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2024 RBC Heritage PGA Power Rankings: Top 10 Golfers To Watch

After a magical week where Augusta National flexed its superiority, the best players in the world will make a short venture to the familiar Harbour Tour for the RBC Heritage. The tournament's signature status means there is no rest for the weary after the physical and mental challenge that was The Masters. I spent the weekend in Vegas taking in the tournament, and much like the players, I think we could all use a breather before heading back out there next Thursday but that is simply not the reality of the PGA Tour schedule.

That said, I love this tournament. I have tipped the winner in consecutive years at this event and I feel honed in on what this Pete Dye gem typically rewards. We're looking at one of the shorter courses on Tour which requires positional precision and is one of the more predictive in terms of repeatable course history.

As always with this article, my primary goal is to provide a place to start your research and preparation for the incoming week. I have carefully evaluated the field to project Harbour Town course fits and expected results, to give you a glimpse at how my brain operates when it comes to handicapping golf. In addition to my Top 10 rankings, I will provide a summary for each player to give some reasoning behind their rankings. As always, thank you for your support, and good luck. I actually love this event, here are my top-ranked players!

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#10. Max Homa

I'm writing this piece from the Circa Sportsbook before the leaders tee off in their final round of the Masters. Max Homa is currently in solo 3rd place while leading the field in strokes gained approach for the week. Homa has done so despite not making a single birdie in his last 30+ holes of golf. It's unbelievable.

Homa is hoping to conjure up some Sunday "inner dog" to make a run at Scheffler. His history at this event in particular is not good but we know he has found plenty of success in the Carolina's previously with two wins at Quail Hollow a few hours away from Hilton Head. Homa has had glimpses this season but has failed to do it consistently for 72 holes. A good Sunday at Augusta should go a long way in providing some much needed confidence to jump start his 2024 season. He's already winning the mental game.

 

#9. Cameron Young

Cameron Young finished in 3rd place in his debut at the RBC Heritage in 2022 and will arrive this week at Harbour Town in the best form he's been in the last calendar year. Young is also in a tie with Ben An for 9th place after Saturday at Augusta National. His tee-to-green play has been fantastic which has produced results and he has done so without catching any lightning with the Putter.

Despite his biggest weapon in the bag being the Driver, Young has interestingly played very well throughout his career on shorter golf courses. He finished in 2nd place at the Valspar Championship and inside the top-5 at the Cognizant Classic as well. We are still anxiously awaiting the time when Cameron Young hoists a trophy. On the heels of our first major this season, Young could arrive with a narrowed focus this week on capturing that elusive victory and may catch a few studs lacking in preparation.

 

#8. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth has either missed the cut or been disqualified in four of his last 6 tournaments, yet I am crazy enough to believe he has a chance at actually winning the RBC Heritage. Spieth was a couple of near misses in a playoff last season from dawning the tartan jacket on the 18th green in back-to-back seasons.

He is just one of those players in which sometimes you can turn a blind eye to the data. For instance, he gained four strokes on approach at the Valero Texas Open out of nowhere and despite bleeding strokes on Approach in nearly every event in which he teed it up. It was his best week with his irons since the 2023 Heritage. Spieth has the unique ability to turn it on when he plays golf courses that have positive energy and history. He'll usually flash a sign of a good week with his irons right before he wins. We'll see if that is the case this week. He was this close from doing it last year!

 

#7. Corey Conners

At a golf course like Harbour Town, you want to play ball strikers like Corey Conners. It's shown in his results at this tournament, Conners has finished no worse than 31st in the last four times he has played here, and managed to find a top-5 result in 2021. Conners has been consistently a top-5 player in strokes gained Approach in both the short and long term.

He particularly separates himself from the field in the range of 175-200 yards. Given his average Driving distance and how he attacks courses like this, I believe he will have a ton of shots from this range at The Heritage. Conners can play to his strengths at a course like Harbour Town and pound greens in regulation, thus mitigating his weakness which is his around-the-green play.

#6. Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay has done everything but win at the RBC Heritage. He's been dominant, finishing in solo 3rd and solo 2nd in the past two seasons at this event. Public perception and odds drifted substantially headed into the Masters, but he played pretty well all things considered. He was top-5 in tee to green at the end of the week and seems to rectify some of the issues he had been battling with his wedges.

