This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
The RSM Classic
Courses: Sea Island Resort Seaside Course (7,005 yards, par 70), Sea Island Resort Plantation Course (7,060 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,512,000 and 500 FedExCup points
In the past The RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Georgia was a nice relaxing spot to end the year for many players. This year the stakes have never been higher. After a full wraparound season in 2022-23 plus six FedExCup Fall events, The RSM Classic is the final tournament to determine status for the return to the calendar-based season in 2024. The Top 125 in FedExCup points after this week's event will secure full playing status in 2024 and gain entry into the Players Championship. Positions 126-150 will be forced to play off of conditional PGA Tour status in 2024 unless they have a career-money exemption, major medical exemption, or win in the last two seasons to fall back on. Carl Yuan holds the coveted 125th spot going into the RSM Classic after posting a fourth place finish last week in Bermuda.
The other chase, while not quite as consequential, is the battle for the Next 10 from the fall. FedExCup point earners that finish between 51-60 will be eligible for the first two West Coast signature events, which are limited-field events that offer higher purses and FedExCup points that a regular PGA Tour event. Sam Ryder holds the final Next 10 spot going into The RSM Classic with Mark Hubbard just 11 points back.
With the days starting to get shorter and the PGA Tour trying to pack 156 players into this important tournament, we will see the return of a course rotation. This will be the first tournament that features multiple courses since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is part of a three-week stretch with The American Express and Farmers Insurance Open that all use multiple courses. This week the players will get one shot at the Seaside Course and the Plantation Course before a 36-hole cut is made and the top-65 and ties play the final two rounds at the Seaside Course. The Plantation Course was re-done by tournament host Davis Love III in 2019, but is still the easier of the two courses at just 55 yards longer but a par 72 vs the par 70 at the Seaside Course.
Adam Svensson will return to St. Simons Island, Georgia to defend his maiden PGA Tour title. He will be joined by Ludvig Aberg, who is looking to break inside the top 50 of the OWGR and earn a Masters invite. Sea Island resident and Champion Golfer of the Year Brian Harman will make his first start of the fall along with Russell Henley and Corey Conners. Zach Johnson, Padraig Harrington, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Harris English round out some of the other notables.
In the 13-year history of this tournament it has only seen one repeat winner and that was Robert Streb (2014, 2020). Playoffs have also been common as well with six, including three of those in the last five years. The scoring is typically fairly consistent with 19 to 22-under-par being the winning score the last six editions. Rain appears likely for the first two rounds this week, but the weekend should be clear and primed for a good finish. The breezes off the ocean is the biggest defense of these golf courses and it looks like they should be pretty healthy, especially early in the tournament.
2022 - Adam Svensson (-19)
2021 - Talor Gooch (-22)
2020 - Robert Streb (-19)
2019 - Tyler Duncan (-19)
2018 - Charles Howell III (-19)
2017 - Austin Cook (-21)
2016 - Mackenzie Hughes (-17)
2015 - Kevin Kisner (-22)
2014 - Robert Streb (-14)
2013 - Chris Kirk (-14)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Putting
- Driving Accuracy
- SG: Approach
- Approaches from 50-125 yards
There really is a lot of similarities between the profile for success at Bermuda last week and Sea Island this week. Both courses do not require distance to be competitive and there is a big emphasis on being good with your wedges and putter. I once again am going to be taking a peek at how good each player is between 50-125 yards, as a significant amount of the approaches will be in that range on this positional golf course. Each of the last three winners have also ranked inside the top-10 in SG: Putting for the week, and last year Svensson led all players on his way to the victory. Driving accuracy holds a little more weight this week than at Bermuda, especially considering we expect to see more wind, particularly early in the tournament. Even with the breezes the scoring should be pretty good, combine that with the Seaside Course's bermudagrass greens being on the larger end and you might be able to get away with being a below-average scrambler.
FanDuel Value Picks
Brian Harman ($11,800)
This is Harman's first start of the FedExCup Fall, but he is a local and knows these courses as well as anyone. He finished runner-up at The RSM Classic last year, which is one of four career top-15 finishes in this event. Harman completes the profile for Sea Island as a deadly accurate driver, consistent wedge player and elite putter. Not much else needs to be said.
