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Ditch the draw to play the most consistent golf of your life

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Ask anyone who teaches for a living, and you’ll hear that the No. 1 thing most golfers are looking for is consistency. Equipment companies cash in by promising each successive club will hit the ball farther than the last, but in more than a quarter century of teaching this great game I’ve yet to meet a golfer who wouldn’t give up a few yards in exchange for finding the fairway more often.

As golfers, then, we’re in a bit of a conundrum. We crave consistency, but when the chips are down we put our money down on distance. And while it’s not impossible to achieve some degree of both, if we’re serious about finding the fairway more often, giving up those extra yards might be exactly what we need to do.

Here’s why.

When it comes to consistency, ball flight patterns matter. Commenting on his preferred shot shape, Lee Trevino once famously said, “You can talk to a fade, but a hook won’t listen.” I learned that lesson the hard way back in college during my own Tin Cup moment. After being under par most of the round, I found myself walking up No. 18 with my head down, out of the match because I was out of balls after stubbornly refusing to hit a controlled fade (my natural shot) instead of the draw that would have made the hole play shorter. Trevino was right. Despite that painful lesson, however, it still took a few years — and my looming PGA Player Ability Test — to finally sink in. 

I was preparing for the test by playing a practice round with an 18-handicap buddy of mine. I was still struggling with the driver, and that’s when I had a bit of an epiphany. This guy hit a short, ugly 30-yard slice off every tee, but after watching it find the fairway on darn near every hole I realized my buddy knew something I didn’t — where his ball was going. And despite the fact that I didn’t like the look of it, I knew that I could hit that shot, too. So I decided to put my ego aside and play what I called my Big Ol’ Hacker’s Cut. It wasn’t as long, but I knew where it was going, and in the end that’s what I needed to start scoring again. And I did. 

Now as far as great players go, last time I checked I hadn’t made anyone’s short list, but there are a couple of great ones who you might never have heard of either if they hadn’t learned that very same lesson. The first was the immortal Ben Hogan. Early in his career, Hogan spent a decade in obscurity fighting the big hook that nearly ended his career before it began. Now Hogan loved to practice, and he eventually figured out a few things while spending a legendary amount of time on the range, but despite all his cryptic talk about his secret being in the dirt, if you really paid attention to Hogan’s interviews you’d realize his game changed when he changed his preferred shot shape. Years later, when asked if he ever tried to hit a straight ball Hogan answered, “Never. Jesus Christ can’t hit a ball straight.”

Which way did Hogan always try to hit it? Left to right, or with a little cut. 

A player at the opposite end of the practice spectrum from Hogan, but one who might best exemplify the reliability of the cut, was Bruce Lietzke. Lietzke disdained practice and was the Tour’s king of taking time off, often taking a few weeks off at time during the season to go fishing in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Burned out and tired of the ups and downs of his game, Lietzke quit the game briefly after college, and when he came back to it found his swing had changed and he couldn’t hit anything but a cut. Frustrated at first, Lietzke soon realized that while he didn’t like the look of his new shot, he was scoring more consistently and his game held up better under pressure. And the real kicker? He realized he could take a week or two off — and ultimately a few months off from the game to go fishing — and his swing was still there when he got back, as reliable as ever.

The most famous story about Lietzke that highlighted this happened at the end of 1984 when he told his caddie to remove everything from his bag except the clubs because he wouldn’t be using them until the next season started, more than three months later. His caddie didn’t believe him, so he took the head cover off his driver and stuffed a banana inside.  The next February, when Lietzke arrived at the practice range of his first event, his caddy opened up the bag to a stomach-turning smell. When they pulled the head cover off the driver, it was covered with nasty black fungus and rotten banana, never again playable.

Now I’m not trying to compare anything about my game to Hogan’s, or even Lietzke’s, but the common thread here is how a player struggling with consistency eventually found it in a little shot called the cut. In my case, turning professional and learning to teach the game taught me why that shot was more consistent. Mechanically speaking, there are a handful of reasons playing a hook is often less predictable, but there is one primary reason why. As Trevino said, a hook doesn’t want to listen.

