Luke Donald has finished in the top three in his past two trips to Hilton Head Island, and he has finished in the top 10 in four of five events to start 2011, including a victory at the Accenture Match Play Championship. So it comes as little surprise the Englishman is the oddsmakers' favorite this week at the Heritage.
"I love the way this course is different than most weeks; it's a shotmaker's course," said Donald, who tied for third in 2010 and tied for second in 2009. "I've had some success (here) and have obviously been playing well. It's good to be a favorite."
Donald, known as a solid iron player, said Pete Dye's design requires more than a good week of ball-striking, that his success here also could be contributed to accuracy off the tee.
"You have to do everything pretty well around here," he said. "My short game's been very sharp the past couple seasons. I think that will help. I obviously have good feelings from the last couple years, too."
When Aaron Baddeley earned his first PGA Tour victory at the Heritage in 2006, he was the featured speaker at the sunrise service on the 18th green on Easter Sunday, then went out and outdueled Jim Furyk to claim a tartan jacket.
Baddeley again will speak at the Easter service this Sunday, and he hopes that isn't the only familiar thing about the experience.
"Hopefully I can have a repeat performance," he said.
Baddeley said he isn't superstitious about such matters, though.
"It just happened to work out that way last time, which was an amazing plan," he said. "And then Jose from (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) asked me if I would do it this year, as well, and I said, 'Sure.' Anytime you get to speak on Easter Sunday is a great day."
And even better when it ends with a win.
Jim Furyk will not tee off in the 12:15 p.m. slot typically reserved for the defending champion in today's Heritage Pro-Am because of a conflict with the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council's meeting this afternoon. Furyk is the PAC chairman, so he will tee off at 8:10 a.m. in order to finish his round in time for the meeting.
Two-time champion Boo Weekley will take Furyk's place in the 12:15 time slot.