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Glad to be Back

by Mike Glasscott
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

 

 

McGladrey Classic

 

Sea Island Resort

Seaside Course

St. Simons Island, Georgia

 

Seaside Course

 

Yards: 7,005 as per the scorecard

Par: 70 (35-365)

Greens: Bermudagrass

Stimpmeter: 12’

Rough: Bermudagrass at almost 3”

Bunkers: 40

Water Hazards: 7

Course Architects: A hybrid course melded from two nines. Harry Colt designed the original nine in 1929. Joe Lee designed the marsh nine in 1973. Tom Fazio connected the dots and put them both into one in 1998

Purse: $5,600,000

Winner’s Share: $1,008,000

FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner

Defending Champion: Chris Kirk holed everything in sight coming home to defeat Tim Clark and Briny Beard by a shot.

Dates: October 23-26

Notes: Just 132 players this week will play stroke play and the top 70 and ties will advance to the weekend.

 

 

 

History Lessons

 

For the second season in a row, the TOUR will play a wrap-around schedule as the 2014-15 season moves to week No. 3 on St Simons Island. This is the third of six events to open the season with 40 more to be played in 2015.

 

There were 45 tournaments last season and the USA won 28 of them, down from 31 victories in only 40 events in 2013. The USA put the first notch in their belt last week as Ben Martin broke his duck and won for the first time on TOUR. He joins Korean Sang-moon Bae as the only two winners so far in 2014-15.

 

There were 12, first-time winners in 2013 and only 10 last year. Ben Martin is not a rookie but he is a first-time winner.

 

 

 

 

Past Champions

 

The McGladrey Classic began in 2010

 

2010 Heath Slocum -14

2011 Ben Crane -15

2012 Tommy Gainey -16

2013 Chris Kirk -14

 

Every victory has been by one shot.

 

Only Crane needed extra holes to claim his title as he defeated Webb Simpson in a playoff.

 

Gainey holds the course record, 60, and the tournament record 264. He is also the only first-time winner.

 

Slocum, who won the inaugural event, is the only first-time entrant to win. The other three winners had teed it up here before.

 

Kirk is the only winner with ties to the island as he moved out the spring before his victory.

 

Remember, this event was played in November last season after two events in Asia. 

 

I would suggest bookmarking Rob Bolton’s 2014-15 rankings at PGATOUR.COM for EVERY player and Ryan O’Sullivan’s top 125 at Rotoworld.com. This isn’t school; we encourage cheating and sharing ideas!

 

 

 

Inside the Ropes

 

The Seaside Course stays on theme with the first three stops of the new season as the pros have seen resort course, TPC course and another resort course this week. The first four years have seen the winner rack up 19, 22, 20 and 20 birdies plus a final round 60 to win in 2012.

 

The course rankings from the last four years are:

 

33 of 52 in 2010 (-.634)

31 of 51 in 2011 (-.429)

36 of 49 in 2012 (-.719)

21 of 48 in 2013 (+.255)

 

The winners over the last four years suggest any style of player can win here. Length is not important as the course plays just a hair over 7,000 yards but accuracy and course management will be. The greens are above average in size and Chris Kirk proved last year that home cooking isn’t a bad thing as he made EVERYTHING down the stretch as he had seen every putt on those greens. Avoiding bogeys, making birdies and cashing in on the par fives, both of them, will be necessary to contend this week.

 

The TOUR moves back to Bermudagrass greens after a week of Bent/Poa at Frys.com and Bentgrass last week at TPC Summerlin. Bermudagrass is can be grainy and difficult to putt so look for guys who have past successes on this surface.

 

As with all courses on the water, wind should be an issue during the week. Some players have better records than others on courses played on the coasts. I’ll be paying attention to that as well.

 

 

The Chalk

 

 

Webb Simpson: He’s posted 11 of 12 rounds career here in the 60s and was the playoff runner-up to Ben Crane in 2011. He made nothing on the greens last week but still finished T4 because of his ball-striking. He was T11 in fairways and T7 in greens which calculated as T2 in strokes gained tee-to-green. That performance enhanced my recent beliefs that he dominates certain tracks and those tracks are usually “user-friendly” and Seaside qualifies again this week.

 

Matt Kuchar: The local resident finally broke through for gamers last year with a top 10 after T25 and T20 in the event’s first two years. Kuchar has played himself into a favorite just about every week he tees it up and his home course isn’t pushing me away from that decision again this week. I’m also bullish on him again as life gets back to normal with caddy Lance Bennett after his wife tragically passed late last summer. Back to as normal as possible.

