The first major tournament of the 2023 PGA season is in the rearview mirror. Jon Rahm won The Masters — the second major of his career — by a convincing four strokes, outpacing both Phil Mickelson and Brooks Kopeka who tied for second place.
For those who bet on The Masters and have a taste for more golf action, keep in mind, the next major tournament isn’t until May 18, when the PGA Championship tees off. But there’s no need to wait for a major — there will still be plenty of compelling golf to be played in the next five weeks.
The RBC Heritage tournament held at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C. has traditionally followed directly in the footsteps of the Masters, and that remains the case in 2023 as it will tee off Thursday, April 13.
The timing isn’t the only consistent part of the event, as Harbour Town has played host to the event for the last 53 seasons. While it doesn’t match the prestige of the opening major of the calendar, the Heritage does offer a significant $20 million purse which helps keep the field robust.
Big Names At Heritage
Some of the biggest names of the sport will tee off in this year’s edition, including Rahm (currently +950 to win the tournament on Tipico Sportsbook), Max Homa (+3000), and Scottie Scheffler (the current favorite at +850) – the last of whom is making his debut at the tournament.
The field did take a few hits with news early on this week with Rory McIlroy withdrawing after a disappointing Masters finish. Meanwhile, Will Zalatoris is out for the season after undergoing back surgery. Despite those absences, 38 of the top 50 golfers in the current world rankings will appear at this week’s tournament.
After the quick turnaround from the Masters to the RBC Heritage tournament, the tour will take a brief break before kicking off the Mexico Open at Vidanta Vallarta on April 27. While the Mexico Open has an extensive standalone history, it became a part of the PGA Tour for the first time in 2022, which Rahm won while shooting -17.
One particularly unique thing about the tournament is the Vidanta Vallarta course is only six years old, making it among the most modern courses on the tour. It’s also one of the lengthiest courses of the year.
Unlike the RBC Heritage, the Mexico Championship doesn’t project to draw many big names. But the field isn’t official at this point and won’t be for some time.
Good Tune-Ups For the PGA
One week later, the tour travels to Quail Hollow Golf Course in Charlotte, N.C. for the Wells Fargo Championship. The event took a brief detour away from Quail Hollow in 2022, as the course was used for the Presidents Cup.
Max Homa’s victory at TPC Potomac in 2022 doesn’t necessarily have much predictive value for 2023, but Homa also won in 2018 with other recent victors also being widely known names of the sport such as McIlroy and Jason Day.
While the club was created in 1959, the course has been redone as recently 2016 to attract the biggest tournaments on the calendar such as the PGA Championship — which it will host for the second time in 2025.
The depth of the field has been inconsistent in recent years. While it’s one of the final available tune-ups before the PGA Championship, only one golfer ranked in the top 10 played in the tournament in 2022.
The final event ahead of the PGA Championship is the AT&T Byron Nelson, held at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Tex. The 2023 edition will be the third held at TPC, with K.H. Lee the two-time defending champion. He’s put up massive winning scores of 25 and 22 shots under par, in large part due to his work on the green – which is the key to perfecting this course.
In past iterations of the event, we’ve seen big-name winners such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. We can bet on another loaded field this year as golfers look to get their swing in order prior to the second major championship of the calendar.
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