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Bryson DeChambeau hits on the first hole during the second round for the Masters golf tournament on April 12, 2019.
Bryson DeChambeau hits on the first hole during the second round for the Masters golf tournament on April 12, 2019.|David J. Phillip | Associated Press

Golf: Kern looks at the field at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head and finds a few players to back

It’s hard to have a real feel for the week after a major

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

OK, so the Masters is behind us. And yes, Tiger Woods won his 15th major, and first in 11 years. Maybe we should have had him. I actually will have him in the PGA in my yearlong pool that I pick in December. So we’ll see how that works out. Tiger won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in 2002, but what are the chances of him going back-to-back at age 43? Then again, he is Tiger.

Our picks last week didn’t do badly. But not nearly good enough. We had Justin Rose, who missed the cut as one of the betting faves. Go figure. But Matt Kuchar at 40-1 at least got himself into the top 10 mix. As did Jon Rahm, at shorter odds. And we did say to put a few bucks down on Phil Mickelson just because, and he gave you something to root for. For awhile. Which is all you can ask of someone at this point in his career. He tried. So did we.

And a special shout out to one of our celebrity guest pickers, newly-inducted Big 5 Hall of Fame coach Fran Dunphy, who took Francesco Molinari. And for the longest while it looked like he’d get it right. Still a worthy effort. Any pick that gets you into the lead on the final nine can’t be bad. As for Eagle/ESPN great Ron Jaworski, he went with Rory McIlroy and that didn’t fare too well. I know the feeling.

Which brings us to the RBC Heritage, in Hilton Head. This year for whatever reason it has a stronger field than usual. And you never know how a lot of guys are going to play coming off the Masters. A lot of folks who were in contention at some point on the weekend are going to be there. So we’ll try and handicap the usual suspects and give you three names to consider. OK, maybe four.

Dustin Johnson, who was a relatively quiet second last week and is back to being No. 1 in the world rankings, is 8-1. Molinari is 15-1. Bryson DeChambeau is 18-1, along with Xander Schauffele. Patrick Cantlay is 20-1. Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, and Matt Kuchar are 24-1. Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson are 30-1. Ageless Jim Furyk, who’s won here twice (2010 and ’15) is 34-1. Ian Poulter, the runner-up here a year ago, is 45-1. And Luke Donald, whose never won this thing but has five seconds and two thirds, is 60-1. Just thought it was worth mentioning.

It’s hard to have a real feel for the week after a major. I will stay away from the chalk, on general principle. That can always be a mistake, but I’ll take my chances nonetheless. For what it’s worth, Johnson is playing in his native South Carolina for the first time in a decade. I wouldn’t touch Spieth, since he’s had problems driving the ball and the tight Pete Dye Course at Harbor Town demands accuracy off the tee. So who does that reasonably leave? And keep in mind that sometimes sound reasoning winds up having little to do with it. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Well, I have Simpson in my pool, so you know what that usually means. Enough said. DeChambeau was third here in 2017 and seventh last year. Kuchar won it in 2014. Cantlay has also had two top 10s.

There’s no shortage of options. But I’m going to go with Kuchar, whose chances at non-majors always seem to be better. Feel free to draw your own conclusions. And he has been playing consistently well this season. I’ll also try DeChambeau, who had his moments (mostly early on) at Augusta. And we’ll give Poulter a shot. Might be asking too much to have him play well here two straight times, but he showed something last week.

I would also, as with Mickelson a week ago, put a sheckle or two down on Donald. It’s hard to ignore that kind of track record, even if he has pretty much fallen off the food chain.

As always, best of luck out there. And yes, tourneys without Tiger just aren’t the same. But if you cash, you won’t care that he wasn’t there. Because it’s all about us. The way it should be. Yeah, baby.

Hopefully you can take that to the bank.