The Preview: RSM Classic – Golf Australia Magazine

Closing out the year with a field lacking significant numbers of highly ranked players, this event does tend to create some interesting golf in part because of the courses at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia and with many PGA Tour members making their home in the area.
There have been six play-offs in 12 years at this event and a number of interesting prospects on the player front even though some are fighting their way back after dropping from the upper echelons of the world rankings, while others are on their way up.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: It is another case of a defending champion who can’t actually defend the title this week on the PGA Tour even if he were so inclined.
Now a LIV golfer with a much higher bank balance after his role on the Dustin Johnson led 4 Aces, Talor Gooch won his maiden PGA Tour title here last year.
RIGHT: He won’t be in St Simmons Island to defend his title, but Talor Gooch triumphed here in 2021. PHOTO: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.
The American fired a final round 64 to reach the tournament record scoring mark set by Kevin Kisner and a two shot win over the fast finishing Mackenzie Hughes of Canada.
COURSES: The Sea Island Resort offers something for the golf course architecture devotees with its two layouts that share host duties this week.
The Plantation and Seaside courses are both in play over the first two days before Seaside takes on solo hosting duties over the weekend.
Tom Fazio redesigned the Seaside Course that was originally laid out by Charles Allison and Harry Colt, while Davis Love and his brother Mark renovated the Plantation in 2019, the par-70 sprouting from nine holes designed by Walter Travis before Dick Wilson worked on the property in the 1960s.
The Seaside Course measures a tick over 7,000 yards, while the Plantation is fractionally longer and plays to a par of 72.
RELATED: So-called expert tips for this week
PRIZEMONEY: US$8,100,000
PLAYERS TO WATCH: There is some major winning pedigree in Georgia this week, with Davis Love III joined by Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Jason Day.
Day is of high interest as he continues to work towards getting back to the top of the game having rebuilt his swing and forgone an equipment contract in recent years.
The Queenslander is one of the few bigger name Aussie men not coming home over the next fortnight for the PGA and Open, but he is clearly working hard at his game as evidenced by his four consecutive top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a T16 last week in Houston.
Molinari is another major winner who presents as an interesting study after playing little golf for a period in the early days of COVID and moving to America from his European base.
The Italian has been playing plenty of late, but consistency has been lacking, something the 2018 Open Champion was renowned for when he reached fifth on the world rankings.
Seamus Power has taken advantage of the less star studded fields of late on the PGA Tour and will again be a chance here this week, as will Mackenzie Hughes who was runner-up here last year, won here in 2016 and recently claimed another PGA Tour title.
It would be remiss not to mention Kevin Kisner when looking at this event. The 2015 winner inevitably bobs his head up here and although not in the best of form, seems to find something to get in the mix each year.
72-HOLE RECORD: 260 (Kevin Kisner, 2015 and Talor Gooch, 2021)
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No Australian has won the event.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Jason Day, Brett Drewitt and Cameron Percy.
TV TIMES*
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 4am – 7am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 4am – 7am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 5am – 8am)
*AEDT, check local guides

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