In the first nine editions of the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club, golfers with Georgia ties have won the PGA Tour event four times.
Among the winners are two Georgia natives, two current residents and two ex-Georgia Bulldogs. Chris Kirk, who checks all three boxes, is making his PGA Tour return after an absence of more than six months to deal with some personal issues.
Augusta native Charles Howell is the defending champion and comes into this week’s tournament as one of the favorites, along with Kevin Kisner, Kirk’s teammate on Georgia’s 2005 NCAA Championship team. Milton resident Heath Slocum won the first RSM Classic in 2010.
Here’s a look at the golfers with Georgia ties in the RSM Classic field. The players are listed buy their rank in the 2018-19 FedExCup standings. Their 2019-20 rank coming into the Mayakoba Classic is in parentheses.
7 Matt Kuchar (–), Georgia Tech/St. Simons resident: Made his first start of the season as defending champion at Mayakoba, and returns to his hometown event after missing the tournament last year. Has six top-30 finishes at Sea Island GC in seven starts but just one top 10 in 2013. Is coming off one of the best seasons of an outstanding career, which helped earn him a spot in next month’s Presidents Cup.
20 Kevin Kisner (151), UGA: The 2015 RSM champion has placed seventh or better four of the last five years and needs a strong showing after so-so results in two recent appearances in Asia. He Played well in the WGC event in China before a poor final round.
28 Charles Howell (22), Augusta native: The tournament’s defending champion has played in all nine RSM Classics, with three prior top 10s and only one poor showing (a missed cut in 2017). Went on from his victory to qualify for the Tour Championship and a second straight Masters and is off to another strong start with two top 10s and two other solid efforts in five 2019-20 starts.
32 J.T. Poston (54), St. Simons resident: Closed out 2018-19 regular season with a win in Greensboro and has three top-30 finishes in four starts this season. Former Western Carolina golfer hasn’t had much success in his adopted hometown, missing the cut each of the last three years.
49 Vaughn Taylor (169), Augusta native & resident/Augusta State: Other than a tie for 8thin 2017, veteran doesn’t have much of a record in the tournament, with four missed cuts and a T54 in his other five starts. Coming off a very respectable 2018-19 season, but has not cracked the top 40 in four appearances this season
50 Keith Mitchell (142), UGA/St. Simons: Collected his first victory in his second season earlier this year in the Honda Classic, but has not done much the past six months. Long hitter has a T54 and a missed cut in his first two RSM appearances.
80 Chesson Hadley(97), Georgia Tech: Has been a steady performer the past few seasons and has a pair of top 25s on the West Coast in recent weeks. Has made three of six cuts in the RSM, with a tie for 32ndin 2014 his best finish.
87 Russell Henley (156), Macon native/UGA: Has not played his best golf since scoring his third PGA Tour win in Houston the week before the Masters in 2017. Has only one top-50 finish this season despite making all four cuts. Had three straight top 10s in the RSM from 2014-’16, but missed his first cut in five attempts last year.
88 Brian Harman (30), Savannah native/UGA/St. Simons: After a mostly hit-or-miss 2018-19 season, has gotten off to a better start with a T3 in the Greenbrier and two top 20s in four starts. Has a pair of top 10s in his hometown event, tying for fourth in 2017. Appears poised to make a second run at victory at Sea Island GC.
89 Michael Thompson (157), St. Simons: Recorded top 10s in his first two starts in the RSM Classic in 2011 and ’12, finishing one shot out of a playoff the latter year, and had top-20s in 2016 and ’17. Has missed three of four cuts this season along with a top 25 in Napa.
92 Luke List (89), Augusta: His rise up the FedExCup standings the last few seasons stalled in 2018-19, and has had mixed results thus far in 2019-20 with a T13 in Las Vegas his only top 25 in five starts. List’s power game has produced finishes of 13thand 4thin his last two trips to St. Simons, and he was two shots out of a playoff last year, closing with scores of 63 and 65.
106 Cameron Tringale (56), Georgia Tech: Has played in every RSM Classic except 2015 with four finishes between 22ndand 27thand four missed cuts. Bounced back from career-worst season in 2017-18 with respectable showing this past season and is off to a solid start in 2019-20 with 4-of-4 made cuts and a pair of top-16 finishes.
112 Scott Brown (145), Augusta native: Veteran journeyman has a T4 in 2013 in six starts at Sea Island GC. Hasn’t been outside the top 125 since 2012, but came close to losing exempt status each of the last two years. After two decent efforts to open this season, missed his next three cuts.
