2021 RSM Classic Power Rankings

2021 RSM Classic Power Rankings
Webb Simpson acknowledges the gallery on the 18th green during the final round of The RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on Nov 24, 2019 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Stan Badz / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

This week, Georgia’s picturesque Saint Simons Island is the host site of the last full-field PGA Tour event of the 2021 calendar year: the RSM Classic, where a talented field hopes to get their name on the tournament’s 12-year list of victors before breaking for the rest of November and all of December.

This late-year event features 10 players ranked inside the top 40 of the OWGR, and has been a consistently-exciting event in its short history, with the last three requiring a playoff.

Robert Streb defends his title from a year ago, where he knocked off Kevin Kisner in a playoff, and should be feeling confident, given that he is the tournament’s only two-time champion, also taking the 2014 title.

Where does Streb rank among the heavyweights this week? Our top 20 is as follows:

15. Andrew Landry

Andrew Landry PGA Tour
Andrew Landry lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac (Maryland). Credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

CUT-T4-CUT-T7-CUT: Landry’s 2022 season has been something of a microcosm of his career so far. Based on the pattern, this should be one of his good weeks.

Will it? Well, in five Sea Island starts in his career, he has two top-5s, two missed cuts, and a T59, so basically it’s nothing out of the ordinary for him. He did shoot a tremendous weekend here last year however, following a Saturday 65 with a Sunday 64 on his way to a T4 and just two strokes out of the playoff.

FedEx Rank: 30
World Rank: 185
Odds To Win: 150-1

14. Talor Gooch

Talor Gooch
Talor Gooch looks on at the 15th green during the final round of the Desert Classic at the Stadium Course on Jan 20, 2019 in La Quinta, CA. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Looking for his first career victory, Gooch started his 2022 season red-hot, finishing T11 or better in each of his first four starts. He was tamed by Houston’s Memorial Park last week, opening tremendously with a 65, but then stumbled to three straight over par rounds and a finish of T60.

After posting seven birdies on Thursday, he had just three combined over rounds 2-4. Assuming he isn’t injured, we are going to overlook his Houston Open finish, and instead focus on the tremendous improvements he had made up to that point.

Ranked 14th in the current FedExCup Standings and 52nd in the world rankings, he should be motivated to post one more strong start before the break.

FedEx Rank: 14
World Rank: 52
Odds To Win: 40-1

13. Joel Dahmen

Joel Dahmen Barracuda Championship
Joel Dahmen plays his shot from the 16th tee during the first round of the Barracuda Championship at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood GC on Aug 5, 2021 in Truckee, CA. (Photo by Alex Goodlett via Getty Images)

Dahmen’s results at Sea Island have not been especially impressive, but he absolutely tore up the Seaside Course in the second round a year ago, shooting a 61 after opening with a 74 on the Plantation Course.

He arrives in Georgia coming off a T5 finish last week in Houston, where he closed the tournament with a 5-under 65. The 34-year-old University of Washington product has not shot a single over-par rounds in any of his last three starts, and has just one such round out of 16 in the new season.

FedEx Rank: 46
World Rank: 88
Odds To Win: 66-1

12. Danny Lee

Danny Lee lines up a putt during the second round of the 2018 PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl. Credit: Getty Images/David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

One of the most impressive turnarounds of the early 2021-22 season has come from Danny Lee, who was a disaster last season, making only nine cuts in 24 starts and just three finishes inside the top 25 with nothing better than a T19.

Lee missed the latter part of the year recovering from an injury, and has looked rejuvenated in his last two starts, with a T2 in Bermuda and a T7 in Mexico. Now back in the U.S., he hopes to snag at least his first top 10 since March of 2020, the week before the COVID layoff, where he was T5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational despite back-to-back 75s on the weekend.

FedEx Rank: 16
World Rank: 198
Odds To Win: 66-1

11. Joaquin Niemann

Joaquin Niemann TOUR Championship Fastest Round East Lake
Joaquin Niemann and caddie Gary Mathews celebrate after finishing on the 18th green during the final round of the TOUR Championship on Sept 5, 2021 in Atlanta, GA. Niemann played his round in a record 1 hour 53 minutes. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins via Getty Images)

The young Chilean had been struggling some since a hot weekend at The Olympics in August, but a T5 two weeks ago at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba had many thinking the world No. 30 was nearly back to the form that netted him three runner-up finishes in the 2021 season.

