Barely have we had time to digest the extraordinary scenes on the third and 12th holes at Augusta this past week and already it’s time to reset and prepare for the polar opposite test that is Harbour Town Golf Links and the RBC Heritage Classic.

Many of the combatants from the Masters will make the short trip to Hilton Head Island, some encouraged by happenings at Augusta and others – like our own Cam Smith – less so.

For several of the game’s elite this tournament has become a regular ‘warm down’ after the rigours of Augusta and the atmosphere here, especially early in the week, always seems different to the rest of the tournaments that make up the PGA Tour schedule.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Stewart Cink (or ‘Kitchen’, as Tiger referred to him in his Sunday post round interview) cruised to a four-shot win courtesy of back-to-back rounds of 63 on Thursday and Friday.

A regular contender and two-time former winner at the course, the victory was the then 47-year-old’s second of the season after son Reagan took on caddying duties.

RIGHT: Stewart Cink claimed yet another PGA Tour win at Harbour Town in 2021 as he approaches 50. PHOTO: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

Starting the final round with a five-shot lead over Collin Morikawa, Cink was never under any real pressure and a one-under 70 was enough to hold off the challengers.

COURSE: Harbour Town Golf Links was famously Jack Nicklaus’ first foray into course design, the then 29-year-old teaming with Pete and Alice Dye to collaborate on the course.

Famed for its tiny greens, narrow fairways and stunning finishing hole, Harbour Town is often described as a shotmaker’s course.

Overhanging trees on many holes make the course play narrower than many architecture aficionados are comfortable with but the golf is always entertaining despite the course topping out at around 6,500 metres.

Placement is as important as power here and players are forced to navigate the various hazards carefully to avoid big numbers.

Winning scores are in the generally accepted PGA Tour range of mid-teens under par with few years seeing scores not reach double digits in the red.

The encroaching trees make the course feel almost claustrophobic in places though Harbour Town’s most famous hole, the 18th, is anything but.

Emerging from the forest of oaks much of the rest of the course is cut through, the iconic lighthouse back drop and peninsula fairway jutting into the swamp land on the left make it one of the most recognisable holes in the game.

PRIZEMONEY: US$8,000,000

RELATED: So-called expert golf tips for this week

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Canadian Corey Conners snuck under the radar with his T6 performance at Augusta but having run fourth here last year will fancy his chances this week.

Conners defeated Dustin Johnson in the consolation match at the WGC-Match Play three weeks ago and aside from one poor round at the Texas Open has been in promising form.

It will be interesting to watch how Cam Smith bounces back from Sunday's disappointment at Augusta this week. PHOTO: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

While Conners is one to watch there are several big name players coming off the Masters whose world rank demands attention.

Justin Thomas is perhaps the most obvious after a somewhat pedestrian week at Augusta. Top-10 at Harbour town last year, the World No.8 has been outside the top-10 only twice in his last six starts and only three times in his 11 starts for the season, though is yet to post a victory.

He will be both frustrated and motivated by that and four good rounds this week could see him take title number 15.

Two players whose performance will be of particular interest though for different reasons are Cam Smith and American Morgan Hoffman.

Smith will still be smarting from his Sunday performance at the Masters and while it would be foolish to read too much into this week’s result it will be an insight into his psyche.

Always known as a gritty competitor, Smith’s resilience will never have been tested the way it was by events at Augusta and his response this week will be interesting.

Hoffman’s play will be fascinating for a very different set of reasons after the 32-year-old left the Tour in the wake of being diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy.

The American hasn’t played a Tour event since October 2019 and spent most of the past year living in a remote area of Costa Rica pursuing natural therapies.

A popular figure among peers and fans alike, Hoffman has three starts remaining on a medical extension and will no doubt attract plenty of attention and support this week.

72-HOLE RECORD: 262 (-22, Webb Simpson, 2020)

18-HOLE RECORD: 61 (David Frost, 1994; Troy Merritt, 2015)

PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Greg Norman (1988); Peter Lonard (2005); Aaron Baddeley (2006)

AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Cam Davis and Cam Smith.

Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 5am –8am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 5am – 8am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 3am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 3am – 8am)
*AEST, check local guides