Before I say any more, though, I want to apologize up front to all my Homer Kelly disciples and other hardcore swing analytics for what I’m sure you will think is a gross over-simplification. It’s important, however, to explain my point in a way that doesn’t take intimate knowledge of the golf swing to grasp. 

  • Swings with a lot of hands in the hitting area (read draws and hooks) require very precise timing and that usually translates into a lot of time spent beating balls to achieve a modicum of reliability and consistency.
  • Swings with less hand action in the hitting area (read cuts, fades, and slices) are less dependent on precise timing of the hands because they typically have the face of the club in relation to the path and or target for a longer period of time and use the body more than the hands to square that clubface. This means swings that produce shots that cut, fade, or slice often produce more consistent results and are more low-maintenance (read less practice time), even though they don’t produce quite as much distance due to the increased spin created by the path, the slightly steeper angle of attack, and less release of the hands.

So If you’ve been looking for the road to consistency for a while, maybe it’s time to take a shortcut and stop ditch that draw. Sure, it might not look as pretty, and you might sacrifice a few yards, but in the end you just might find a shot that will actually listen to all that hoping and praying you’ve been doing while it’s in flight. And with all the newfound time that was previously spent trying to reign in that hook on the practice tee, you just might be able to pick up a second hobby. Fishing anyone? 

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Mike Dowd is the author of the new novel COMING HOME and the Lessons from the Golf Guru: Wit, Wisdom, Mind-Tricks & Mysticism for Golf and Life series. He has been Head PGA Professional at Oakdale Golf & CC in Oakdale, California since 2001, and is serving his third term on the NCPGA Board of Directors and Chairs the Growth of the Game Committee. Mike has introduced thousands of people to the game and has coached players that have played golf collegiately at the University of Hawaii, San Francisco, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, University of the Pacific, C.S.U. Sacramento, C.S.U. Stanislaus, C.S.U. Chico, and Missouri Valley State, as men and women on the professional tours. Mike currently lives in Turlock, California with his wife and their two aspiring LPGA stars, where he serves on the Turlock Community Theatre Board, is the past Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Turlock. In his spare time (what's that?) he enjoys playing golf with his girls, writing, music, fishing and following the foibles of the Sacramento Kings, the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants, and, of course, the PGA Tour. You can find Mike at mikedowdgolf.com.

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. James G

    Sep 7, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    My son is but 12 and has made this discovery on his own. He has found he can hit a slight cut much easier and actually swing faster so he doesn’t lose distance. Said he got the idea watching Dustin Johnson at the US Open. His scores have dropped playing the cut. He has won two junior tournaments since going the cut route.

  2. Mike

    Sep 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    As soon as I stopped trying to play a fade to exclusively play a draw my scores plummeted. I’ve eliminated the right side of the course and gained distance. I’ve gone from a 7-8 handicap to a 3-4. The next jump might require a swing change but I’m guessing it has more to do with chipping and putting…

    • DeadFish

      Sep 6, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Do you play courses that exclusively feature dogleg lefts? A draw is never always the answer, and neither is a fade. The best shot is the one that gets you closest to the hole. The closer you are to the hole the better the chances of making par….

      If that means a fade on a dogleg right, you better freaking play a fade. If that means a draw on a dogleg left, you better freaking play a draw. Catch my drift?

      Doesn’t matter what shot shape, as long as it gets you closer to the hole…

      • Scott

        Sep 8, 2016 at 11:07 am

        But according to the article, for Ben Hogan a fade *was* always the answer. I think you missed the point of the article. The best shot is the one you can get the farthest and control. If you can’t control a draw, do not hit one.

  3. Mat

    Sep 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    This “story” is too personal. The fact is that this is overstating the true wisdom in this article. His buddy could control his drive.

    As a pro, you have to know that:

    #1 – as long as you get distance, rough matters little. Keep pounding; the stats back you up.
    #2 – a fade is just the description of a narrow slice as it relates to the intended line.
    #3 – a fade is always technically simpler when the club length is ~ 45″.
    #4 – I’d argue that it is no more precise with the hands to hit a “fade” than a “draw”. What’s very easy to hit with little hand movement is a slice.