115 Sepp Straka (73), Valdosta/UGA: After a strong finish to crack top 125 as a rookie, is off to a hit-or-miss sophomore season with five missed cuts and a tie for fourth in Houston, where he was among the contenders in the final round. Missed the cut in first RSM start last year.
122 Patton Kizzire(122), St. Simons: Qualified for the Tour Championship in his third season on tour in 2018, but barely finished inside top 125 this past season. Is off to s slow start in 2019-20 with four missed cuts and no finishes better than 40thin five starts. Had his first quality showing in his hometown event last year, tying for 15th.
142 Roberto Castro (171), Alpharetta/Georgia Tech: Up-and-down career has been on a downward slide since he qualified for the Tour Championship for the second time in 2016. Played well on the Web.com Tour in 2018 and may have to go back this season to get playing opportunities after skipping the KF Finals in September. Made first three cuts this season but did not place higher than 45thand is 5-for-5 in the RSM Classic but been outside the top 50 since a T27 in his 2012 debut.
149 Harris English (16), Valdosta native/UGA/St. Simons: After five quality seasons to start his PGA Tour career, has struggled the last three and barely finished inside the top 150 in 2018-19. All of a sudden, however, his long-missing game has returned, and he began this season with three finishes of sixth or better in his first four starts. Had three finishes between 15thand 27thin three of his four starts in RSM, but has missed the cut three of the last years.
151 Jonathan Byrd ((185), St. Simons: Is back to playing on past champion’s status and hasn’t finished inside the top 125 since undergoing wrist surgery in 2013. Has two missed cuts and two finishes around 50ththis season, and will likely play a limited schedule in 2020. Has two top 25s in hometown event in his last three starts.
154 Zach Johnson (123), St. Simons: Looking for bounce back season after career-worst showing in 2018-19. Tie for 14thin Mississippi is only made cut in three starts thus far, and at the age of 43 is in the last year of his 5-year exemption for winning the 2015 British Open, the last of his 12 PGA Tour titles. Has never missed a start at Sea Island GC and has top10s each of the last two years.
162 Hudson Swafford (–), UGA/St. Simons: Will be making just his second start of the season after not playing since early June and is playing on a medical extension with a realistic chance to regain his exempt status. Hasn’t done much since his win in the 2017 Desert Classic, finishing outside top 150 in 2018. Best effort in RSM is a T12 in 2014.
179 Stewart Cink (77), Georgia Tech, Duluth: Also playing on a medical extension this season, and is off to a promising start with a recent top 10 in Houston. Has a mixed record in eight RSM starts, with his best finish a T10 in 2016.
183 Brendon Todd (17), UGA/Atlanta: Snapped long stretch of dismal play with a win a few weeks back in Bermuda, and is fully exempt through 2021-22 season after a few years in the wilderness. Has made four of five cuts in RSM Classic with best finish a T16 in 2013.
195 Davis Love (–), St. Simons. Tournament host hasn’t been a serious factor in event as a player since he tied for fourth in 2012 after sharing lead going to the final round. Will be part of CBS golf broadcast crew in 2020, which may reduce his playing schedule on the PGA and Champions Tours.
199Chris Kirk (–), Woodstock native/UGA/Athens: Returning to action after missing six months to deal with alcohol and depression issues. After eight strong years and four wins on the PGA Tour, was struggling last season before self-imposed absence and is playing on a medical extension. Has played in every RSM Classic with a pair of T4s to go along with 2013 victory.
Henrik Norlander (154), Augusta State: Back on the PGA Tour after playing five of the last six seasons on KF Tour. Scored his second KF win in ’19 and finished season in top 10 on money list. Almost won RSM in ’16 as part of 5-way playoff. Missed first four cuts this season in PGA Tour return.
Vince Whaley (191), Georgia Tech/Atlanta: Finished in the top 25 as a rookie on the KF Tour earlier in 2019 to advance to the PGA Tour, and made the cut in one of his first three starts before suffering an injury during a swing in Houston. Is scheduled to return to action after being out for a month.
Other Georgians in the field will include Dru Love, Davis’s son, and Davis Thompson, son of Tournament Director Todd Thompson. Davis, a member of the UGA golf team, lost in a playoff in the 2019 Jones Cup and got his spot when the tournament champion turned pro.
The Georgia PGA’s spot in the field belongs to Tim Weinhart, who recently won Player of the Year honors in the Section for the 10thtime. This will be Weinhart’s sixth start in the event, and he came close to making the cut in each of his first four appearances, shooting par or better in at least one round in all four.