RSM Classic Preview
What to Expect at the 2018 RSM Classic
Hall of Famer Davis Love III will host the season-ending RSM Classic at the historic Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia on November 15. The former US Ryder Cup captain moved to the area as a 13-year-old and still resides on Sea Island, where he co-owns a popular restaurant. His presence always helps attract a competitive field for the final event of the PGA Tour, but a prize purse north of $6 million is another clear selling point for some of golf’s leading stars.
Last year established pros such as Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner and Brian Harman were all in the mix on the final day, but rookie Austin Cook usurped the lot of them. The Arkansas native held his nerve to shoot a 3-under 67 to finish -21 overall and secure a four-stroke victory over J.J. Spaun, having fended off veterans Brian Gay, Chris Kirk, Kisner and Harman.
He birdied three of his last four holes in treacherous, windy conditions. “It was definitely exciting, real brutal with the wind,” Cook said. “I got off to a slow start but I was able to keep my head level and know there was a lot of golf to be played. With the wind and those conditions, a lot could happen.”
His victory will give hope to a number of rookies heading to Sea Island for this year’s tournament, but there will be plenty of top stars also vying for glory. Kisner and Kirk are both former champions, while the likes of Webb Simpson and Billy Horschel have secured runner-up finishes. Make sure to read this Bovada review before betting on the RSM Classic.
About the Course
The Seaside Course is a Tom Fazio marvel, after he redesigned the course initially laid out by 1920s design stars H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison. It hugs the southern tip of St. Simon’s Island and the conditions can become challenging if the wind is roaring off the sea. The first two rounds take place at the neighboring Plantation Course, which was redesigned by Rees Jones.
Love and his brother Mark will redesign this course once this year’s tournament is over. Their firm, Love Golf Design, has already begun the first phase of the redesign, which is part of a $25 million enhancement program at The Lodge at Sea Island.
“We are very excited to play a role in the enhancements taking place at The Lodge,” said Love. “Mark and I have been redesigning Plantation in our minds for more than 20 years as we have played it.” The plan is to draw on the course’s history and its original architecture, infusing the classic landscape with “timeless qualities golfers at all levels seem to enjoy”.
By the Numbers
For now, the par 70 Seaside Course has a yardage of 7,005 and the par 72 Plantation Course has a yardage of 7,058. You might want to look out for long-shots that do not have a PGA Tour victory to their name. Cook, Mac Hughes, and Kisner have won the last three RSM Classics and neither of them had a PGA Tour win under their belts beforehand. Five of the past six winners secured victory despite never having played in the tournament, so you should also look out for fresh faces coming in to mix it up.
Cook ranked T4 for hitting fairways and T2 for hitting greens last year, so golfers that are steady and consistent off the tee could thrive on this often-blustery course. There will be 156 players taking part and any one of them could emerge triumphant as it is such an open tournament, so it should prove to be another enthralling spectacle.