By Wes Kerr
It’s springtime in the Lowcountry, and that only means one thing: The RBC Heritage is upon us.
After a 2020 with the gates of Harbour Town closed to spectators, it will be extra special to cover this year’s edition in Sea Pines. We’ll see a mix of world-class superstars, local heroes, and up-and-coming PGA tour sensations in what should be a spectacular show this week. From the greatest golfers on the planet to the legends in our own backyard, here is a list of five pros that I’m keeping my eye on heading into the tournament.
He’ll get some extra time to prepare after his Masters was cut short, missing the cut with a 5-over total. But he should be refreshed and ready to take on Harbour Town and deliver the goods on the island. The world’s No. 1 golfer will look to build on a solid 15-under performance from a year ago while thrilling the spectators with his stellar shot-making ability. There’s no doubt that DJ can get hot any week of the season and leave his competitors in the dust. If he can shake off a tough weekend in Augusta and find his dominant game we’ve all seen, the fan favorite could put together a memorable weekend.
The Savannah native is making a splash on the worldwide stage this weekend in Augusta, vying for a top-10 finish at the Masters after 54 holes. He’ll take his scorching-hot play down to Hilton Head this coming week in search of a tartan jacket. Harman has showed off his superb play ever since 2005 when he captured the Players Amateur at Berkeley Hall. Since then, he’s won two PGA Tour events and finished in a tie for second at the 2017 US Open before a third-place result in this year’s Players Championship. With some solid momentum from an impressive start to the calendar year and a top-50 World Golf Ranking, Harman will be a sure figure to keep an eye on in Sea Pines.
When you think about a guy who is due for a big win, Fitzpatrick’s name certainly comes to mind. The Sheffield, UK, native has shined on the European Tour, racking up six wins. But the 26-year-old has yet to find a PGA Tour victory. He’s been knocking on the door of one with three top-10 finishes already in the 2021 season. If the Englishman can keep up his tremendous putting and pinpoint accuracy, he could very well be in line for a breakout victory at Harbour Town.
It didn’t take long after first watching this young phenom to anoint him as a future American golf superstar. At the age of 24, Morikawa has already dominated the PGA Tour, picking up four victories including the 2020 PGA Championship while making an unbelievable 22 straight cuts to open his PGA Tour career. That’s a mark only bested by Tiger Woods. This kid has all the tools in the bag to become one of the world’s best and submit himself as one of the greatest of his generation from the United States. He grew up watching Tiger as a kid and has already begun to emulate his success. He thrives on performing in tense situations and knows how to bounce back from adversity or an unlucky sequence of shots. Morikawa is on his way to a legendary career, and there’s no reason why he couldn’t get it done on Hilton Head and give our hometown event an amazing champion.
But the greatest story of this year’s edition is our very own Bryson Nimmer. I remember the days at Clemson where he continually struggled to take that final step and close out tournaments. But he figured it out during his time as a Tiger, and the kid has been winning ever since. The Bluffton native was simply unstoppable in 2020, picking up his first professional victory on the GPro Tour before dominating the newly-created LocalIQ series. He won his first two starts en route to a finish at the top of the standings, qualifying for the RBC Cana- oh wait, the Palmetto Championship in Ridgeland right here in the Lowco! That’s right, he gets to compete in not one, but TWO PGA Tour events right in his backyard. But before he tees it up at Congaree, he gets to live a childhood dream, an invitation to the RBC Heritage. It was surreal to Nimmer and all of us when Steve Wilmot told him the news, and now he’ll take center stage in the tournament he grew up watching in awe. He’s played Harbour Town again and again over the years, but this time he’ll be joined by the world’s best with the highest of stakes. It’s a golden opportunity to build his young career and create memories for himself and all of us here in the Lowco. The RBC Heritage is back in its rightful spot on the calendar, and we can’t wait to bring you all the news from Harbour Town.