I thought about it a lot headed into last week, what if Patrick Cantlay was able to hold onto his lead Sunday at Riviera and win that event despite being very sick? Would we have thought of Cantlay the same way we thought of Hideki Matsuyama for The Masters? I just believe we may have all overreacted to his struggles and he is primed to showcase his ability this coming summer and will get right back to contending at the highest level.

 

#5. Matt Fitzpatrick

Before winning the 2023 RBC Heritage, Matt Fitzpatrick had remarked numerous times to the media about how Harbour Town was his most familiar and favorite course on the PGA Tour. After removing the weight he found in the handle of his Driver after nearly a year, he produced back-to-back top-10 finishes and put himself into a great position once again at The Masters.

If he didn't love this place so much, statistically I would have questions about the course fit. Harbour Town disadvantages players who can struggle with inconsistency off the tee like Fitzpatrick has done long term. The driver has been better of late, but what has really made the difference is Fitzpatrick has once again found a red-hot putter. He gained nearly +12 strokes putting at the Valero and the PLAYERS and ranks 3rd in strokes gained putting at Augusta National through three rounds.

 

#4. Rory McIlory

I'm genuinely more puzzled about what to do with Rory McIlroy than any other player in professional golf at the moment. I feel like putting himself outside the top-5 would de-legitimize these rankings entirely. It's also hard to make a statistical case for him at this point beyond remaining one of the best players to ever swing a Driver off the tee.

He still ranks #1 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained off the tee over the last 50 rounds played. McIlroy has not played this event since 2020 where he finished a disappointing T41. Those will remember he was a late withdrawal from the event last year, skipping the elevated event which drew criticism from the field after a depressing week at the Masters. I liked what I saw at the Valero in terms of his iron play and he even had moments through Florida where he flashed positive signs. The gap between Rory and Scottie Scheffler is ever-increasing and he needs to do something soon to reassert himself.

 

#3. Ludvig Aberg

It has been a long time since a young player has burst onto the scenes as a weekly favorite. Every time he tees it up, I am more and more impressed with the overall game of Ludvig Aberg. The one glaring weakness is his Around the Green game which crushed him at The Masters. With the small greens at Heritage and below-average annual Greens in regulation rates, it could present a hurdle for Aberg to overcome.

On the other hand, he may just tear apart the field from tee to green so much that it doesn't matter. No moment appears too big for Aberg and he never appears to be rattled or nervous.  Despite this being a course that may take his biggest weapon out of his hands often, I'm encouraged by the fact that he's played well at courses like Pebble Beach and won the RSM Classic. Aberg gained +15.3 strokes Tee-to-Green that week at the RSM on a golf course which is not Driver-heavy. This guy has arrived, and you should be prepared to either love or fear him on the leaderboard in the foreseeable future.

 

#2. Xander Schauffele

You guys...it's coming. Scottie Scheffler has ascended into god-like levels, but I'm not sure there is a player that I have been more impressed with in 2024 than Xander Schauffele. That is saying a lot considering he has zero wins in the last two years. Schauffele managed to shoot a bogey-free round on Saturday at Augusta National on a day which played insanely difficult for the field.

I love his mental approach at the moment, and I think that can be directly attributed to his work with Chris Como. His body language is laser-focused and confident without being cocky. He's doing everything well at the moment, which has allowed him to be a staple inside the top-10. It's only a matter of time before he wins...and likely wins big. His ability to transform into one of the best scramblers on the planet should suit him incredible well at a course like Harbour Town.

 

#1. Scottie Scheffler

I can only imagine how demoralizing it must be to play professional golf right now against Scottie Scheffler. Yes, he'll occasionally miss a 7-foot putt, but the guy is unflappable and the best we have seen in the last 10 years Tee-to-Green. Even his bad shots where you see him leaning and talking to his golf ball end up 25 feet away from the pin. His colleagues have taken notice and now are at the point where they feel like they need to conjure up magic to beat this guy.

I feel like the piece has become a broken record at the top of my weekly rankings. What else can you say? Scheffler has ascended into a tier of his own, and the next level is not even close. I'm writing this before the final round of the Masters, sitting in the Circa Sportsbook and Scheffler is -114 to win despite having only a one-stroke lead and several elite players lined up right behind him. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Best of luck this week Rotoballer family!

 

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