Eric Cole ($11,100)
After shockingly not playing the last two tournaments, Cole is back in the field and back into my lineup. This man has made 14 straight cuts and finished fourth-or-better in three of his last four starts. These Sea Island courses should line up really well for Cole as he ranks 20th in SG: Approach, 17th in SG: Putting, and second in putts per GIR. Just over $11K is a steal this week for Cole.
J.T. Poston ($10,600)
Poston is another player who has been extremely hot and is at a bargain of a price this week. Poston has just one finish outside the top-25 in his last eight starts, five of which were T7-or-better. During that stretch he has gained 25.17 strokes on approach and 31.83 strokes with the putter. The 30-year-old oddly enough doesn't have a great record at The RSM Classic, but this is the best golf he's ever played in his career.
The Middle Tier
Denny McCarthy ($10,400)
McCarthy is another player making his first start of the fall, but the man gets out of bed and starts draining putts from everywhere. Sea Island is a place where he has played six times before and notched a pair of top-10s. McCarthy ranks fourth in par-4 scoring and third in SG: Putting. He is coming off the best season of his career that saw him go 23-for-29 with 14 top-25s.
J.J. Spaun ($9,900)
Spaun will be the worst putter I include here, but you can't argue with his results. He has made the cut six out of his seven trips to Sea Island, including a runner-up in 2017 and top-20s the last two years. Spaun has been playing some good golf the last few months making his last nine cuts with a trio of top-15 finishes in that stretch. He has been great with the irons ranking 16th in GIR percentage and 21st in proximity.
Taylor Pendrith ($9,400)
I love the value here with Pendrith who is coming off finishes of T3-T15-T8 in his last three starts. That includes last week in Bermuda at what should be a similar test to this week at the RSM, an event he has gone T26-T15 the last two years. Pendrith has gained on approach in eight of his last nine measured tournaments and has also started to roll it better on the greens during this recent hot stretch.
Longer Shots with Value
Vince Whaley ($8,600)
Whaley has had a really impressive fall and moved within range of conditional PGA Tour status for 2024 at 160th in the FedExCup Fall. He has made the cut in all five starts this fall with three top-30 finishes, including a T8 last week in Bermuda. Whaley was eighth in Bermuda in putts per GIR en route to an eagle and 22 birdies. The 28-year-old also has experience at Sea Island making the cut in two of his three prior trips.
Ryan Moore ($8,200)
Moore has gone 50-under-par over his last three tournaments capped off with a T5 last week in Bermuda. That has gotten him up to 128th in the FedExCup Fall standings and on the verge of locking up full status for his age 41 season. Moore is one of the shortest hitters on Tour, but fourth in driving accuracy plays at Sea Island. Combine that with 21st in SG: Approach and 14th in approaches from 50-125 yards this season and you can expect a good showing from the veteran.
Greyson Sigg ($8,100)
If you look at Sigg's strokes gained performance this season it is nearly a perfect pentagon. There really are not glaring holes in his game to speak of whatsoever and a big reason why he has locked up full status for 2024. Sigg's iron play has been the most notable at 42nd in GIR percentage, 30th in proximity and 15th in par-3 scoring this season. He has a pair of top-30s this fall and was also T15 last year at Sea Island.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
This is certainly one of the better fields of the fall and much deeper than we saw a week ago in Bermuda. It would not surprise me one bit to see the leaderboard be full of guys in the $9K and even $8K range come Sunday afternoon. There's a few guys I think are just priced a little too high this week and they include Alex Noren ($11,300), Camilo Villegas ($9,700) and Webb Simpson ($9,000). Maverick McNealy ($8,300), Aaron Baddeley ($7,900) and Justin Lower ($7,800) are a few other bargain bin options that I think could have a great week because they are so good on the greens. With value all over the board, I think it allows DFS players to go any which way they want in regards to lineup construction.
If you're wagering on The RSM Classic, take a look at the FanDuel Promo Code!