    So while his experience is just that; his, it’s fair to say that all players must find a balance between control and ball flight. Hell, that’s golf by definition. There’s no picture to how your ball flies on a scorecard, but the emotional process of what a ball flight “wants to be” is usually based around optimal results. It’s ego-shattering when you aren’t capable of hitting an optimal shape, and that’s a hard lesson to swallow. In this case, at least the friend was there to demonstrate that.

    • KK

      Sep 8, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      “Precise with the hands” might be the most ridiculous phrase I’ve ever heard. This isn’t heart surgery.

  4. Pingback: Ditch the draw to play the most consistent golf of your life

  5. bogeypro

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Dustin Johnson pounds a fade and so does Bubba. Please stop with the idea that draw is longer. find the shape that works best for you and own it.

  6. Kujan

    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Great article. Don’t want to abandon the draw but sometimes a fade is called for.

    • Kujan

      Sep 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      On second thought I may have to embrace the fade or whatever I get with a steeper swing plane.

  7. Pa

    Sep 4, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Tom Watson shot his age, 67, on his birthday, today.
    I’m a gonna stick to the draw. Thanks

  8. Smokin'Gun

    Sep 4, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Your body type will dictate your ball flight, your path versus face relationship is based on how you deliver the club to the ball… Play to your strength and get a bioscience fitting… It will open your eyes!!!

  9. Steve Wozeniak

    Sep 4, 2016 at 11:29 am

    A draw is a straight shot that falls left……a fade is a straight shot that falls right…….anything else is a hook or a slice and is easy to fix with correct information…….

    • JustWellsy

      Sep 6, 2016 at 1:44 am

      The way you used the word “easy” is the biggest exaggeration I’ve ever seen. Easy to fix? You have any idea how good most golfers would be if they could fix their swing as soon as they had the right “information?” There have been people that work for years to perfect a swing with no such luck. Some people give up the game because of the yips… It’s not all all easy

  10. Mike Dowd

    Sep 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

    When most of us learn the game, we initially hit some version of a cut, fade, or slice and it’s typically drilled into us early on, not only that the draw is longer, but preferable. Good players draw it and hackers slice it, and so a great many players spend years of frustration trying to learn to hit it the other way. Some do, but some never do, at least not with any real consistency. My point was that’s o.k., and in many ways the storyline of having to draw it to be a good player is misleading. Plenty of great players have preferred to cut it and some couldn’t hit anything but a cut. There are advantages to that shot shape (like the ball sitting on the green better) and we shouldn’t look at it with as much disdain as many of us do. Sure, it’s nice to be able to hit it both ways, and it helps you become more of a complete player if you can, but if you’ve been struggling with consistency you might want to experiment with playing it the other way. Whether it’s left or right, the real key to scoring is just knowing which way it’s going, so if it’s easier for you stop fighting that fade and just roll with it. Hope it helped and thanks for all the great comments. – Mike

  11. Groundpounder

    Sep 4, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I signed up for 52 lessons at GolfTEC because they said I’d never get better unless I learned to hit a push-draw. Guess I wasted my money…

    • Smokin'Gun

      Sep 4, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Any type of instruction from a qualified instructor is definitely not a waste of money. As long as you own and practice the information given. Just like a script from your doc, practice and take with water!!!

  12. KoreanSlumLord

    Sep 4, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Ben Hogan was disgusted at the sight of a right to left shot pattern. Myself, I play a low running fade or what I call a reverse hook of the tee- not unlike Jimmy Demarets. Very predictable drives.

  13. snowman

    Sep 3, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    I agree. A guy I play with regularly hits a draw(often a hook) and when he pures it (rare) he is 15-20 yards longer than me off tee); however I hit probably twice as many fairways as he does and his average drive is 10 yards longer than my average. Now, with my CONTROLLED little cut I can easily knock it on the green more consistently than him, even though I’m 10yards farther away. A draw is probably evidence of a ‘better swing’, but not many average-joe type players can hit a consistent draw that finds target. The Fade / Pull-Cut is not a sexy or long-ball type of shot but it rarely goes way wrong.

