Once again we had an emotional victory on the PGA Tour, this time from 41-year-old Camilo Villegas. The 5-time winner lost his 22-month old baby girl to tumors on her brain and spine in July of 2020. Villegas and his wife Maria started a charitable foundation called “Mia’s Miracles” in honor of their daughter which supports children and families that are enduring similar medical struggles.
There is no doubt that he earned his first win on the PGA Tour since the 2014 Wyndham Championship by shooting back to back 65s over the weekend in Bermuda. He was able to hold off terrific performances from Alex Noren and Matti Schmid. This win gives him the stability of the PGA Tour card for the 2024 season. Overall, it was a pretty great weekend for the playbook with 4 players finishing in the Top 10 including the winner, Camilo Villegas.
The major difference in the Fall schedule from last year to this year is that this portion of the schedule is not the start of the new season. The new season will start at the beginning of 2024 which makes sense. All of the seasons will take place inside the calendar year spread over two years.
The RSM Classic is the last full field event of the 2023 calendar year. The only event remaining before we ring in 2024 is the Hero World Challenge and that is a no cut event. This event should not be looked past, the tournament has come down to a playoff in four of its last seven editions.
This tournament is played on two courses at the Sea Island Golf Club. First, we have the Seaside course which is a par 70 and measures out to just 7,005 yards from the championship tees. Then the Plantation course, a par 72, that stretches out to 7,060 yards. Both of these courses are played on really fast Bermuda grass and they are true ocean tracks on the southern tip of the island. You’ll see all the traditional links course staples like ocean vistas, tidal creeks, dunes and salt marshes throughout the course. Each of the players will play both the Plantation and Seaside courses over Thursday and Friday but then the tournament will be decided on the Seaside course over the weekend.
When you have short tracks like these, accuracy is usually the first thing I’m looking for when selecting my players. The history of success at the RSM has not shown distance off the tee to be as important as other statistical markers. For example, I will look closely at Strokes Gained: Approach and Scrambling. We want these guys to fire the ball in there nice and tight but when they do miss, they need to be able to get themselves out of trouble. These players will go low this weekend, the winners over the last three years have all been 19 under par. The factors I’ll be looking at when picking players this weekend, course history, current form, Strokes Gained: Approach, Greens in Regulation, Birdie or Better Percentage, Scrambling, and Strokes Gained: Putting.
The weather looks to be pretty wet to start the tournament but by Friday afternoon things should dry up. So, I wouldn’t blame you, if you targeted Thursday morning, Friday afternoon tee times. Temperatures will be in the upper 60s and low 70s throughout the weekend. The winds are projected to be in the double digits throughout the weekend in Sea Island.
Good luck this weekend.