden Buckley 15th.

GIR Percentage 100-125 yards 

Day 12th / 143rd, Harman 59th / 46th, Hoge 81st / 129th, Power 134th / 77th. 

Best of rest in Field ’23: Francesco Molinari 1st, Davis Riley 10th, Seung-Yul Noh 14th, Sam Ryder 15th.

Best of rest in Field ’22: Brandon Wu 1st, Doc Redman 3rd, Ryan Armour 4th, Nick Watney 6th, Francesco Molinari 11th. 

GIR Percentage 125-150 yards

Hoge 35th / 150th, Power 49th / 52nd, Harman 71st / 67th, Day 90th / 91st.

Best of rest in Field ’23: Sung Kang 1st, Francesco Molinari 1st, Justin Rose 5th, Doc Redman 11th, Nick Hardy 13th, Matt Kuchar 14th. 

Best of rest in Field ’22: Justin Rose 1st, Aaron Rai 3rd, Ryan Armour 5th, Russell Knox 8th, Nick Hardy 11th, Kevin Kisner 12th, Henrik Norlander 14th, Brandon Wu 15th. 

GIR Percentage 150-175 yards

Harman 21st / 71st, Day 31st / 53rd, Hoge 78th / 120th, Power 112th / 62nd.

Best of rest in Field ’23: Jacob Bridgeman 3rd, Alex Smalley 9th. 

Best of rest in Field ’22: Henrik Norlander 3rd, Brian Stuard 4th, Russell Knox 6th, Adam Svensson 9th, Denny McCarthy 13th, Dylan Wu 15th. 

Putting: Birdie or Better Conversion 

Power 30th / 53rd, Harman 63rd / 154th, Hoge 71st / 58th, Day 117th / 34th.

Best of rest in Field ’23: David Lingmerth 5th, Brian Gay 8th, Taylor Montgomery 10th, Joseph Bramlett 11th, Rory Sabbatini 16th.

Best of rest in Field ’22: Danny Lee 14th, Davis Riley 20th, Trey Mullinax 22nd, Justin Rose 23rd, Rory Sabbatini 25th.

Rounds in the 60s 

Day 5th / 154th, Power 23rd / 62nd, Hoge 32nd / 3rd, Harman 49th / 7th. 

Best of rest in Field ’23: Andrew Putnam 1st, Patrick Rodgers 2nd, Joel Dahmen 3rd, Will Gordon 5th, Greyson Sigg 5th, Justin Lower 5th, Taylor Montgomery 5th. 

Best of rest in Field ’22: Sahith Theegala 1st, Davis Riley 3rd, Keith Mitchell 6th, Scott Stallings 7th, Adam Svensson 7th, Andrew Putnam 15th. 


Harman 7th / 28th, Day 23rd / 83rd, Hoge 77th / 16th, Power 140th / 27th. 

Best of rest in Field ’23: Matt Kuchar 4th, Brian Gay 6th, Andrew Putnam 8th, Camilo Villegas 9th, Justin Rose 15th. 

Best of rest in Field ’22: Matt Kuchar 2nd, Andrew Putnam 6th, Denny McCarthy 9th, JT Poston 10th. 

Don’t blink on the fact Taylor Montgomery (25/1) and Andrew Putnam (35/1) pop up a few times in the key stats from the mid-tier in the outright market but let’s try to get a little deeper into the odds. 


With a field this open this week we can look at the 40/1 mark as a starting spot for sleepers and first up is a couple of veterans who could surprise. 

Justin Rose 40/1

The former FedExCup and U.S. Open champion is coming off a T9 in Houston and was 12th at RSM a year ago. Rose is deadly from 125-150 yards and if his scrambling holds up and enough putts drop, he could be blooming come Sunday. 

Matt Kuchar 40/1

In three starts this season the former PLAYERS champion has three top 30s. In 10 attempts at The RSM Classic he’s made eight cuts with five top 25s (one top 10). While a win might be a stretch, don’t be afraid to back him in match ups or each way markets. 

Davis Riley 40/1

Previous RSM Classic results of 76th and a missed cut certainly don’t bring much confidence but Riley’s six top 10s last season still hold some water when you combine them with his approach game and conversion rates. Dropped a 64 last week in Houston.

Nick Hardy 60/1

A T63 a year ago leaves Hardy out of the top tiers but his approach game from the 125-150 mark makes him someone to consider. 


Francesco Molinari 90/1

A former Open champion who leads the Tour in approaches from 100-150 yards this season. Call in a nostalgia play if you want but the weather might turn cold and that won’t bother this former DP World Tour regular. 

Russell Knox 100/1

Has made five of seven cuts at The RSM Classic but a T20 three years ago remains his best result. Despite this Knox sparks up thanks to his approach numbers last season and the fact he’s improved in each of his last four starts this season. 

Good luck with all your selections!

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