Hosted by Davis Love III, the RSM Classic serves the as the final event of the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 wrap-around schedule.
Contested at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside and Plantation courses, the fall-season finale provides a tremendous backdrop for golf fans, and TV viewers alike, before the Tour heads into a month-long break.
The 156-player field on Sea Island, Georgia will include marquee players such as Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, and Zach Johnson.
Other familiar names in the field include defending champion Austin Cook, 2016 winner Mackenzie Hughes, along with Cameron Champ, Luke List, Chesson Hadley, Jim Furyk Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, and Graeme McDowell.
Tournament: RSM Classic
Dates: Nov. 15-18, 2018
Where: St. Simons Island, Georgia
Course: Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside & Plantation)
Distance: Seaside (70/7,005), Plantation (72/7,058)
Architect: H. S. Colt, C. Alison (Seaside); W. Travis (Plantation)
Redesign: Tom Fazio (Seaside); Rees Jones (Plantation)
Format: 156 players, 72 holes, 36-hole cut, stroke play
Winning Share: $1,152,000
FedExCup/OWGR Points: 500/24
Defending Champion: Austin Cook
Marquee Players: Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson, Bud Cauley, Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Champ, Graeme McDowell, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Bill Haas, Ollie Schniederjans, Jason Dufner, Luke List, Ernie Els, Russell Henley
TV & ONLINE COVERAGE
Among PGA Tour events, the RSM is one of its newer tournaments, with a born-on date of 2010. Formerly known as the McGladrey Classic, the late-fall tournament traditionally draws a decent field, despite awarding one of the smaller purses.
Located off the coast of Georgia, St. Simons Island is a golf haven, and many tour professionals live on the island, making it a convenient add to a player’s schedule.
The RSM Classic is organized and hosted by the Davis Love Foundation.
RECENT RSM CLASSIC WINNERS
2017: Austin Cook
2016: Mackenzie Hughes
2015: Kevin Kisner
2014: Robert Strep
2013: Chris Kirk
RSM CLASSIC RECORDS
Low Score: 260 – Kevin Kisner (2015)
Low Round: 60 – Tommy Gainey (2012)
THE GOLF COURSES
Situated on the southern tip of St. Simons Island, the historical Sea Island Golf Club serves as the host venue of the RSM Classic. The “Seaside” is the pinnacle of links golf, placing a premium on careful shot selection, recovery, and putting.
Originally designed in 1929 by famed architects Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison, the Seaside Course was updated in 1999 by Tom Fazio – earning it a prominent place on Golf Digest’s list of “Top 100 Courses in the United States.”
Tidal creeks, dunes, salt marshes and the St. Simons Sound frame the course, which plays fast, firm, and fun in the tradition of legendary Scottish links.
With Rees Jones’ masterful renovation, Plantation Course unfolds among a forest of ancient live oak and cedar, with a hint of danger lurking in its tidal creeks and lakes.
“Plantation” boasts expansive fairways that give definition to the course, showcasing beautiful views of the ocean, oaks, and blooming flowers – enticing the accomplished and inviting the novice.
Jones calls the new Plantation “parkland by the sea” for its magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and its lush natural scenery. Rees added, “I took the work of Walter Travis (who designed Plantation in 1926) and Dick Wilson (who fashioned Retreat in 1960) and produced a classic style course with a similar flavor.”
Austin Cook, the 26-year-old PGA Tour rookie, held a three-stroke lead after 54 holes, largely off the strength of a phenomenal 8-under 62 on Friday.
A shaky bogey-5 on the par-4 2nd hole gave early hope to his challengers, but that bogey ended up being his sole blemish in an otherwise solid round.
Finishing his first nine with six pars and a bogey, Cook never looked close to wilting, even when former Tour winner Chris Kirk closed the gap to one.
After the turn, Cook notched another five pars, and then sprinted to the finish with three birdies over his final four holes, including an impressive 20-foot birdie putt on 18 to put an exclamation point on the round.
Cook only bogeyed two holes the entire week, while leading the field with 23 birdies. He was accurate off the tees, finishing T4 in fairways hit, and took advantage of the consistently good placement, hitting 83.3% of his greens in regulation, the second best total in the field.
TOP 5: 2017 RSM CLASSIC
1 Austin Cook -21
2 J.J. Spaun -17
3 Brian Gay -16
4 Brian Harman -14
4 Kevin Kisner -14
4 Andrew Landry -14
4 Chris Kirk -14
FULL FIELD: WORLD RANK & ODDS
The RSM Classic | Sea Island Golf Club | St. Simons Island, Georgia | Nov. 15-18, 2018
UP NEXT ON TOUR
The RSM Classic concludes the PGA Tour’s wrap-around portion of the new schedule.
The 2019 season will resume in January with the traditional swing through Hawaii before moving to the West Coast.
JAN 03-06: Sentry Tournament of Champions (Kapalua HI)
JAN 10-13: Sony Open (Waialae CC, HI)
JAN 17-20: CareerBuilder Challenge (PGA West, CA)
JAN 24-27: Farmers Insurance Open (San Diego, CA)
Credits: Getty Images, PGA Tour Media