  14. Tom

    Sep 3, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    So when I’m on the wrong side of the fairway and I need to hit a draw………?

  15. tom

    Sep 3, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Great article. Shot the best score of my life earlier this year (2 under par) but before the round at the range I was hooking my driver really badly. I told myself … I’m just gonna hit a cut/slice off the tee all day. I don’t care how far right it goes but I’m not going left. Worked like a charm and yeah I did give up a few yards but I hit 11/14 fairways. Yet I’ve found myself getting away from that again … so stupid.

  16. KK

    Sep 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Driver fade, just like iron fade, is scientifically proven to be a more predictable shape. Too bad most golfers are too egotistical to give up the 10 yds off the tee for perfect placement on the fairway.

    • Tom

      Sep 3, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      define “perfect placement”?

      • Scooter McGavin

        Sep 4, 2016 at 10:45 pm

        In the fairway…. It says it literally right after the bit you quoted…

  17. PO

    Sep 3, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    My game got easier and more consistent with less pain in my side when I switched to draw from fade. Fade will kill your side if you compress that side as you try to come over the top and hold that slide.

  18. vince guest

    Sep 3, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Kenny Perry and Patrick Reed would disagree…but personally I’d love to hit a Bubba Long fade.

  19. Cris

    Sep 3, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Why does a draw “require more hands through the hitting area”?

    • Golfer

      Sep 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      You have to rotate the face over more through impact to draw the ball.

      • Sometimes a Smizzle

        Sep 3, 2016 at 10:25 pm

        Me to, from 11 degrees inside.

    • Jack

      Sep 5, 2016 at 6:18 am

      I don’t think so. I used to use a lot more hands but as long as the clubface is set more closed than your club path it will draw away from ur club path. But perhaps the “hands” is what’s causing the extra distance? I feel that it’s the slight delofting of draws compared to fades.

  20. shimmy

    Sep 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I have a high toe miss, and I’ve found that if I play a fade, that miss wants to go straight. If I play a draw, the toe miss is left of left.

  21. kkp

    Sep 3, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Yeah that’s why Tom Watson plays the draw. Duh

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: What really makes a wedge work? Part 1

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Of all the clubs in our bags, wedges are almost always the simplest in construction and, therefore, the easiest to analyze what might make one work differently from another if you know what to look for.

Wedges are a lot less mysterious than drivers, of course, as the major brands are working with a lot of “pixie dust” inside these modern marvels. That’s carrying over more to irons now, with so many new models featuring internal multi-material technologies, and almost all of them having a “badge” or insert in the back to allow more complex graphics while hiding the actual distribution of mass.

But when it comes to wedges, most on the market today are still single pieces of molded steel, either cast or forged into that shape. So, if you look closely at where the mass is distributed, it’s pretty clear how that wedge is going to perform.

To start, because of their wider soles, the majority of the mass of almost any wedge is along the bottom third of the clubhead. So, the best wedge shots are always those hit between the 2nd and 5th grooves so that more mass is directly behind that impact. Elite tour professionals practice incessantly to learn to do that consistently, wearing out a spot about the size of a penny right there. If impact moves higher than that, the face is dramatically thinner, so smash factor is compromised significantly, which reduces the overall distance the ball will fly.

Every one of us, tour players included, knows that maddening shot that we feel a bit high on the face and it doesn’t go anywhere, it’s not your fault.

If your wedges show a wear pattern the size of a silver dollar, and centered above the 3rd or 4th groove, you are not getting anywhere near the same performance from shot to shot. Robot testing proves impact even two to three grooves higher in the face can cause distance loss of up to 35 to 55 feet with modern ‘tour design’ wedges.

In addition, as impact moves above the center of mass, the golf club principle of gear effect causes the ball to fly higher with less spin. Think of modern drivers for a minute. The “holy grail” of driving is high launch and low spin, and the driver engineers are pulling out all stops to get the mass as low in the clubhead as possible to optimize this combination.

