The 2022 RSM Classic is the final event of the fall swing in the PGA Tour 2022-23 season and tees off Thursday, November 17th at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
(We’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off and will return for the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui, Hawaii).
Tony Finau ran away from the field with a four-stroke victory at last week’s Cadence Bank Houston Open. The good news is I bet the winner in the last four handicapped PGA events and running. The bad news I only bet Finau in a head-to-head matchup.
Finau withdrew from the RSM Classic earlier this week but there are five other top-40 players in the field such as Brian Harman (ranked 26th), Sepp Straka (28th), Seamus Power (30th), Kevin Kisner (31st), Tom Hoge (36th),
My 2022-23 PGA Tour balance is now +12.77 units (u) and the recap of my 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open is at the bottom.
Before I get into my picks to win, picks to place, and head-to-head bets, I’ll discuss Sea Island, the comp courses used and key performance indicators (KPIs) used in the RSM Classic handicap.
Course breakdown and KPIs
Sea Island is a par 70 with a 7,005 yardage with two Par 5s, four Par 3s, and 11 Par 4s. This Tom Fazio design has one of the highest driving accuracy and greens-in-regulation (GIRs) rates on Tour.
Bermudagrass makes up Sea Island’s greens and they play fast. Courses comparable to Sea Island include Waialae Country Club, TPC Twin Cities, Detroit Golf Club, and Sedgefield Country Club.
The RSM Classic is usually a “birdie fest” due to the short course and easy scoring conditions. The average winning score in the last five RSM Classics is 18-under and the average cut line is 5-under.
My key performance indicators (KPIs) for the RSM Classic are Strokes Gained (SG): Approach (APP), Proximity (PROX): 125-175, Birdies-or-Better (BoB) Gained, FWYs Gained, 3-putt avoidance, Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450, and SG: Putting on Bermudagrass.
RSM Classic’s ‘Four Horsemen’
- All stats are provided by FantasyNational.com unless noted.
Griffin is third in the PGA Tour’s rookie rankings and a St. Simons Island resident. He finished 16th at last week’s Houston Open and third at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at the end of last month. In fact, Griffin was tied for the lead in Bermuda after three rounds with the eventual winner, Power.
Also, Griffin finished fourth in last season’s Wyndham Championship on a sponsored exemption. The Wyndham is played at Sedgefield Country Club, which is a comp course to Sea Island.
The RSM Classic’s first two rounds will be split up between Sea Island’s two courses: Seaside and Plantation. “Griffin carded a 59 in a casual round at Sea Island Golf Club’s Plantation Course,” says PGATour.com.
Griffin’s Achillies heel is his driving accuracy, which ranks 210th on Tour. But, his familiarity with this course and the width of the fairways will keep Griffin from the penalty areas.
Aside from driving, Griffin pops on my KPI model. Griffin leads the field in BoB Gained over the last 50 rounds, is sixth in Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450 (there are 10 Par 4s at that length), and 11th in SG: APP. He’s eighth in SG: Putting on fast Bermuda greens over the last 24 rounds.
Finally, there might be some value on Griffin because he’s a new name on Tour that fans aren’t familiar with. But, there are rookies every season making waves on the PGA Tour and maybe we can be an early buyer of Griffin stock that blows up.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Ben Griffin odds:
- Win: (0.25u: +9000)
- Top-5: (0.25u: +1600)
- Top-10: (0.5u: +900)
- Top-20: (0.5u: +350)
Once Finau withdrew from the RSM Classic, Rose became second in my power rankings for this tourney and third in my KPIs. Rose is second in PROX: 150-175, 11th in PROX: 125-150, and fourth in BoB Gained.
Remember RSM Classics are “birdie fests”. Also, there are 3.4% more APP shots from 150-175 and 3.8% more APP shots at Sea Island. All the water hazards around Sea Island’s two courses keep golfers from bombing it off-the-tee (OTT).
Rose leads this field in Opportunites Gained at courses less than 7,200 yards. I.e. Rose is good at maneuvering around short courses. He was third entering the final round at last week’s Houston Open, which is another Par 70 with Bermuda greens.
Furthermore, RSM Classics become putting contests since the fairways are wide and the greens are easy to hit. Rose has gained 2.6 strokes per round on the greens in his last five events.
Rose finished 12th in last year’s RSM Classic, picked up strokes in the five major stats and he is one of the most accomplished golfers in this tourney.
