Power Rankings - RBC Heritage

As the crow flies, it's only 114 miles from Augusta, Ga., to Hilton Head Island, S.C., but for those making the short trip to this week's RBC Heritage from the season's first major, it can be a cathartic experience. Left behind is the stress and the urgency of peaking for a historic occasion. What awaits along the banks of Calibogue Sound is an arguably more relaxing week of competition.

Similar to the stark dichotomy of golf courses that comprise the two-event swing through Hawaii in early January -- mountainous Kapalua and sea-level Waialae are just 80 miles apart -- Harbour Town Golf Links favors the small ball that's not as relevant at Augusta National.

Created by Pete Dye, who updated the track in 2011, Harbour Town stretches just 7,101 yards and boasts a litany of shot-makers as champions, including Graeme McDowell, who defends last year's playoff victory over Webb Simpson. The general understanding to succeed here is placement off the tee. Even lies in fairways could yield obstructed angles due to sharp turns and low-hanging tree limbs.

McDowell tied for fifth in fairways hit and finished T7 in greens in regulation last year. He also led the field in scrambling and ranked sixth in strokes gained-putting. It's this kind of precision attack that this week's winner will likely author.

At +1.038 strokes to par, Harbour Town was the third-hardest par 71 of nine played in non-majors last season. Its GIR percentage of 57.15 was lowest on TOUR, not shocking given that the putting surfaces average just 3,700 square feet. Still, the par-breakers split of 16.49 percent was an eight-year low.

A moderate threat of rain and possibly thunderstorms populates the forecast on Friday and Saturday, but the primary test pre-cut is expected to come in the form of sustained winds of at least 15 mph. Rising temperatures will find a ceiling in the mid-70s by the weekend when breezes should abate.

1Jim FurykJim Furyk
Second in all-time earnings here with a win (2010), two seconds and three more top 10s. Coming off T6 at the Valero and T14 at the Masters.
2Matt KucharMatt Kuchar
A T5 at the Masters was his third straight top five, but he's scored no better than 72 (Houston) in any of his last five final rounds.
3Luke DonaldLuke Donald
Two seconds and two thirds in the last five editions. Ranks a predictable seventh in strokes gained-putting and third in scrambling.
4Kevin NaKevin Na
Back injury prevented a start last year; top 10s in 2011 and 2012. No worse than T14 (Bay Hill) in his last three starts this season.
5Chris StroudChris Stroud
Seven top 20s in 2013, including a T12 in Houston two weeks ago. Sits 12th in adjusted scoring; fourth in scrambling. T6 here last year.
6Graeme McDowellGraeme McDowell
Defending champ logged top 10s in four of his first five starts of 2014. Leads TOUR in strokes gained-putting; ninth in adjusted scoring.
7Charley HoffmanCharley Hoffman
Top 10s in his last two stops at Harbour Town. Shared 36-hole lead last year; led outright after 54 holes. Seven top 25s this season.
8Will MacKenzieWill MacKenzie
Had two weeks off following his co-runner-up at the VTO. Five top 10s on the season; another four top 20s. Fourth in adjusted scoring.
9Harris EnglishHarris English
Consecutive cuts made streak ended at 15 with a short week in Masters' debut, but has six top 10s this season. T8 here two years ago.
10Zach JohnsonZach Johnson
Superb fit for Harbour Town where he placed second in 2012. Tied for sixth at TPC San Antonio three weeks ago. Four top 10s this season.
11Jordan SpiethJordan Spieth
Remarkable debut at the Masters where he tied for second. Shared ninth in his first look at Harbour Town last year.
12Pat PerezPat Perez
All three cuts made here are top 20s, including a T18 last year. Six top 20s this season, including a T11 in his last start at the Valero.
13Jerry KellyJerry Kelly
Quietly enjoying solid season. Valero T6 was his third top 10. Ranks 44th in adjusted scoring; 40th in scrambling. Solo fifth here in 2013.
14Kevin StadlerKevin Stadler
Ball-striking has already shone here once (T4, 2012), but it was on display at the Masters where he tied for eighth in his debut.
15Matt EveryMatt Every
Missed Masters' cut in his debut, but capped a strong run with his breakthrough win at Bay Hill. Shared eighth at Harbour Town in 2012.