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RBC Canadian Open Preview
by Matt Fargo - 07/20/2010
We follow up a pretty lackluster Open Championship, with the exception of those that had Louis Oosthuizen, with the RBC Canadian Open this week from Toronto. This is always one of the more difficult tournaments on tour to breakdown because of the constant venue changes. The Canadian Open has been around for over a century and in that span, 37 different courses have played host. This year it returns to St. George's Golf and Country Club for the first time since 1968.
St. George’s ranks in the top three in the entire country so the pros will be in for a treat this week. The total yardage is only 7,046 yards but that is in part to it being a par 70 that includes five par threes and that makes scoring that much more difficult. Because of that, ball striking becomes the biggest premium and scoring should be down from previous years. Accommodations are usually down the list for the touring pros and that is the case here but the golf course should make up for it.
According to the Hamilton Spectator, the course is actually a nightmare for a tour stop as there is no parking, limited space for corporate tents and no range. Also, because the ninth green at St. George's isn't anywhere near the clubhouse, they're going with an unusual split the first two days. That means on Thursday and Friday, half the field will tee off on the first hole and finish on 18. But the other half will begin play on the ninth hole and finish on the eighth.
A tournament following a Major usually lacks in star power but the Canadian Open will have its share of top notch players including some who played last week and finished strong at St. Andrews. Third-place finisher Paul Casey, sixth-place finisher Retief Goosen, seventh-place finisher Sean O’Hair and 11th-place finisher Luke Donald are all in the field this week. Also teeing it up is Tim Clark, Matt Kuchar, Camilo Villegas, Bill Haas and Ricky Barnes, all of whom are ranked in the FedEx top 20.
Paul Casey (+1500) is one of two players sharing the favorite role this week and both make solid cases. He had a disappointing finish at the Open Championship last week as he simply could not make a move. Still, he is the highest ranked player in the field and deserves to be a favorite. He is ninth on tour in greens hit and his ball striking of 49th last week went up to 10th this week which is a huge and important jump.
The other favorite is Sean O’Hair (+1500). As mentioned he is coming off a T7 last week at St. Andrews and that was his fourth straight top 12 finish so he is definitely close to breaking through. He missed the cut at the Canadian last year but he was far from the same player as now. He is currently 36th in ball striking and 48th in greens in regulation but he makes up for it with recent improvements in both areas.
The field only has two of the previous tournament winners included and one of those is defending champion Nathan Green (+10,000). Green defeated Retief Goosen on the second playoff hole and that accounted for his only top ten of the season. This year is not going much better as he has just one top ten and that came in the Sony Open, the second event of the season. Since then he has made only 10 of 17 cuts. Pass.
Tim Clark (+2500) is coming off a disappointing missed cut last week. He has been the model of consistency as he has five top tens in the 12 times he has been around for the weekend. His lack of experience at the Canadian Open means little because of the course change and it actually helps here based on the lack of length St. George’s brings. He is third in fairways hit and accuracy will be important.
If it feels like Ricky Barnes (+3000) is around the leader board every week, it is because that is fact. He finished T44 at the Open Championship after a poor Sunday and that snapped a string of five straight top 27 finishes including three top tens. He has finished in the top ten on six different occasions and the time for his first tour win is well overdue. A lighter field will definitely help.
Matt Kuchar (+2500) is having a sensational season with just three missed cuts in 16 medal play events which include six top ten finishes. He leads the tour in scrambling and is fourth in total putting which could both come into play on these tough greens. He finished in the top ten in his two most recent events in North America and while his T27 at St. Andrews was decent, his 69 on Sunday provides huge momentum.
Our longshot this week is Graham DeLaet (+6000). He has been up and down all season long but missed out on a playoff at the Shell by one stroke for his best finish of the season. He played in the Reno-Tahoe Open last week and had the low round of the tournament, a 62 on Saturday. Most important, he is Canadian and is used to this course and will be a fan favorite which is always a bonus.
Recommended Tournament Win Six Pack at the RBC Canadian Open – All for 1 Unit
Paul Casey (+1500)
Sean O’Hair (+1500)
Tim Clark (+2500)
Ricky Barnes (+3000)
Matt Kuchar (+2500)
Graham DeLaet (+6000)