 

Bill Haas: His 2013-14 season was a tough one for impatient gamers to swallow as he made every cut where he wasn’t injured (27 of 28) and racked up 17 top 25s. The “problem” was he only hit the top 10 five times. I’ll GLADLY take a guy who consistently puts himself in that position because he will kick the door in again. Last year was the first year in five that Haas did NOT win on TOUR. He’s settled on a new caddy that is not his brother so let’s see if he can get back to his winning ways again. He was solo second in the inaugural McGladrey and hasn’t played since. This is his first start since T16 at The TOUR Championship. All four Playoff events he hit the top 16 but nothing better than T9. Gamers love and hate that all at the same time!

 

Chris Kirk: The 2013 champ proved to gamers just how important knowing the greens complexes can be as he saved pars and bogeys from everywhere coming home last year. He remarked after the event that there probably wasn’t a putt on these greens he hadn’t seen even though he moved out before his win last season. This will be his fifth-straight event on the Seaside course and he has played 15 of 16 rounds at par or better.

 

Scott Brown: When course form meets current form…Brown rocketed up the leaderboard last weekend with 66 on Sunday to catch T10. The previous week at Frys.com he used a 67 on Sunday to finish T12. In two trips to St Simons Island he’s been T20 and T4 with all eight rounds par or better and six of them in the 60s. The Augusta native likes golf in this part of the world as he was T5 at RBC Heritage on Hilton Head last spring. His only victory came on a resort course on the water in Puerto Rico in 2013.  

 

Brian Harman: He spent last weekend hunting in Georgia according to his Twitter so he should be rested and ready to go as this week is a home game for him as well. The Savannah native and St Simons resident has played plenty of golf in this part of the world and has posted T27 and T10 in the last two, and only, times out at McGladrey. Of those eight rounds, six are in the 60s and only one is over-par. He’s on pace for a break-out season after picking up his first win at the JDC last summer.

 

Russell Knox: Fantasy gold over the last season or so as 17 of his 20 made cuts last year were T34 or better. He was close at Honda as he fell in a four-man playoff to Russell Henley. He could have folded last Sunday after going out in 38 but he clawed back with 32 coming home. He was 19th in strokes gained tee-to-green last year and 21st in scoring average. His solo third last week won’t hurt his confidence. Funnily enough he’s finished T27 and T32 the last two years here. #nosurprise

 

Tony Finau: Gamers who ignored him at the Frys.com were punished. Gamers who ignored him the following week in Vegas were punished more severely. Maybe the third time will be the charm! He’s been in both of my previews to start the year but this week he shoots into the big boy section because he’s earned it with his big boy play. At just a hair over 7,000 yards this week will be an interesting look behind the curtain to see how he manages a golf course. He’ll have to keep the ball in play this week to continue his fantastic last two months on both TOURS.

 

Brendon Todd: This is quite simple. He made 25 of 29 cuts last year. He hits every fairway and holes plenty of putts. Also, he’s back on courses where he has familiarity which is completely the opposite of how he closed last season. He was T16 last year because of a closing 71 after three rounds in the 60s.

 

Charles Howell III: He’s played the weekend all four times they’ve played this event and his last round last year was the first one ever over par. He posted 62 to close in 2010 for his first of two top 10s (T6 and T7 in 2012). The Legend of the Fall/Winter knocked the rust off at the Frys.com with 73-75-77 to bounce back to T18 last week as he closed 67-67. Ahhhhh, that’s better!

 

Martin Laird: He backed up his T3 at Frys.com with T18 last week and that included 71 on both of those Sundays. Finishing the job is the next step for Laird but gamers must be encouraged that he’s teeing it up again this week as he looks to keep his hot-ish streak continuing along. I say, especially in a field that’s this quiet, jump on guys like Brown and Laird who are temperate. I have been told my multiple players that these streaks come and go just a few times a year. I always prefer riding the streak than trying to break a guy out of a slump. If it gets windy, I’ll move him up even higher.

 

Harris English: Gamers were thrilled last week to see his name when they checked the leaderboard on the weekend. His disappointing summer/fall carried over to the Frys.com to open as he posted 72-72 MC. He righted the ship last weekend in Vegas as a disappointing opening round 71 was followed by 68-66-67 to finish T16. That was only his third weekend in his last eight and his best finish since T7 at TPC River Highlands. I’m bullish this week because he’s posted T27 and T15 his only two times here.

 

Ben Martin: He won last week and only got up-and-down four of 13 times. His steady all-around game is full of confidence and so is his putter. He might be like Jimmy Walker last year in the sense that he’ll keep moving forward than flashing the pan. He’s shown over the years that he has all the tools and he might just have needed that shot of confidence to make the jump.

 

Adam Hadwin: His 63 was the low round on Sunday at the Shriners and his T10 was his fifth top 10 in his last seven starts on either TOUR. #sizzling

 

Hudson Swafford:  I always worry about his putter in the back of my mind but the Sea Island resident has been quite hot lately. He was T8 at Frys.com and T18 last week in Vegas and if any week his putter should be able to help him, ti should be on his home track.