Where is all the mass in your wedges? Low. So, disregarding the higher lofts, wedges “want” to launch the ball high with low spin – exactly the opposite of what good wedge play requires penetrating ball flight with high spin.

While almost all major brand wedges have begun putting a tiny bit more thickness in the top portion of the clubhead, conventional and modern ‘tour design’ wedges perform pretty much like they always have. Elite players learn to hit those crisp, spinny penetrating wedge shots by spending lots of practice time learning to consistently make contact low in the face.

So, what about grooves and face texture?

Grooves on any club can only do so much, and no one has any material advantage here. The USGA tightly defines what we manufacturers can do with grooves and face texture, and modern manufacturing techniques allow all of us to push those limits ever closer. And we all do. End of story.

Then there’s the topic of bounce and grinds, the most complex and confusing part of the wedge formula. Many top brands offer a complex array of sole configurations, all of them admittedly specialized to a particular kind of lie or turf conditions, and/or a particular divot pattern.

But if you don’t play the same turf all the time, and make the same size divot on every swing, how would you ever figure this out?

The only way is to take any wedge you are considering and play it a few rounds, hitting all the shots you face and observing the results. There’s simply no other way.

So, hopefully this will inspire a lively conversation in our comments section, and I’ll chime in to answer any questions you might have.

And next week, I’ll dive into the rest of the wedge formula. Yes, shafts, grips and specifications are essential, too.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Amazing Session with Performance Coach Savannah Meyer-Clement

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In this week’s episode, we spent some time with performance coach Savannah Meyer-Clement who provides many useful insights that you’ll be able to implement on the golf course.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2024 RBC Heritage betting preview: Patrick Cantlay ready to get back inside winner’s circle

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Just a two-hour drive from Augusta National, the PGA TOUR heads to Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C. Hilton Head Island is a golfer’s paradise and Harbour Town is one of the most beautiful and scenic courses on the PGA TOUR.

Harbour Town Golf Links is a par-71 that measures 7,121 yards and features Bermuda grass greens. A Pete Dye design, the course is heavily tree lined and features small greens and many dog legs, protecting it from “bomb-and-gauge” type golfers.

The field is loaded this week with 69 golfers with no cut. Last year was quite possibly the best field in RBC Heritage history and the event this week is yet another designated event, meaning there is a $20 million prize pool.

Most of the big names on the PGA Tour will be in attendance this week with the exceptions of Hideki Matsuyama and Viktor Hovland. Additionally, Webb Simpson, Shane Lowry, Gary Woodland and Kevin Kisner have been granted sponsors exemptions. 

Past Winners at Harbour Town

  • 2023: Matt Fitzpatrick (-17)
  • 2022: Jordan Spieth (-13)
  • 2021: Stewart Cink (-19)
  • 2020: Webb Simpson (-22)
  • 2019: CT Pan (-12)
  • 2018: Sotoshi Kodaira (-12)
  • 2017: Wesley Bryan (-13)
  • 2016: Branden Grace (-9)
  • 2015: Jim Furyk (-18)

In this article and going forward, I’ll be using the Rabbit Hole by Betsperts Golf data engine to develop my custom model. If you want to build your own model or check out all of the detailed stats, you can sign up using promo code: MATTVIN for 25% off any subscription package (yearly is best value).

Key Stats For Harbour Town

Let’s take a look at key metrics for Harbour Town Golf Links to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their past 24 rounds.

Strokes Gained: Approach

Strokes Gained: Approach is exceedingly important this week. The greens at Harbour Town are about half the size of PGA TOUR average and feature the second-smallest greens on the tour. Typical of a Pete Dye design, golfers will pay the price for missed greens.

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+1.27)
  2. Tom Hoge (+1.27)
  3. Corey Conners (+1.16)
  4. Austin Eckroat (+0.95)
  5. Cameron Young (+0.93)

Good Drive %

The fairways at Harbour Town are tree lined and feature many dog legs. Bombers tend to struggle at the course because it forces layups and doesn’t allow long drivers to overpower it. Accuracy is far more important than power.