This year’s RSM Classic has a softer field after several golfers went to the LIV Tour including last year’s defending champion (Talor Gooch) and fourth-place finisher (Cameron Smith).
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Justin Rose odds:
- Win: (0.25u: +4000)
- Top-5: (0.25u: +850)
- Top-10: (0.25u: +400)
- Top-20: (0.5u: +225)
Publicly I used the Bermuda Championship as an off-week but privately I cashed top-5, top-10 and top-20 tickets on Rodgers when he finished third at Bermuda. While I’m not counting that towards my PGA Tour 2022-23 unit balance, I am betting Rodgers with a surplus.
Rodgers is second in SG over the last 24 rounds in this field. He’s finished 28th or better in five straight events with a 16th at the ZOZO last month, a third at Bermuda, and a 16th at last week’s Houston Open.
The Bermuda is played at a course that also has Bermudagrass greens with easy scoring conditions and Rodgers is seventh in SG at easy courses. He also gained 8.8 strokes on the greens at the 2018 RSM Classic where he finished second.
My first goal when handicapping golf is to find players who are underrated. Well, Rodgers is eighth in my RSM Classic power rankings and DraftKings lists Rodgers in a five-way tie for the 14th-best odds.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Patrick Rodgers odds:
- Win: (0.25u: +4000)
- Top-5: (0.25u: +850)
- Top-10: (0.25u: +400)
- Top-20: (0.25u: +225)
First of all, Hoge’s game is perfect for Sea Island. Hoge finished fourth in last year’s RSM Classic and he’s fifth in SG in easy scoring conditions.
Furthermore, he ranks first in my KPI model for the RSM. Hoge is the best iron player in this event (first in PROX: 125-150), fourth in SG: Ball striking, and sixth in BoB Gained.
Hoge is red-hot at the moment with a 13th-place or better finish in five of his six events. Even with a missed cut at Mayakoba earlier this month, Hoge is eighth in SG in the world over his last five events, per DataGolf.com.
My plan is to go heavier on Hoge’s RSM head-to-head matchup with Jason Day but I’ll “sprinkle” on Hoge to win and finish in the top-5 also.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Tom Hoge odds:
- Win: (0.25u: +1800)
- Top-5: (0.25u: +450)
RSM Classic Matchups
Tom Hoge (-110) > Jason Day
I’m lower on Day than the market. DraftKings Sportsbook gives Day the third-best odds to win the RSM and I power-rank Day seventh.
Day is just 41st in this field for SG: APP and 94th in PROX: 125-150 over his last 50 rounds. He’s running hot but not Hoge-hot. Day has finished 21st or better in four straight tourneys.
On top of that, Hoge outranks Day in SG at Sea Island Golf Club, Opportunities Gained at short courses, and SG in easy scoring conditions.
Webb Simpson (-120) > Stephan Jaegar
Simpson has the most SG in this field at Sea Island. He’s finished eighth or better in four of his seven RSM Classics played whereas Jaegar has missed the cut in two of his three appearances at this event.
Also, wind plays a factor at Sea Island and Simpson is much better in windy conditions than Jaegar. Simpson is third in SG in very windy weather conditions and Jaegar is 131st.
One of the most comparable courses to Sea Island is Waialae in Hawaii where they play the Sony Open. Simpson finished 13th in three straight Sony Opens from 2015-17 and fourth or better from 2018-21. Jaegar has finished outside the top-40 in all three Sony Opens played.
Final Bet Slip
- Ben Griffin: Win, Top-5, Top-10 & Top-20 (1.5u)
- Justin Rose: Win, Top-5, Top-10 & Top-20 (1.25u)
- Patrick Rodgers: Win, Top-5, Top-10 & Top-20 (1u)
- Tom Hoge: Win & Top-5 (0.5u)
- Tom Hoge (-110) > Jason Day (1u)
- Webb Simpson (-120) > Stephan Jaegar (1u)
2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open (-0.08u)
Win & Picks To Place
- Justin Rose (T9): Top-10 & Top-20 (+3.53u) 💰
- Win, Top-5 (-.25u ) ❌
- Hideki Matsuyama (WD): Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (-1.5u) ❌
- Russell Henley (MC): Win, Top-5 & Top-10 (-1u) ❌
- Luke List (T57): Win, Top-5, Top-10 & Top-20 (-0.75u) ❌
- Tony Finau🥇 > Aaron Wise (+1u) 💰
- Lee Hodges > Wyndham Clark (-1.1u) ❌
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