Bet the PGA Tour! Kern picks the RBC Heritage Classic where Rory McIlroy is the fave, but not his pick to win
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits out of the rough on the 18th role during the third round of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, June 13, 2020. David J. Phillip | Associated Press

Bet the PGA Tour! Kern picks the RBC Heritage Classic where Rory McIlroy is the fave, but not his pick to win

Guys like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka will all be playing it for the first time. The tourney begins Thursday, June 18.

The PGA Tour returned last week in Texas, and it turned out to be a really good tournament, even with no spectators. And it came of course at a time when America needs something, anything, on the sports landscape to help us get going again. Daniel Berger beat Collin Morikawa in a playoff, and there was a crowded leaderboard all the way through. While some good names were up there, the real big timers didn’t come out of the gates flying. And neither did our picks, sorry to say, although Jordan Spieth, who I have in my yearlong pool that I pick in December, was right there until Sunday afternoon. It happens.

Now we try once more, to get some of our whatever back.

It’s on to the RBC Heritage Classic, in Hilton Head, S.C., which is usually played the week after the Masters in April. Not this year. And like last week’s Colonial, the field will look a lot different. Usually many of the better players skip this tournament because it’s the week after a major. But guys like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka will all be playing it for the first time. Which makes things a little more interesting for sure.

Just try to forget that this week would have been the U.S. Open from Winged Foot, which will now be held in mid September. Oh well.

McIlroy is the fave, at 11-1, which is usually pretty good odds on him. Bryson Dechambeau, who nearly won this in 2016 and who contended last week after performing well before the virus-induced break, is 12. Justin Thomas is 14-1, Rahm 16-1 and Xander Schauffele, who nearly won last week, is 18-1.

Morikawa is 25-1. Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Webb Simpson are all 28-1. Reed and Rose came out strong last week. Berger is 33-1, but it’s probably asking a lot for anyone out there to go back-to-back. Tyrell Hatton and Matt Kuchar, who was last year’s runner-up, are also 33-1. As are Sungjae Im and Gary Woodland. It seems like Im is always high on the leaderboard, and last week was no exception. So, there is that.

Dustin Johnson, who’s from nearly Myrtle Beach, is 40-1 along with Koepka. Again, that seems like a lot for Johnson. Koepka I’m just not sure about right now. Jason Kokrak, who played well at Colonial, is 45-1. Matthew Fitzpatrick is 50-1, along with Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Ian Poulter, and Bubba Watson. Bubba tied for seventh last week and missed the cut in his only RBC appearance. Grace, who won this in 2016, had three 66s last week to go with a 73. And Kisner was second here in 2015.

Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel are 55-1. Scottie Scheffler is 60-1. Abraham Ancer is 66-1, with Viktor Holland and J.T. Poston, who was 10th last week and is my pool pick. You know how that mostly goes. Just reminding. Keep in mind that the last three winners of this event were Pan Cheng-tsung, Satoshi Kodaira and Wesley Bryan. Thought it was worth mentioning. But this year is not every year.

Jason Day is 80-1. So is Louis Oosthuizen. Sergio Garcia and Rory Sabbatini are among those at 90-1. Brandt Snedeker, who won here a decade ago, is 100-1. So is Harold Varner, who played well last week. Jim Furyk, a senior who’s nonetheless won here twice, is 125-1. Luke Donald, who had five top seven finishes here in 11 years, including five seconds, is 150-1. If nothing else I would put a couple of bucks on him across the board, just because. He’s 50-1 to finish in the top five, and 14 to get a top 10. Like I said, just for a few bucks. Hey, you never know.

Ok, so how to approach this? As I said last week, this early in the return there isn’t much to go on other than hunches. That’s why I would go mostly away from faves and try to find a few mid-tier guys or longshots to back and bet lighter and have more to root for.

If I were going for shorter odds I’d probably go with Dechambeau, at 12-1.

Among the next group I can always go with Im, at 33-1. Or also plus $800 for a top five. He really gives you a pretty honest effort every week, and there’s a lot to be said for that. And Rose at 28 could be hard to pass up. So, let’s try both.

I’m going to throw a handful of other names at you that are worth a minimal play but could end up keeping you very interested. Especially since I really don’t have a strong feeling yet on many of these guys. But Branden Grace and/or Kevin Kisner might be decent shots at 50-1. Hey, a five buck bet could get you $250 back, which is never a bad thing. And that would more than cover anything else you might have played too. And with top five bets, or top 10, you can always wind up cashing more than one, right?

I already told you I’ve got Poston. And as with Donald I would throw two sheckles on Snedeker across the board (he’s 20-1 for a top five and 10-1 for a top 10).

See you next week for the Travelers Championship from Connecticut, which is actually being played on the dates it was originally scheduled.



Site: Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Course: Harbour Town GL. Yardage: 7,099. Par: 71.

Purse: $7.1 million. Winner's share: $1,278,000.

Television: Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Golf Channel-PGA Tour Live), 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Friday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS Sports).

Defending champion: C.T. Pan.

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