Good Drive % Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Brice Garnett (88.8%)
  2. Shane Lowry (+87.2%)
  3. Akshay Bhatia (+86.0%)
  4. Si Woo Kim (+85.8%)
  5. Sepp Straka (+85.1%)

Strokes Gained: Total at Pete Dye Designs

Pete Dye specialists tend to play very well at Harbour Town. Si Woo Kim, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson are all Pete Dye specialists who have had great success here. It is likely we see some more specialists near the top of the leaderboard this week.

SG: TOT Pete Dye per round over past 36 rounds:

  1. Xander Schauffele (+2.27)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+2.24)
  3. Ludvig Aberg (+2.11)
  4. Brian Harman (+1.89)
  5. Sungjae Im (+1.58)

4. Strokes Gained: Short Game (Bermuda)

Strokes Gained: Short Game factors in both around the green and putting. With many green-side bunkers and tricky green complexes, both statistics will be important. Past winners — such as Jim Furyk, Wes Bryan and Webb Simpson — highlight how crucial the short game skill set is around Harbour Town.

SG: SG Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Jordan Spieth (+1.11)
  2. Taylor Moore (+1.02)
  3. Wyndham Clark (+0.98)
  4. Mackenzie Hughes (+0.86)
  5. Andrew Putnam (+0.83)

5. Greens in Regulation %

The recipe for success at Harbour Town Golf Links is hitting fairways and greens. Missing either will prove to be consequential — golfers must be in total control of the ball to win.

Greens in Regulation % over past 24 rounds:

  1. Brice Garnett (+75.0%)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+69.9%)
  3. Corey Conners (+69.0%)
  4. Shane Lowry (+68.3%)
  5. Patrick Rodgers (+67.6%)

6. Course History

Harbour Town is a course where players who have strong past results at the course always tend to pop up. 

Course History over past 24 rounds:

  1. Patrick Cantlay (+2.34)
  2. Cam Davis (+2.05)
  3. J.T. Poston (+1.69)
  4. Justin Rose (+1.68)
  5. Tommy Fleetwood (+1.59)

The RBC Heritage Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (24%), Good Drives (20%), SG: SG (14%), SG: Pete Dye (14%), GIR (14%), and Course History (14%)

  1. Shane Lowry
  2. Russell Henley
  3. Scottie Scheffler
  4. Xander Schauffele
  5. Corey Conners 
  6. Wyndham Clark
  7. Christiaan Bezuidenhout
  8. Matt Fitzpatrick
  9. Cameron Young
  10. Ludvig Aberg 

2024 RBC Heritage Picks

Patrick Cantlay +2000 (FanDuel)

With the exception of Scottie Scheffler, the PGA Tour has yet to have any of their star players show peak form during the 2024 season. Last week, Patrick Cantlay, who I believe is a top-5 players on the PGA Tour, took one step closer to regaining the form that’s helped him win eight events on Tour since 2017.

Cantlay limped into the Masters in poor form, but figured it out at Augusta National, finishing in a tie for 20th and ranking 17th for the week in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. The former FedEx Cup champion will now head to one of his favorite golf courses in Harbour Town, where he’s had immaculate results over the years. In his six trips to the course, he’s only finished worse than 7th one time. The other finishes include three third places (2017, 2019, 2023) and one runner-up finish (2022). In his past 36 rounds at Harbour Town, Cantlay ranks 1st in Strokes Gained: Total per round at the course by a wide margin (+2.36).

Cantlay is winless since the 2022 BMW Championship, which is far too long for a player of his caliber. With signs pointing to the 32-year-old returning to form, a “signature event” at Harbour Town is just what he needs to get back on the winning track.

Tommy Fleetwood +3000 (FanDuel)

I truly believe Tommy Fleetwood will figure out a way to win on American soil in 2024. It’s certainly been a bugaboo for him throughout his career, but he is simply too talented to go another season without winning a PGA Tour event.

At last week’s Masters Tournament, Fleetwood made a Sunday charge and ended up finishing T3 in the event, which was his best ever finish at The Masters. For the week, the Englishman ranked 8th in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach, 10th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and 16th in Strokes Gained: Putting.

