World number one Dustin Johnson is suffering a mini-slump – a missed cut in the Masters last week the latest setback in a poor couple of months – and he will be hoping that the RBC Heritage can provide a fillip.
From the final round of the Genesis Invitational onwards, Johnson has struggled, finishing tailed off in the WGC at The Concession, then in the Players Championship at Sawgrass, before a group-stage elimination in the WGC-Match Play.
Home Comforts Could Work for DJ
A defeat to Kevin Na was a humbling Match Play experience for Johnson, but even more galling must have been finishing two shots shy of the cut-line at Augusta. He won the Masters in record-breaking fashion last November, but a dismal title defence showed just how much his standards have dipped since he won the Saudi International at the start of February.
RBC are one of Johnson’s main sponsors – and South Carolina is the state in which he grew up – so maybe the Heritage is just the tonic he needs and the
11/1 is worth taking. The Carolinian giant has failed to finish in the top 15, though, in five previous Heritage starts.
Simpson Equipped For Successful Title Defence
Johnson has lacked sparkle at Harbour Town in the past, but Webb Simpson relishes the layout and destroyed it last year on his way to victory.
Simpson played almost perfect golf down the stretch to see off a plucky Abraham Ancer in the last Heritage – and there is no obvious reason why the defending champion will not contend again.
The 35-year-old churns out fairways and greens, and he has become one of the best scramblers on the circuit, which makes him an ideal candidate to thrive around the tiny Harbour Town dancefloors.
Simpson made a slow start at Augusta last week, but his caddie spotted something in his swing at the halfway stage of the tournament and he got back in the groove over the weekend. It is reasonable to expect a stout title defence from Simpson and the
12/1 against his name will appeal to plenty of punters.
Fitzpatrick Sets Sights on Debut Tour Win
25/1 available about Matthew Fitzpatrick may prove even more popular than the Simpson offer.
Fitzpatrick has been threatening a PGA Tour breakthrough all year – and Harbour Town is a venue which plays perfectly to his strengths.
The Sheffield man is one of the most precise operators in the game – and he possesses a magic touch on and around the greens – so the thin fairways and small putting surfaces of the Heritage assignment hold no fears for him.
Fitzpatrick won the DP World Tour Championship just before Christmas – getting back to winning ways on the European Tour – and his 2021 Stateside form suggests PGA Tour success is close.
Fifth place at Riviera this year, then tenth at Bay Hill and ninth at Sawgrass highlight how straight the 26-year-old is hitting his ball. If his putter warms after a cold week at Augusta, Fitz could prove the man to beat.
*All odds correct at time of writing.