Weekly Preview: The RSM Classic

Weekly Preview: The RSM Classic

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

The RSM Classic

Sea Island Resort
Saint Simons Island, GA

Golfers will head to Georgia for the final full-field event on the PGA Tour calendar in 2022.

Before we get to that, I should admit to my misread on Tony Finau last week. It looked like Finau was trending in the wrong direction and he may very well have been, but he proved he is capable of picking up a win anytime out. Between his 2016 victory in Puerto Rico and his 2021 win at The Northern Trust, he was fairly easy to peg. He would play well in some spots but fail to win. He now has five wins under his belt, plus the confidence that comes with those. That makes him as unpredictable as ever, but it also makes him a threat to wind up in the winner's circle whenever he tees it up, regardless of what happened in the lead-up.

As for this week's event, we will see a couple tracks at Sea Island, which has hosted since the tournament's inception. As such, we have plenty of course history. The primary concern this week is determining those who may check out early with the offseason just days away.

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

LAST YEAR

Talor Gooch shot a final-round 64 on his way to a three-stroke victory over Mackenzie Hughes.

FAVORITES

Brian Harman (18-1)
  
This tells you all you need to know about the field -- I'm not

The RSM Classic

Sea Island Resort
Saint Simons Island, GA

Golfers will head to Georgia for the final full-field event on the PGA Tour calendar in 2022.

Before we get to that, I should admit to my misread on Tony Finau last week. It looked like Finau was trending in the wrong direction and he may very well have been, but he proved he is capable of picking up a win anytime out. Between his 2016 victory in Puerto Rico and his 2021 win at The Northern Trust, he was fairly easy to peg. He would play well in some spots but fail to win. He now has five wins under his belt, plus the confidence that comes with those. That makes him as unpredictable as ever, but it also makes him a threat to wind up in the winner's circle whenever he tees it up, regardless of what happened in the lead-up.

As for this week's event, we will see a couple tracks at Sea Island, which has hosted since the tournament's inception. As such, we have plenty of course history. The primary concern this week is determining those who may check out early with the offseason just days away.

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

LAST YEAR

Talor Gooch shot a final-round 64 on his way to a three-stroke victory over Mackenzie Hughes.

FAVORITES

Brian Harman (18-1)
  
This tells you all you need to know about the field -- I'm not talking about Harman being the favorite, but rather the odds for the top choice on the betting board. Finau withdrew Tuesday, and as a result this event is wide open. You will be able to get a decent price on several decent golfers. Harman's odds are a little strange considering he hasn't had much success in this event, but he does have three top-25s in three starts this fall, including a runner-up in his most recent one.

Jason Day (20-1)

I thought maybe the field dropped off noticeably after seeing Day at this number, but that's not the case. He has actually played pretty well during the fall, notching four top-25s in five starts. The worry here is that his best finish among those was a T8 at the Shriners event, and I wonder if he has the juice to actually win again. Perhaps he's just slowly working his way back up the leaderboard.

Tom Hoge (22-1)

I swung and missed on Hoge when he missed the cut in Mayakoba, but one bad start shouldn't scare us off. Hoge was rolling prior to that, posting a top-15 in four straight starts. He recorded a T4 here this past year, so perhaps the location will help him get back on track.

THE NEXT TIER

Seamus Power (22-1)

There's not much to dislike about Power this week. He enters atop the FedExCup Standings and finished no worse than T3 in his past two starts. There's no denying Power is in on a heater , and the only question is whether that will continue or not. Though his overall track record here is not great, he did finish T4 here in 2021.

Taylor Montgomery (22-1)

Has Montgomery's hot streak finally come to an end? Perhaps, or maybe his T57 in Houston was just what he needed to slip under the radar at Sea Island. Montgomery has gained a lot of attention with his play this fall, but all it takes is one off week to fade into the background. Perhaps with some pressure off, Montgomery gets back to his previous ways.

Mackenzie Hughes (29-1)

I didn't understand seeing Hughes at 40-1, so it's no surprise to see him now listed this number. Hughes is ranked third in the Standings and finished runner-up at Sea Island last year, so why was he all the way down here? When this happens in other sports, I worry it is a trap because there are so many moving parts that it's easy to lose track of some of them. With golf, however, it's just one man, and unless there's something behind the scenes I can't see I side with what my eyes and the data are telling me.

LONG SHOTS

Aaron Rai (50-1)

There was a fair amount of steam on Rai entering the previous campaign, but he didn't quite pan out as hoped. He's off to a decent start this season, sitting 57th in the Standings, and his best outing came in his last start in Houston, where he finished T7. He played this event last year and finished a respectable T16.

Robert Streb (110-1)

They call them long shots for a reason, right? Does a guy who missed the cut in four of his last six have a good chance to win? No, but that's why he's listed at this price -- which was 200-1 when I began writing. Streb is a two-time winner here, and his most recent win at Sea Island came in 2020. Guess what? He missed half his cuts that season.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Brian Harman - With Finau out, Harman is the best player in the field -- as tenuous as that title may be. There aren't many options that stick out, and it's not like Harman will be a favorite at any point in 2023, so this choice seems reasonable. With that in mind, not everyone can handle the attention that being the favorite brings.

Moderately-owned Pick: Tom Hoge - Sure, he missed the cut in his most recent start, but it's hard to ignore what he accomplished before that. There aren't a lot of safe options to go with, but Hoge looks like a guy you can count on to fare well. The bonus is that you probably won't regret using him once 2023 rolls around.

Lightly-owned Pick: Aaron Rai - Even though this event is a toss-up, I can see some clusters forming around golfers like Hoge and Hughes. I don't think there will be much attention on Rai. He has a lot of potential, and when it clicks, he's going to do some damage on the PGA Tour.

Buyer Beware: Brian Harman - It's hard to find a player worthy of this tag when the field is so tightly packed, but since Harman is the favorite, I think he qualifies. I don't particularly dislike his chances this week, but I don't see anything in his track record that suggests he should be the favorite, as it's certainly not certain he is better than everyone else in the field.

This Week: Mackenzie Hughes - Hughes falls into that sweet spot of just enough potential and little regret if I don't have him in 2023. I'm making this move -- and the public seems to agree.

Previous Results

TournamentGolferResultEarningsRunning Total
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTaylor MontgomeryT57$19,236$2,479,721
World Wide Technology Championship at MayakobaTom HogeMC$0$2,460,485
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power1$1,170,000$2,460,485
THE CJ CUP in South CarolinaRickie FowlerT34$54,180$1,290,485
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPMaverick McNealyT12$222,310$1,236,305
Shriners Children's OpenMatthew NeSmithT2$712,000$1,013,995
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipDenny McCarthyT39$31,995$301,995
Fortinet ChampionshipSahith TheegalaT6$270,000$270,000

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Tom Hoge ($11,100)
Middle Range: Mackenzie Hughes ($10,500)
Lower Range: Stephan Jaeger ($8,900)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

This Week: Jason Day - Henley ended my streak, which I kind of saw coming but did nothing about. I wrote that I was worried that his win in his previous appearance might cause him to come out flat, but I figured it was Houston and he always plays well there. Apparently not. Back to the drawing board we go, and I'm going with Day, who at this stage in his career is not about to waste any opportunity to play well, especially when his game is back on track.

Previous Results

TournamentGolferStreak
Cadence Bank Houston OpenRussell Henley0
World Wide Technology Championship at MayakobaBilly Horschel4
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipRussell Knox3
Shriners Children's OpenMatthew NeSmith2
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipDenny McCarthy1
Fortinet ChampionshipChez Reavie0

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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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