Welcome to the Canadian Open and two weeks in a row where the golf world focus exists outside the United States. America and golf are starting to get separation anxiety.
But this week is a great week in golf. I always get the fuzzies watching the Canadian Open on TV. The summer’s in Canada reflect the same weather during the summers in my hometown in northern Minnesota. It’s a sign of mid-summer, lakes, golf tournaments, and sun all day. Nostalgia for me.
Positioned this season directly in-between the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, the RBC Canadian Open is an event with even more focus this week. Let’s dive right in.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 19, 2016
Course: Glen Abbey
The event returns to its created home, Glen Abbey Golf Club, for the second straight year.
One of Jack Nicklaus’ earliest designs, Glen Abbey was to be the sanctuary of Canadian golf and as you can see from the map above, even had the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame built on-site. It’s also home to the Canadian Golf Association.
The course is a classic design featuring elevation change, tree-lined fairways, and bunker-surrounded greens. It’s scorable and will succumb to birdies this week.
Tour the course here on PGATour.com
Tournament week is here! 18 is looking great pic.twitter.com/ufLzPg42VX
— RBC Canadian Open (@RBCCanadianOpen) July 18, 2016
Don’t Forget These Two Things
1. No Canadian has won since 1954 and Pat Fletcher; and
2. This shot:
Last 5 Champs
2015: Jason Day
2014: Tim Clark (Recap here)
2013: Brandt Snedeker (Recap here)
2012: Scott Piercy
2011: Sean O’Hair
Click here to check out the entire 2016 RBC Canadian Open field.
Three from ‘da Fairway, dare? (Contenders)
Why would you leave this guy off your roster this week? He’s finished inside the top-10 in each of his past 5 events played (with the 6th event a T12). He’s won twice, he’s hitting the ball a mile (and straight), and he’s elevated his status in the world rankings to elite. Oh yeah, he’s a major winner too.
Recently, Dustin’s played 5 of 7 weeks and these next two weeks make it 7 of 9. No wonder he’s missing the Olympics, regardless of the Zika Virus, that’s just too much golf. But while the iron is hot, take advantage.
He skipped this event last year, but the last time they were at Glen Abbey in 2013, Johnson finished 2nd.
When I saw Day rip bombs on the back nine coming down the stretch of last year’s event, it looked reminiscent to the way Johnson hits his driver down the stretch of most events. Should I need to go deep into the statistics to share why Dustin is a good play this week, or should I just stop talking now and have you pick him? I choose the latter.
A solid player here in the past, he’s coming in with strong form too. That, and he has the moxie on the greens to make thing happen, especially in Canada. He won here in 2013, didn’t play in 2015, and in the only other start over the past 7 years here, he was a top-5 finisher.
Back-t0-back top-25s should say that he’s not stinking up the joint at least, right? In the last event that measured, Sneds finished +0.780 in the strokes gained putting. He likes the Glen Abbey greens too…
I like Snedeker for some good play. One of those events where he comes in with a T7 or something.
This could be the weirdest contention pick you’ve seen in a while. But remember Mark Wilson, remember?
If there’s a time for lightning to be caught in a bottle, this may be the week for Wilson. Ranked 168th in the FedEx Cup, Wilson needs a strong performance to kick his 2016 in the ass. A 13th-place finish at the Barracuda in the stableford style indicates his game is in good shape– at least somewhat. I mean, 2015-2016 has been tough for Wilson this year. He’s missed cuts and taken time off. But here’s the kicker.
In each of the past 4 events hosted at Glen Abbey, Wilson’s made all four cuts and finished inside the top-25 in all 4. This was highlighted by a 6th in 2013. He feels good in Canada, Glen Abbey, and has made this a place for check-making over the past 8 years. For the season, he’s losing strokes with the putter, but his last two starts have witnessed great putting performances. Perhaps he’s channeled it.
Two from The Rough (Sleeper)
He finished 2nd in his first professional event a few weeks back at Congressional and is the only college golfer in history to win two Ben Hogan’s Awards (best college golfer). How long will his sleeper status last, you ask? Probably not long.
But speaking of long, Rahm is. With a short, compact golf swing, and thighs with enough strength to push over an oak tree, Rahm creates enough speed to be on the level with some of those top players in the sport. It’s length he’ll use this week to work to do what many try to come do when they come to Glen Abbey. He’s another Spanish hope, following Seve and Sergio. His first win isn’t too far away. I’m calling it within the next twelve months.
Not this week, but keep an eye on him.
In second-tier events the past few starts, Saunders has shown good form with back-to-back top-10s. He played at Glen Abbey last year for the first time in his career and finished T22. He’s rocking 4 straight made cuts and a lot of competitive golf can sometimes lead to a breakthrough. Not saying he’ll win, but a breakthrough for Saunders would be contention in an event among the world’s best. It could happen for him this week.
The Man with the Trophy
A winner here in 2007, Furyk’s the perfect guy to pick this week as a top-level player flying under everyone’s radar.
At the U.S. Open, he played incredible golf down the stretch and almost claimed a second U.S. Open trophy of his career (and it should have been probably his third). Thankfully Dustin’s clutch finish, Furyk can’t blame himself for any missed opportunities. But at events where Furyk has the good vibes, he’s a dangerous player. He’s proven it throughout his two decade career on the Tour.
Even since his win in 2007, Furyk’s been inside the top-15 at Glen Abbey in each start with back-to-back top-10s in the last few visits. I’d snatch up Furyk while the crowds stay somewhat away and let him rack up a reliable performance this week.
No winner’s circle in a little while for Jim (time flies), but a winner’s circle this week. I’ve got that gut-type feeling about him.