104th RBC Canadian Open
Glen Abbey Golf Club
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Glen Abbey Golf Club
Par: 72 (35-37)
Greens: Bentgrass; Poa annua; 4,500 square feet on average.
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass; perennial ryegrass 4”
Water Hazards: 12
Course Architects: Jack Nicklaus (1977)
Winner’s Share: $1,008,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Scott Piercy held off Robert Garrigus and William McGirt by one shot to win for the second time in two years on TOUR.
Dates: July 25-28
Notes: The RBC Canadian Open rotates its venues. This event was last played here in 2008 and 2009.
The RBC Canadian Open is the third-oldest tournament on TOUR. Only The Open and U.S. Open have been around longer!
There have been 30 tournaments this season. The Stars and Stripes have won 25 of them and Phil Mickelson gets on the board for the majors with Adam Scott and Justin Rose with his win last week at The Open Championship.
There have also been 11 first-time winners this season. There have also been just two multiple winners, Tiger Woods (four) and Matt Kuchar (WGC-Match Play; Memorial). There were only nine first-time winners in 2012. Mickelson makes it three.
Chez Reavie (2008) was the first player to win in his first appearance at this event since Jerry Pate in 1976.
Mark Calcavecchia at 45 years of age is the oldest winner.
Jim Furyk (2005-2006) is the only player since the 1950s (Jim Ferrie 1950-1951) to defend the title at Glen Abbey
Greg Norman (last to do so) holds the course record, 62, in 1986.
Chez Reavie opened 65-64 here in 2008 to set the 36-hole record.
Only three players played all four rounds in the 60s in the last two RBC Canadian Opens at Glen Abbey (2008-2009).
Past Champions in the field:
Scott Piercy 2012
Nathan Green 2009—Glen Abbey
Chez Reavie 2008—Glen Abbey
Jim Furyk 2006-2007
Vijay Singh 2004—Glen Abbey
John Rollins 2002
Scott Verplank 2001
Billy Andrade 1998
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FOUR times (37), Mickelson TWICE (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) Haas (31), Blixt (29) and Spieth (19). The young folks (30 and younger) now have 12 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 14 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have five wins on the year thanks to Mickelson’s win at The Open and Woody Austin’s playoff win at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Rank and File
As of Monday afternoon, 12 of the top 50 in the OWGR are entered this week. It sounds better this way: nine of the top 25 in the OWGR are in the field this week.
Canada’s national championship returns to its most popular venue, Glen Abbey Golf Club for the first time since 2009. This will be the 26th edition of the RBC Canadian Open as it is played in the Toronto suburbs. In 2008, Glen Abbey, which played to par-71 at the time, ranked 33rd most difficult out of 54 courses used on TOUR that season. Chez Reavie was victorious by posting a score of 17-under-par 267 for his first TOUR victory. In 2009, Nathan Green and Retief Goose both fired 18-under 270 with Green prevailing in the playoff. That season, Glen Abbey rated 40th out of 51 courses used on TOUR as the additional par five greatly reduced the scores.
This year, Glen Abbey will also feature as a par-72 layout so expect the scoring to be in that same range. This means players who routinely make birdies and abuse par-fives will be at the top of the food chain this week. The course is one of Nicklaus’ first solo designs. Sure, its tree-lined fairways and smallish greens will pose issues but nothing that is going to make touring pros shiver in their spikes, especially any of them who teed it up last week across the pond in Scotland.
Speaking of last week, over the last few years, the premium players that have entered this event haven’t found that “slam dunk” success gamers are looking for out of them. Last year, of the players who teed it up at Royal Lytham and played in this event, only Bo Van Pelt (T7), Vijay Singh (T9) and Retief Goosen (T10) were the ONLY players to hit the top 25. In 2011, there were six players who played across the pond and hit the top 10. Raise your hand if you knew Sean O’Hair (MC at Royal St. George) won, Geoff Ogilvy (MC) T4, Van Pelt (T54) T6, John Daly (MC) T9, and was Spencer Levin (T44) T9, well you know that the “heavy hitters” didn’t factor that time either. Charl Schwartzel was the only premium player (T16 at RSG; T9) to make a stand. He was playing some excellent golf that year as he won his first major at Augusta that spring. I know it’s just two examples but you might want to dig a little deeper this week for the guys who weren’t beaten up too bad at Muirfield or guys whose form in the States has been hot of late. Also, players only have four tournaments to set themselves for the FEDEXCup Playoffs but I believe it’s too early to have that become the determining factor just yet.