Harbour Town is a perfect layout for Fleetwood, and he’s had relative success at this Pete Dye design in the past.  In his four trips to the course, he’s finished inside of the top 25 three times, with his best finish, T10, coming in 2022. The course is pretty short and can’t be overpowered, which gives an advantage to more accurate players such as Fleetwood. Tommy ranks 8th in the field in Good Drive % and should be able to plot his way along this golf course.

The win is coming for Tommy lad. I believe there’s a chance this treasure of a golf course may be the perfect one for him to finally break through on Tour.

Cameron Young +3300 (FanDuel)

Cameron Young had a solid Masters Tournament last week, which is exactly what I’m looking for in players who I anticipate playing well this week at the RBC Heritage. He finished in a tie for 9th, but never felt the pressure of contending in the event. For the week, Young ranked 6th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 6th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.

Despite being one of the longest players off the tee on the PGA Tour, Young has actually played some really good golf on shorter tracks. He finished T3 at Harbour Town in 2023 and ranks 20th in the field in Good Drive% and 16th in Greens in Regulation in his past 24 rounds. He also has strong finishes at other shorter courses that can take driver out of a players hand such as Copperhead and PGA National.

Young is simply one of the best players on the PGA Tour in 2024, and I strongly believe has what it takes to win a PGA Tour event in the very near future.

Corey Conners +5500 (FanDuel)

Corey Conners has had a disappointing year thus far on the PGA Tour, but absolutely loves Harbour Town.

At last week’s Masters Tournament, the Canadian finished T30 but ranked 20th in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. In his past 24 rounds, Conners ranks 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach, 3rd in Greens in Regulation % and 24th in Good Drive %.

In Conners’ last four trips to Harbour Town, his worst finish was T31, last season. He finished T4 in 2021, T12 in 2022 and ranks 8th in Strokes Gained: Total at the course over his past 36 rounds.

Conners hasn’t been contending, but his recent finishes have been encouraging as he has finished in the top-25 in each of his past three starts prior to The Masters, including an impressive T13 at The PLAYERS. His recent improvement in ball striking as well as his suitability for Harbour Town makes Conners a high upside bet this week.

Shane Lowry (+7500) (FanDuel)

When these odds were posted after Lowry was announced in the field, I have to admit I was pretty stunned. Despite not offering much win equity on the PGA Tour over the last handful of years, Shane Lowry is still a top caliber player who has the ability to rise to the top of a signature event.

Lowry struggled to score at The Masters last week, but he actually hit the ball really well. The Irishman ranked 1st for Strokes Gained: Approach on the week and 7th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. As usual, it was the putter that let him down, as he ranked 60th in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting.

Harbour Town is most definitely one of Lowry’s favorite courses on the PGA Tour. In his six starts there, he’s finished in the top 10 three times, including third twice. Lowry is sensational at Pete Dye designs and ranks 7th in Strokes Gained: Total in his past 36 rounds on Dye tracks. 

Lowry is perfect for Harbour Town. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 2nd in Good Drive% and 5th in Green in Regulation %. If he figures it out on the greens, Shane could have his first win in America since 2015.

Lucas Glover +12000 (FanDuel)

This is one of my weekly “bet the number” plays as I strongly believe the odds are just too long for a player of Glover’s caliber. The odds have been too long on Glover for a few weeks now, but this is the first event that I can get behind the veteran being able to actually contend at. 

Glover is quietly playing good golf and returning to the form he had after the understandable regression after his two massive victories at the end of 2023. He finished T20 at The Masters, which was his best ever finish at Augusta National. For the week, Lucas ranked 18th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 20th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.

Over his past 24 rounds, Glover ranks 9th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 13th in Good Drive %. Harbour Town is a short course that the 44-year-old will be able to keep up with the top players on Tour off the tee. He’s played the course more than 20 times, with mixed results. His best finishes at Harbour Town include a T7 in 2008, but recently has a finish of T21 in 2020.

Glover has proven he can contend with the stars of the Tour on any given week, and this number is flat out disrespectful.

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