To their surprise, Niemann bogeyed three of his final five holes last week in Houston and missed the cut entirely.

If he can put that disappointment aside, he should be a good bet to pass his previous best of T44 in two starts at Sea Island.

In both starts, he opened with a 73 and immediately bounced back with a second-round 66. Can he play better out of the gates this week?

FedEx Rank: 46
World Rank: 30
Odds To Win: 33-1

10. Harris English

Harris English Leads WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Round 2
Harris English looks over his yardage book during the second round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind on Aug 6, 2021 in Memphis, Tenn. (Photo by Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Now the world No. 12, English somehow rose four spots in the OWGR last week despite not playing. Now he is hoping to validate that high rank despite his play largely stalling since the FedExCup playoffs.

As a whole, he was phenomenal in 2021 though, with two victories among eight top 10s, and he contended at several majors. He has finished each of the last three seasons ranked in the top 20 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, and he finished T6 at last year’s RSM, closing with a 10-under 62 after playing himself out of the tournament on Saturday.

FedEx Rank: N/R (0)
World Rank: 12
Odds To Win: 28-1

9. Mackenzie Hughes

Mackenzie Hughes 2021 U.S. Open
Mackenzie Hughes plays his shot from the 5th tee during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

The 30-year-old Canadian has one career victory on the PGA Tour, and it came here early in the 2017 season, when he opened with a 61 and held on to win in a five-man playoff.

While he has not won again since, and tends to be pretty hit-or-miss, Hughes has continued to flash ability, contending twice in majors last season.

Strangely, though, in his four RSM starts since his breakthrough win, he has three missed cuts and a solo-65. His short game is good enough to get him back into the Sea Island mix, and he is in good form after finishing T4 in last month’s ZOZO Championship

FedEx Rank: 30
World Rank: 50
Odds To Win: 50-1

8. Adam Scott

Adam Scott
Adam Scott reacts to his putt on the 9th hole during the final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2019 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

The smooth-shooting Aussie took a month off after a T5 at THE CJ CUP @ Summit, where he held the 36-hole lead, not playing particularly well in Houston, finishing T54 despite a promising start (round 1 68).

None of his 352 career PGA Tour starts have been at Sea Island, making this a rare debut event for the veteran player, but we suspect he will be able to draw positively on his experience, and he has been putting well as of late. He still averages well over 300 yards off the tees too.

FedEx Rank: 62
World Rank: 40
Odds To Win: 33-1

7. Corey Conners

Corey Conners RBC Heritage
Corey Conners talks with his caddie on the 9th tee during the second round of the RBC Heritage on April 16, 2021 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Easily the best player in the world over the past year, among those who claim Canadian citizenship, Conners finished T10 at last year’s RSM off the strength of a stellar 66-64 weekend, putting on a tee-to-green clinic at the Seaside Course.

Conners missed just four cuts in 29 starts last season, and was frequently in the mix, posting an incredible 19 finishes inside the top 25. He also ranked inside the top 13 on Tour a year ago in strokes gained: off-the-tee, strokes gained: approach-the-green, strokes gained: tee-to-green, greens in regulation, and driving accuracy.

FedEx Rank: 113
World Rank: 36
Odds To Win: 25-1

6. Robert Streb

Robert Streb CJ CUP Summit
Robert Streb looks on during the first round of THE CJ CUP at The Summit Club on Oct 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Alex Goodlett via Getty Images for CJ Cup)

The only two-time winner of the RSM Classic, Streb won a three-man playoff in 2014, and then beat Sea Island powerhouse Kevin Kisner in a playoff last year.

In addition to his past success here, the 34-year-old has posted top-10s in two of his last three starts, including a T7 in Houston last week after closing with a bogey-free 5-under 65, the second-lowest score in the Sunday field.

His stellar short game makes him impossible to ignore at a course that rewards the short game so immensely.

FedEx Rank: 35
World Rank: 115
Odds To Win: 66-1

5. Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner Wins 2021 Wyndham Championship
Kevin Kisner celebrates after his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Wyndham Championship in sudden death on the second playoff hole at Sedgefield CC on Aug 15, 2021 in Greensboro, NC. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton via Getty Images)

To say Kisner, who is from nearby South Carolina and played his college golf at nearby University of Georgia, is comfortable at Sea Island would be an enormous understatement. The 37-year-old won the 2015 edition of this tournament by a whopping six strokes.