Best 10, Plus One
Often referred to as “the chalk” in the Sunday wrap-up column, these are the best players in the field for my money.
Brandt Snedeker: After a rib injury saw him miss three cuts in a row, Snedeker finished T17 at the U.S. Open, T8 at the AT&T and T11 last week in Scotland so his game is in fine shape. He makes tons of birdies, especially on par-fours, and has seven top 10s. I’ll be glad when the Sneeeeeeeeeeeeeeedeker commercial ends its rotation…
Hunter Mahan: He’s now played in the final group in the last two majors so that tells me he’s close. He has 12 top 25s in 16 weekends so if he makes the cut, he’s cashing a nice check. Hitting as many fairways and greens as he does should come in handy this week.
Charl Schwartzel: He’s finished T15 or better in four of his last five starts on TOUR with his only hiccup MC at Colonial. His birdie percentages are off the charts and it’s easy to see why as he ranks No. 14 in total putting. He can’t have the “blow up” round this week like he did at Memorial, Merion and Muirfield. This course doesn’t begin with the letter M so he should be fine…
Dustin Johnson: Small greens you say? Perfect as Johnson has shown his success on hitting them in the past. He’ll also enjoy the fact that there are four par-fives this week that he can destroy. His putter and short game have been the crutch but he’s still finding ways to get it in the hole. Get your mind out of the gutter, PLEASE.
Matt Kuchar: The last time he missed a cut on TOUR outside of a major was at this event in 2011. Take that in for a minute before you wonder why I have stopped typing. If he’s playing, he’s in this column.
Daniel Summerhays: The only other player on TOUR that is hotter at the moment is the guy who’s snuggling up to the Claret Jug as you read this. I just hope Phil has pants on. If he doesn’t, God bless him. Anyhow, Summerhays was the 54-hole leader at JDC before missing the playoff by one shot. He followed that disappointment by co-leading 54-holes last weekend and finding the guts to finish birdie-birdie to get into a playoff. Sure he lost, but that’s 145 holes of excellent golf. If he didn’t blow up last week, I can’t tell you that he will this week. He’s 38-under in his last two tournaments. Don’t over-think this.
Matt Jones: His last two events have found him finish T2 at The Greenbrier and T7 at the JDC. Did you know he is currently 12th in the all-around category? He’s also ninth in par-four performance and 14th in par-five performance.
Billy Horschel: Sure he missed the cut last week but the first time I sleep on this guy this summer will be the first time. He plays to make birdies and he’ll need plenty of them this week. He’ll be excited to bounce back from the second round 80 that he posted at Muirfield that saw him MC. He’s fourth in the all-around ranking and absolutely crushes par-fours and fives. Sold.
Morgan Hoffmann: After finishes of T9, T8, T23 and T15, the youngster will be fresh and rejuvenated as he looks to add to his reign of terror this summer. He’s played three rounds of golf over par in his last 16 so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him contend again this week. He ranks in the top 10 in the birdie-or-better percentage category as well.
Hideki Matsuyama: His T3 turned into T6 last weekend because of a slow play penalty. He was also T10 at the U.S. Open. He’s also 21. I’m sure “tired” in his vocabulary just yet. We’ve seen him play well on the most difficult courses but I’m guessing he can make a few birdies during a birdie-fest as well.
Graham DeLaet: Tough Open rolls into another tough Open for the Canuck. No Canadian has won this since 1954 so that huge pressure will be on his shoulders this week. He’s 17 for 20 on the season and he thrives on par-fives with his length and accuracy (first in GIR) into greens. Before The Open he amassed two rounds of 16 over par. That’s the form a nation is looking for again this week!
Chris Kirk: He broke out of his two-month funk with a T22 at JDC and backed it up with another solid T9 last week at Annandale. He’s 22nd in stroke gained-putting and 10th in birdie average. He’s third on TOUR in birdie-or-better conversion percentage. On his first trip to Canada last year, at a time when he was playing well, he finished fourth.