Defending champ, S.C. native Johnson among early RBC Heritage commitments

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The first round of players have begun to announce their commitments to play in the 51st RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, and the initial wave includes several big-name stars, as well as the defending champion.

Seven members of Team RBC — including South Carolina native Dustin Johnson — have committed to play April 15-21 at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Team RBC ambassadors Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell and Ryan Palmer will all be competing for a chance to take home a tartan jacket — or in the case of Furyk, Kuchar, Snedeker, and McDowell … another one.

Johnson joined Team RBC in 2018 and last year competed at the RBC Heritage for the first time since 2009. He secured three PGA Tour victories in 2018, including the RBC Canadian Open. Johnson has earned 20 victories on the PGA Tour since leaving Coastal Carolina University in 2007 and was named the 2016 PGA Tour Player of the Year. He is currently second in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Simpson, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the newest member of Team RBC and has a great history at the RBC Heritage. He has carded five top-20 finishes in nine starts, including a second-place finish in 2013 after a losing a sudden-death playoff to fellow RBC Team member McDowell.  He has earned five victories on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2018 Players Championship.

Two-time Heritage champion Furyk served as the United States Ryder Cup captain for the 42nd Ryder Cup and was an assistant captain on the winning 2017 Presidents Cup team. The University of Arizona grad has won 17 PGA Tour titles, and was the 2010 Player of the Year and FedExCup Champion. 

Kuchar won the 2014 RBC Heritage in dramatic style, holing a bunker shot for birdie on the 18th hole to earn a final-round 64 and a one-stroke victory. It was his seventh PGA Tour win and helped earn him a spot on his third U.S. Ryder Cup team.  Kuchar, who has been part of Team RBC since 2011, was also a member of the winning 2017 Presidents Cup team. His 2019 season is off to a great start, with wins at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Snedeker earned his ninth win on the PGA Tour at last year’s Wyndham Championship. After winning the 2011 Heritage, Snedeker secured two PGA Tour victories in 2012, first at the Farmers Insurance Open and then at the Tour Championship. Those wins helped him earn the 2012 FedExCup title. 

Northern Ireland’s McDowell earned his second PGA Tour win at the 2013 RBC Heritage, where he defeated Simpson in a sudden-death playoff. 

Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira also will return to defend his title. Kodaira made a 25-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole of the 2018 Heritage to defeat South Korean Si Woo Kim after coming from six shots behind in the final round for his first PGA Tour victory. The 29-year-old has earned eight international victories and is currently 58th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Xander Schauffele — ranked seventh in the Official World Golf Rankings — was the first top-10 player to commit to this year’s event. Schauffele already has claimed victories at the 2019 WGC–HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, currently ranked 14th in the Official World Golf Rankings, will make his first start at Harbour Town. Fleetwood has carded five international victories and has made a name for himself as a regular contender in major championships. 

Kim will make his third start at Harbour Town after carding a runner-up finish last year when he lost to Kodaira on the third playoff hole. Kim is ranked 52nd in the Official World Golf Rankings and has earned two wins on the PGA Tour. 

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