From the year's first major at Augusta National, the PGA TOUR heads to one of the best parties of the year at the RBC Heritage and Harbour Town Golf Links. Having been to both, the mood of the two tournaments is strikingly different. Both incredible in their own way.
Harbour Town was lengthened last year to 7101 yards, and the par 71 layout will remain at that yardage this time around as well. Just like the cameras at Augusta National can't do justice to the slopes and hills, the same can be said about how tight and tree lined Harbour Town plays. It's not an exaggeration to say that a player can hit a drive in the fairway on a par 4 and have a semi-blind second shot.
So what type of player does Harbour Town favor? Someone who is great at something. Brian Gay and Brandt Snedeker have won here and both are excellent putters. Boo Weekley and Davis Love III are multiple winners and did so with excellent ball striking.
The biggest reason for the discrepancy in types of champions is probably the greens. They are among some of the smallest in the world. An excellent ball striker can find them more often and have an advantage over the field by not having to scramble as much. An excellent putter, however, will enjoy success on the greens he finds and stands a better chance of scrambling and holing par putts.
It's worth keeping an eye on the forecasted wind as Thursday nears. Last year's opening round was extremely windy, and parts of the course sit directly on the Calibogue Sound and are exposed. Consequently, noted wind player Chad Campbell shared the first-round lead at 4-under-par.
We will dive into the power rankings tomorrow as we ease our way out of Augusta and down to the South Carolina coast.