The RSM Classic represents the final official tournament of the year for the PGA TOUR. The fall swing used to be part of the FedEx Cup standings for the upcoming season but this year, it only works for reseeding purposes, so all the results gained here and over the last few months won’t flow into next year.
The event itself will be played at two courses due to the fading daylight, and it features a full 156-player field. Eleven of the world's top 50 golfers are in attendance, with last year’s winner Adam Svensson also in the field. Leading the betting odds at +1400 on DraftKings Sportsbook is Ludvig Aberg (who is still searching for his first PGA win). He’s followed closely by world No. 25 Russell Henley (+1600) and world No. 9 Brian Harman at +2000.
Even with two courses in play, this week will feature the regular PGA TOUR cutline, which means only the top-65 and ties will play after Friday.
Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia: Par 70, 7,055 yards
Plantation Course (Thursday/Friday only): Par 72, 7,058 yards
The tournament will once again feature two different courses. On Thursday and Friday, players will play the Seaside (the host course) and the Plantation course once each, and then the weekend players will play Saturday and Sunday on the Seaside Course only. The dual courses in play at this event always add an extra element to this event, as the weather draw can often play a factor in how the courses play on the different days. The Plantation Course carries four par 5s (compared to only two for the Seaside course) and is generally much less wind-exposed, meaning it has the potential to play up to two shots easier than the host course. Last year, we saw Sebastian Munoz open with a 60 on this easier venue, which gives you an idea of the kind of scoring available at this course. The Seaside course isn’t exactly tough either, as both of its par 5s will measure in under 570 yards in length, with eight to nine of the par 4s landing between 400-450 yards.
The Plantation Course typically plays as one of the easiest on the PGA TOUR and yielded a -1.561 stroke average in 2020, while the Seaside course played as the 16th-easiest at -1.1 strokes under par for the same year. Knowing which days your players will be on which course is important, and I’d suggest using the weather forecast to help you make decisions. Getting players with less breezy days on the Seaside course could be crucial to success.
The courses themselves are shorter in nature and generally favor players who rely on accuracy over power. Both are positioned near the sea and feature TifEagle Bermuda greens, although it’s only the Seaside Course that is directly exposed to the sea with its links-style setup. Many players who have had success at this event have also had success at other short seaside courses, like Hilton Head, Sedgefield and Waialae Country Club, which also feature Bermuda grass and shorter yardage.
Two of the last four winners here have done so with proficient weeks on approach, and last season, Talor Gooch won by multiple strokes at Sea Island after gaining 6.3 strokes on approach for the week. Last year, Canadian Adam Svensson won by two strokes but did most of his damage with the putter, gaining 9.3 strokes on the greens.
This is a short track, so there will be lots of birdie chances but players will also need to handle themselves well around these tricky green structures. Emphasize Bermuda putting specialists with great short iron proximity stats this week when possible.
2023 Weather Update: While the weekend forecast looks clear, the first couple of days should feature some rain and wind. The first day may start with medium to light rain, which seems likely to let up a bit as the day progresses. Wind is set to be constant all day and there is the possibility of gusts into the 15-20 mph range. Friday looks likely to start poorly (with more light rain) but the afternoon does look clearer. Sunny skies are set to break through around noon, with wind dying down in the late afternoon as well. It could mean a decent advantage forms for the late starters on Friday. There is always the possibility of stoppages as well, which could make wave stacking tricky, but for now, looking to potentially stack the late Friday starters for Classic and Showdown DFS is warranted.
Last 5 winners
2022—Adam Svensson -19 (over three players at -17)
2021—Talor Gooch -22 (over Mackenzie Hughes)
2020—Robert Streb -19 (over Kevin Kisner -18 playoff)
2019—Tyler Duncan -19 (over Webb Simpson playoff)
2018—Charles Howell III -19 (over Patrick Rodgers playoff)
- Seven of the last 13 winners had achieved a T7 or better result at either the RBC Heritage (Hilton Head) or the Sony Open (Waialae Country Club) at some point in their career before their win at The RSM.
- Four of the last seven winners had recorded a T6 or better in one of their last eight starts on the PGA TOUR before winning here.
- Three of the last four winners have been first-time winners on the PGA TOUR.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2022 Winner: Adam Svensson (19-under-par)
(2022 lead-in: 39/MC/59/69/54)
SG: OTT— 2.8
SG: APP— 2.5
SG: TTG— 6.2
SG: ATG— 0.9
SG: PUTT— 9.3
**We only have three measured rounds at the Seaside course to go off for data
- Svennson certainly had a decent week ball-striking in 2022, but did gain most of his damage on the greens, gaining 9.2 strokes putting for the week
- Gooch had one of the more dominant wins in 2021 we’ve seen at this event over the past decade. He gained multiple strokes on APP, ATG and PUTT, allowing him to cruise down the stretch to a three-shot win.
- In 2020, Robert Streb did most of his damage with his putter, and we have seen several winners get uber hot on these greens before, with 2016 winner Mackenzie Hughes gaining +6.2 strokes putting during the week of his win while actually losing strokes on his approach. Looking at putting percentages from 15 feet and out this week is something to consider, as we see a lot of putts made from longer distances at this event.
- Good approach play certainly sets a player up for success though, and in 2020, each of the top-9 players all gained strokes on approach for the week.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Webb Simpson ($7,200; best finish: second-2019, second-2011, third-2018): Simpson has a long history of playing well at this event, stretching all the way back to 2010. He finished solo third here in 2018, lost in a playoff in 2020 and was T8 at this venue last year. The venue plays to his strengths and even with his form currently lagging, he’s still a threat to challenge in 2022.
