Top Links:

Get A Golf Handicap

UK Golf Guide

Golfshake Top 100s

Find Golf Travel Deals

Golf Competitions


Community Forum


Tee Times | Search | Reviews


Gear | Tour | Industry Insider


Video Library | Tuition Sections


Join | Log In | Help | Useful Links


RBC Heritage 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 15 Apr 2024

Matt Fitzpatrick returns to Harbour Town to defend his RBC Heritage title at the magnficent Hilton Head and although it follows The Masters, the Englishman is going to have his work cut out for him if he is to retain the trophy.

This is now one of the PGA Tour’s signature events and while many of the game’s leading stars may normally choose to put their feet up, they are going to have to come up with a very good excuse for not being in the field. You may remember that after missing the cut at Augusta 12 months ago, Rory McIlroy attracted a great deal of criticism after he chose to withdraw at the 11th hour. 

Fitzpatrick won after beating Jordan Spieth in a playoff in 2023, and was thrilled afterwards.

"I think I can retire now," laughed Fitzpatrick after beating Spieth on the third playoff hole at the RBC Heritage. "This is the one that I’ve always wanted to win. (Besides the majors) there isn’t a higher one on my list and that’s the truth."

The Fitzpatrick family’s love affair with Hilton Head Island is well chronicled. His parents, Russell and Sue, went there on holiday in 2000 when their sons Matt and Alex were six and two, respectively. They loved it so much they made the trip across the pond countless more times and no part of the trip meant more to young Matt than chances to play Harbour Town Golf Links.

"This place is just a special place for me," he said, “and it means the world to have won it." As much he adores Harbour Town, Fitzpatrick admitted that the course has not always reciprocated. "I’ve missed the cut a few times and I’ve finished middle of the pack a couple of times," he said. But he will return this week with his love affair very much intact.

Matt Fitzpatrick

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

This is a shotmaker’s course, as evidenced by the list of previous champions, who include Davis Love, Branden Grace, Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk. Luke Donald finished second here on five occasions. Apart from Love, you would not describe any of the above as a big hitter.

Fitzpatrick will genuinely fancy his chances of picking up the trophy again as he is a wonderful iron player and a magnificent putter, both key requirements here.

Distance from the tee counts for nothing if you cannot find the fairway on a consistent basis at Hilton Head. And that is why this is a venue that should be made to measure for the likes Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim, Xander Schauffele, and Collin Morikawa.

In saying that, you would not expect Spieth to have fared well at Hilton Head on account of his wild driving but he won in 2022 and finished second to Fitzpatrick in 2023.

Morikawa rose to the top of the game at breakneck speed, winning two majors in the blink of an eye. And like so many before him, he then found it all a struggle. But 2023 marked a return to something like the kind of form that landed him the US PGA Championship and The Open. At his best, there is not a better iron player in the world than Morikawa. He may not be the best putter but he gives himself so many birdie opportunities that he doesn’t have to be. And he showed something like his best form at Augusta.

Schauffele has been quietly going about his business with a minimum of fuss. He tends to be a player who flies under the radar but he is one of the most consistent golfers on the PGA Tour. His driving is seriously underrated and he just does everything else really well. In 170 starts he has won seven times, finished second an incredible 13 times, third on nine occasions, in the top five 41 times and in the top 10 on 56 occasions - that is more than one in three, and is a mighty impressive strike rate. He has also earned $43.5m in prize money.

In nine starts in 2024 he has made every cut and enjoyed eight top 25 finishes. He was runner-up at The Players, tied third at the American Express and tied fifth at the Valspar. That is some run of form.

And that is why he is ranked fifth in the world. There will be those who will say that he should win more tournaments than he does, and he would probably be the first to agree.

Kim is arguably the most exciting young talent in the game. He wears his heart on his sleeve and simply loves being in contention. Still only 21 years of age, he has already won three times on the PGA Tour and will surely go on to have a stellar career.

Max Homa enjoyed a wonderful 2023 and was one of the few successes as America were thumped by Europe at the Ryder Cup. He has the perfect game for this venue. He is not a long hitter, but he finds a lot of fairways, is a terrific iron player and is a much better putter than he is given credit for.

The bad news for all these players is that Masters champion Scottie Scheffler is due to be in the field. And, quite simply, the world number one just doesn’t do bad weeks. You can bet your mortgage on him finishing in the top 10 this week as he goes in search of yet another tournament victory. However, his wife is due to give birth to their first child and if that happens it would be a big surprise if Scheffler does not withdraw.

Since 1987 this wonderful tournament has raised more than $50m for local charities.

Tournament Winners:

It was won in 2015 by Jim Furyk, in 2016 by Branden Grace, in 2017 by Wes Bryan, in 2018 by Satoshi Kodaira, in 2019 by Pan Cheng-tsung, in 2020 by Webb Simpson, in 2021 by Stewart Cink, in 2022 by Jordan Spieth and last year by Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The Course:

Harbour Town Golf Links measures just 7,099 yards and is a par 71. You would expect today’s stars to rip it to shreds, but they don’t. The fairways are narrow, the rough is penal, there are plenty of well-placed bunkers and the greens are small. On top of that, there is often a tricky sea breeze to contend with.

Form Guide:

Xander Schauffele is grinding out top-10 finishes for fun and at some point he will turn one of those into another victory. He is an accurate driver of a golf ball and possesses a wondrous touch on and around the greens. This could be his week.

To Win:

Xander Schauffele. Impressive in everything he does

Each Way:

Matthew Fitzpatrick. Loves this place

Each Way:

Jordan Spieth. Looking to defy the odds again

Five to Follow:

Xander Schauffele. Does everything really well

Matthew Fitzpatrick. Will fancy his chances

Jordan Spieth. The PGA Tour’s Houdini

Scottie Scheffler. Having another wondrous season

Collin Morikawa. Wonderful iron player

Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: PGA Tour Golf Previews FedEx Cup

Scroll to top