He was close to getting his second win here a year ago, shooting a final-round 63 to force a playoff with eventual winner Robert Streb.

In addition, Kisner has two other top 5 finishes and one additional top 10. Last season was a bit up-and-down, but that biggest up was a victory three months ago at the Wyndham Championship. He arrives at St. Simons Island off a month of rest.

FedEx Rank: 197
World Rank: 37
Odds To Win: 40-1

4. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson plays a tee shot during a practice round prior to the 120th U.S. Open Championship on September 16, 2020 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The seven-time Tour winner from North Carolina cannot be ignored when he plays in this part of the country, and similar to South Carolina’s RBC Heritage before he finally broke through there in 2020, Webb has done everything here, but win.

Simpson has finished runner-up at Sea Island twice, losing a 2011 playoff to Ben Crane and a 2019 playoff to Tyler Duncan. In fact, Webb was 0-5 in playoffs for his career before coming out victorious in a crazy six-man playoff at the Wyndham Championship in August.

He also finished third at the RSM in 2019 and T7 in 2014.

Can he finally break through? He finished last season with four top-20s in his final five starts, and after two up-and-down events to start his new season, he was T14 in his most recent start at THE CJ CUP @ Summit, shooting four rounds in the 60s.

FedEx Rank: 78
World Rank: 26
Odds To Win: 14-1

3. Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith RBC Heritage
Cameron Smith talks with his caddie on the 13th hole during the first round of the RBC Heritage on April 15, 2021 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The world’s highest-ranked Aussie (No. 23) is in excellent form at the moment, with his T15 in Houston last week being his fifth top-15 in his last six starts.

While Smith did notch a victory last season, it was in a team event that did not count towards world rankings points, and given the competitive drive he has shown, he has to be itching to get back in the winner’s circle by himself.

He finished runner-up in two events last year, and made $5.9 million in earnings, by far the most of any single season in his career. It bodes well for his chances in his RSM debut that he gained at least .87 strokes to the field with his putter in all four rounds a week ago.

FedEx Rank: 61
World Rank: 23
Odds To Win: 16-1

2. Louis Oosthuizen

Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen and caddie walk together on the 17th green during the first round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 17, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

The lone representative of the top 10 in the world rankings this week is No. 9 Oosthuizen, who is coming off a career 2021 season, where he posted four runner-ups and two additional third-place finishes among 14 top 25s in 21 starts.

The South African finished first on Tour in strokes gained: putting last year and tenth in strokes gained: around-the-green, so you might say that he is a fit for Sea Island. His two previous starts at the RSM were ten years apart: a T4 in 2011 and a missed cut last year. It was his only missed cut of the entire season.

On paper, Louis is clearly among the favorites this week. We’d say that the only thing keeping him out of the top spot is that he still has never a Tour event on U.S. soil but, that would make little sense when it is revealed that our number one is.

FedEx Rank: 107
World Rank: 9
Odds To Win: 25-1

1. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler WGC-Dell Match Play Championship
Scottie talks to his caddie on the 12th tee in his match against Matt Kuchar during the semifinal round of the WGC-Dell Match Play at Austin CC on Mar 28, 2021 in Austin, TX. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

The No. 17 in the OWGR is the highest-ranked player in the world without a PGA Tour victory. It looked like that might come to a close when Scheffler led last week’s Houston Open with nine holes to play, but he stagnated on the back and was caught and passed by Jason Kokrak.

It had to be painful for Scheffler to not win in his native Texas, his second runner-up in the Lone Star State since March, but he does have one last chance to make that victory happen in 2021 when he tees up at Sea Island this week.

The 25-year-old is now on a T4-T2 streak and was T5 in his only start at the RSM, in 2020. He should be exceptionally motivated, if he wants to be a part of the Tournament of Champions when regular golf resumes in early January.

FedEx Rank: 12
World Rank: 17
Odds To Win: 14-1

Next Five: Branden Grace, Russell Henley, Adam Long, Denny McCarthy, Aaron Rai


Please enter your name here