2. Kevin Kisner ($6,800; best finish: win-2015, 2nd-2021): Kisner won this event back in 2015, his first win on the PGA TOUR, and has finished T20 or better at this event/venue six times in his last eight visits —including a playoff loss in 2021. Kisner is a master of the shorter technical tracks and shouldn’t be overlooked despite his lack of results of late.
3. Keith Mitchell ($8,200; best finish: T12-2022, T14-2020): Mitchell has shown good upside at this venue, posting made cuts in five of his last six appearances at Sea Island. Two of his last four starts at this event have yielded top-15 finishes as well and he’s gained strokes on approach in five of his career RSM Classic starts.
4. Corey Conners ($9,900; best finish: T10-2021): Conners is a great short iron player and he’s excelled at similar tracks like Hilton Head and Waialae CC for the Sony Open. He’s taken the fall series off but has come into this event cold before and put up good results.
5. Denny McCarthy ($8,700; best finish: T8-2020): McCarthy is the prototypical great putter/iron player who tends to excel at these shorter courses. He’s coming off a great season and while he hasn’t played much of late, Sea Island is a place he’s landed multiple top-10 finishes in the past.
1. Matthias Schmid ($7,500; T3-T38): Schmid has been in great form of late and the young German bomber is starting to show he’s a name to keep an eye on in 2024. He’s finished top 3 in two of his last three starts and has been gaining multiple strokes on approach nearly every week.
2. Camilo Villegas ($7,700; win-2nd): Villegas posted the great comeback win last week, a week after finishing as the runner-up. It’s an incredible comeback story. He did gain 4.0 strokes on approach at the Sanderson Farms but has been exceptionally hot on the greens the last two weeks as well.
3. Vince Whaley ($7,200; T8-T59): Whaley has progressed nicely this fall, making five cuts in a row while landing three top-25 finishes. He’s not doing anything exceptionally well but has a solid all-around game and is putting with confidence.
4. Taylor Pendrith ($7,600; T8-T15): Pendrith is playing well with top-10 finishes in two of his last three starts. The Canadian has shown in the past he’s capable of going low when in form and was T15 at this event last season.
5. Ryan Moore ($7,100; T5-T38): Moore has had a nice fall resurgence as he tries to climb back into relevance. He’s gained the 10th most strokes over the last six weeks and has gained several wins at similar venues to Sea Island in his career.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Aberg train keeps rolling
While this hasn’t been an event dominated by big hitters, it’s still prudent to consider Aberg a great starting point for cash game lineups. He’s under 11k, which makes him easier to fit in and his impressive birdie rate likely keeps him inside the top 15 this week, even if his lack of course experience keeps him from grabbing a win. Further down, both Davis Thompson ($7,800) and Taylor Pendrith ($7,600) are big hitters who make sense to look at this week. Their salaries are ridiculously low considering what they’ve achieved the last few starts and make them good players to target for any lineups looking to build around Aberg and another top player like last week’s runner-up Alex Noren ($9,400).
Tournaments: Jaeger could excel
Jaeger ($8,800) has cooled off a little over his last couple of starts but his made-cut streak remains intact (15 starts in a row). The German is another player who could join the long list of first-time winners at this event and will be playing this venue/event for the fifth time in his career. For an approach game-based player with a great short game, Sea Island would make sense as a spot for him to excel. Further down, it always makes sense to keep an eye on Brandon Wu ($7,200) in events like this (shorter, seaside venue), as the American has a great hit rate for top 10 finishes at these types of venues. Matthew NeSmith ($7,000) and Kelly Kraft ($6,700) are a couple of other names to consider as we drift further down the salaries if you’re looking for low-owned names to take shots with in bigger fields.
MY PICK: Eric Cole ($9,000)
I’ve missed out on a couple of big weeks from Cole already this fall but there isn’t much room to justify a fade of him here. The American has been all over leaderboards of late, landing three top-five finishes already, including a 2nd place in his last start at the Zozo Championships over in Japan. Despite the big results and the fact his game sets up perfectly for a smaller, coastal-style setup, we can still get him for 9k flat in DFS — and are also able to back him at +3000 on the DraftKings Sportsbook as well.
While you could argue he’s at an experience disadvantage, having only played the RSM once before (T39 last year), it’s worth noting that three of the last four players to win this event have been first-time winners (with little course exposure) — and we can even go further back in time to when players like Kevin Kisner (2015), Mackenzie Hughes (2016) and Austin Cook (2017) grabbed their big breakthrough wins at Sea Island. Cole simply looks too cheap this week and with big names like Cameron Young and Ludvig Aberg back in the field and pushing salaries and odds down, now is a good time to jump back on the Cole train at better prices.
MY SLEEPER: Doc Redman ($6,500)
This feels like a great time to take a shot with a player who is well down the board in Doc Redman. The American came close to winning a couple of times early in his career but has slumped over the past couple of seasons. He’s still only 25 years of age and quite talented with his irons when he gets them firing. Last week on a similar setup in Bermuda, he landed a T13 finish — his best result in months — and showed improvement around the greens, an area he’s struggled with immensely at times.
If Redman keeps the momentum going, he’s well capable of repeating his feat from last week (top 20) and returning good value again for DFS. His game sets up perfectly for a shorter course like Sea Island, where wedge play and putting is key and he’s also had some of his best finishes (Barbasol, Wyndham, Palmetto) in this South Eastern section of the United States. Redman makes for a nice DFS value in big-field GPPs and a player to look to in the top 10/20 markets on the DraftKings Sportsbook this week as well.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.