 

 

 

 

Form/Horses-for-Courses

 

Robert Streb: He closed with 67 at Frys.com and used that to springboard into the top 10 in Vegas as he closed 67-67-66. In his last six starts, four of them have gone for T18 or better. #form

 

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Nick Watney: After a soft opening on a course he’s had great success, TPC Summerlin, I’m encouraged to see Watney pick up and enter this week on the opposite coast. Last week was a “ho-hum, told-you-so” for gamers but this week could be the week to make the move. His ability to find fairways and greens won’t hurt especially if the wind picks up but since he’s a first-timer, this is a bit of a risky play.

 

Scott Langley: The new dad was in the thick of it at Frys.com before six bogeys on Sunday wiped him back to T17. I did like the fact that he found time to circle 20 birdies though. He’s had success on resort courses in the past because it’s his tee ball that can be the problem but his excellent short game (and short course) could be the perfect mix. He was T21 last year.

 

Scott Piercy: Tough call this week but I’m going ride the momentum outside of his friendly confines of Las Vegas. I’m not building my team around him but if he’s available for the right price, I’m in.

 

Kevin Kisner: After T21 at Frys.com he was seven-under heading into the weekend in Vegas. His 72-72 weekend to finish T56 might scare gamers off but he’s hit T26 and T20 (last year) in three tries at McGladrey. Plus, he’s a Georgia grad and they are required to win on TOUR. It’s state law.

 

David Hearn: After a Saturday 78 (gulp) at Frys.com he’s posted five consecutive rounds of 70 or better, including a pair of 66s last week at the Shriners to finish T7. He’s played the weekend in all three trips to McGladrey. He stayed focused even with hockey season just starting. Impressive.

 

Aaron Baddeley: Finished last week with all four rounds under par including a Sunday 66 to finish T33 after T31 at Frys.com. He fits the Ben Crane-Tommy Gainey-30-something winner profile.

 

Cameron Tringale: Just keeps sniffing around; his MC last week he closed with 68, his best round in his last five. Let’s see if he frustrates gamers again this week!

 

Michael Thompson: He’s played here twice and finished third and T10. He has three 65s and all eight rounds in the 60s. He’s 0-2 for his first two this fall so buyer must beware.

 

Heath Slocum: The inaugural champ in 2010 backed up that effort with T15, T61 and T16 in his last three. He closed with 66 in two of his last three so don’t start cussing him until AFTER the round on Sunday. #patience

 

Brendon de Jonge: With T16 last year, T4 in 2012 and T15 in 2010, he qualifies as horse-for-course.

 

Scott Langley: The new dad was in the thick of it at Frys.com before six bogeys on Sunday wiped him back to T17. I did like the fact that he found time to circle 20 birdies though. He’s had success on resort courses in the past because it’s his tee ball that can be the problem but his excellent short game (and short course) could be the perfect mix. He was T21 last year.

 

Daniel Summerhays: After MC and MC with nothing in the 60s, Summerhays showed up here last year after a blah October and was T10. His other top 10 was T2 at Valero so he can handle a bit of wind. Handling gamers’ expectations has been another thing…

 

Davis Love III: He lives here. He’s the tournament director. If you need a cut made, this could be an option as he knows every inch of this ground and was T4 in 2012.

 

David Toms: This will be his fifth jaunt and he’s already banged a pair of podium finishes with T3 in 2010 and solo second in 2012 when he closed with 63.

 

 

 

Longshots

 

Jonathan Byrd: He made nothing last week but only had five bogeys to finish T33. He’s three-for-three here with nine of 12 rounds 70 or better.

 

John Huh: He closed 67-68-67 at Shriners as he finished in the top 20 in both fairways and greens.

 

John Peterson: He won’t need 20-under to win this week so we’ll see if the changed man can pick up at top 25 or better.

 

Robert Allenby: Only two rounds of par of worse in 14 tries here. He could be this year’s Briny Baird.

 

Erik Compton: He imrpoved on his T48 at the Frys.com with T26 this week. He's trending in the proper direction and can really get it going with the putter.

 

 

 

 

 Rookie/Up-and-Comer of the Week Last Week

 

Once called the “Jordan Spieth” of the week, I had to retire that name after his last two seasons on TOUR. Now, we’ll keep a broad view of newer names/faces that gamers should pay attention to as the season moves on. Some former examples in this column include Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Chesson Hadley.

 

Frys.com: Jon Curran, T8; Zach Blair, T12; Tony Finau, T12;

 

Shriners: Tony Finau, T7

 

 

 

Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon

 

Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.

 

 

 

 

Coming Wednesday

 

And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the McGladrey Classic and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter.

Mike Glasscott
Fantasy Golf columnist Mike Glasscott joined Rotoworld in 2012. He can be contacted via email at RotoworldGlass@gmail.com or on Twitter.