Weekly PGA Preview: The RSM Classic

Weekly PGA Preview: The RSM Classic

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Preview series.

The RSM Classic

Sea Island Resort
Saint Simons Island, GA

The PGA Tour heads to Georgia for the final event of the lengthy 2022-23 season.

In the last edition I mentioned that I couldn't move onto the next event without mentioning the story of Erik van Rooyen, and wouldn't you know it, another great one presented itself in Bermuda. 

Camilo Villegas was once a solid PGA Tour player. He won four events from 2008-2014 and was generally a reliable player during that time. You might have noticed, however -- that was almost a decade ago. His game had fallen off since, undoubtedly in some part due to the unfortunate passing of his young daughter. It seemed like he may have never been a factor on the PGA Tour again. Two weeks ago, though, he was in contention when van Rooyen pulled off his victory, and heading into last week's event I wondered if he could maintain the momentum. The answer was a resounding yes. Villegas finished the Bermuda Butterfield Championship at 24-under, which was good enough for a two-stroke cushion over his nearest competitor. 

Unlike most of the last 10 years, Villegas will head into a campaign without having to worry about securing a PGA Tour card. He's good for the next two years. Villegas will turn 42 in January, which means he still has time to regain the form we saw a decade ago. Here's hoping that wasn't the last win we see from him.

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 3:30 PM ET Wednesday.

LAST YEAR

Adam Svensson shot a final-round 64 on his way to a two-stroke victory over Sahith Theegala, Brian Harman and Callum Tarren.

FAVORITES

Ludvig Aberg (12-1)

This is the final fall event, which has brought out some bigger names. With that in mind, it is a little surprising to see Aberg as the favorite again. There is a reason for that, though. Aberg has not won on the PGA Tour, but he's lived up to the expectations thus far. Check that -- he's been favored a few times already, so maybe he hasn't exactly lived up to expectations, but he hasn't disappointed either. All in all, I don't like that he's favored this week and would pass on him at these odds.

Russell Henley (14-1)

Henley is a solid player, but anytime you see him near the top of the odds chart it's due to his course history. In this case it's not great, but compared to the rest of the field it looks pretty good. Henley has three top-10s at this event in eight tries, with his best showing being a T4 in 2014.

Brian Harman (18-1)

Your attention please -- we have a reigning major champion in the field. I repeat, we have a reigning major champion in the field. It's a rarity this time of year to have big names on hand, and while Harman still might not qualify as one of those he is the Champion Golfer of the Year, so he's got a leg up on the competition. As for his chances in this tournament, he was runner-up here last year so I'd say they're pretty good.

THE NEXT TIER

Cameron Young (20-1)

I'm going to lean on the bigger names to close out the season. Young has only played once in the fall and he didn't fare all that well, but I think he needed that start to shake off the rust. He might be ready to get back to his previous form in Georgia. Young closed out the summer with a T15 at the BMW Championship and I think he's going to close the fall season with a strong effort.

Corey Conners (25-1)

Conners failed to take the next step this season, but he still has a chance to close out the campaign in style. Conners has one of the better track records in the field, but as mentioned previously, that's not saying all that much. Conners has not missed a cut here in four starts and he placed top-10 in 2020, so he definitely has a feel for the course.

Alex Noren (40-1)

I had Camilo Villegas as one of my long shots this past week based on the way he played the previous week, so why not give it a try with Noren? Noren is nowhere near the long shot Villegas was, but maybe that means his chances of winning are actually better. Noren finished runner-up this past week to Villegas and he also has t a T3 on his resume this fall, so form is hardly an issue.

LONG SHOTS

Webb Simpson (90-1)

Simpson is surely past his prime, but strange things can happen in the fall. Simpson is not coming off a runner-up like Villegas was last week, but he has a heck of a track record here with three top-10s in his past five starts, including a runner-up in 2019.

Carl Yuan (120-1)

We're going to see what Yuan is made of this week. He was well outside the top 125 entering this past week, but a T4 propelled him right onto the bubble. He only needs to play well to secure a PGA Tour card for 2024, but he has played his best golf this fall, and if he gets into a position where his card is secure he might just let loose and win the thing.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-Chosen Pick: Brian Harman - Harman isn't a superstar, but he might as well be this week. Sure, there are a couple up-and comers-in the field, but none of them own a Claret Jug. Harman almost won here this past year, and having the added confidence of being a major champion can only help.

Moderately-Chosen Pick: Corey Conners - Unlike previous weeks there are seemingly a handful of good options here, but I like Conners the most because of his history at Sea Island. Not only that, but Conners is probably motivated to finish strong and grab some momentum heading into next year.

Lightly-Chosen Pick: Alex Noren - Normally Noren wouldn't qualify in this space, but with some higher-end players on hand he could fly under the radar a bit. That would be a mistake because he's playing about as well as anyone in the field at the moment. Noren has already come close a couple times this fall, and this could be the week he breaks through.

Buyer Beware: Russell Henley - When I Henley's placement on the betting board I thought that he must have a stellar track record in this event. While it's good, it's not incredible, so I'm not quite sure why he's ahead of Harman and perhaps some others. I don't expect Henley to miss the cut, but I don't think his result will match the expectations.

This Week: Alex Noren - As mentioned already, Noren's form is going to give him a leg up. Not mentioned to this point is his track record here, which is actually pretty good. Noren has a T10 and a T18 in three starts at Sea Island.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Corey Conners ($11,400)
Middle Range: Camilo Villegas ($9,700)
Lower Range: Carl Yuan ($8,900)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

This Week: Brian Harman - Harman has missed three cuts here in 11 starts, but he only missed one in his past six. He also has some unfinished business after finishing runner-up in 2022. I'm expecting Harman to be focused, and reaching the weekend shouldn't be a problem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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