105th RBC Canadian Open
The Royal Montreal Golf Club
Ile Bizard, Quebec, Canada
Yards: 7,153 via the scorecard
Par: 70 (35-35)
Greens: Bentgrass; 5,000 square feet on average.
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass at 3.5”
Water Hazards: 6
Course Architect: Dick Wilson (1959); Rees Jones (2004)
Winner’s Share: $1,026,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Hunter Mahan was 13-under-par after two rounds but withdrew Saturday morning as his wife went into labor with their first child. Brandt Snedeker defeated a quartet of Americans by three shots to win for the sixth time on TOUR.
Dates: July 24-27
Notes: This is the first RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal since 2001. The last event played here was the 2007 Presidents Cup.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 24 of 36 events in 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman and Brian Harman have won for the USA.
Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed five victories. Hideki Matsuyama and Seung-yul Noh are the Asian representatives and Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy fly the flag for the Euros. Angel Cabrera has the continent of South America all to himself.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had 10 in 36 events so far in 2014.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30) and Matt Jones (33), all first-timers, flew the flag before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Since the first major, Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35) and Justin Rose (33) are the prime time players to cash winner’s checks.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28), Hideki Matsuyama (22), Brian Harman (27) and Rory McIlroy, 25, are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year. Now, two of the three major champions in 2014 reside in this grouping!
Australian John Senden (42) and Argentine Angel Cabrera (44) are the only two crusty veterans to claim victory this season.
Pay Attention: It’s FREE!
The RBC Canadian Open is the third-oldest tournament on TOUR, trailing only the U.S. Open and Open Championship. #tradition
This is the 10th time that Royal Montreal has hosted this event. This is the first time since 2001 so course history does NOT exist this week. Rees Jones redesigned the track in 2004-2005 to prepare it for the Presidents Cup.
The last Canadian to win their Open was Pat Fletcher in 1954. No pressure Graham DeLaet and David Hearn!
Mark Calcavecchia is the oldest champion as he lifted the trophy at age 45 in 2005.
Jerry Pate, 22, was the youngest winner after WWII as he was victorious in 1976.
Only five men have defended their title north of the border.
J. Douglas Edgar (1919, 1920)
Leo Diegel (1924, 1925; 1928, 1929)
Sam Snead (1940, 1941)
Jim Ferrier (1950, 1951)
Jim Furyk (2006, 2007)
In 10 of the last 11 outings before last year, the margin of victory has been one shot or a playoff. Snedeker won by three shots in 2013.
The tournament record on Royal Montreal is 266 by Scott Verplank in 2001. He’s now on the Champions Tour.
In 2008 Chez Reavie became the first player since Jerry Pate in 1976 to win in his first event in Canada. In 2009, he became the most recent defending champion to MC.
Lee Trevino was the last player to win wire-to-wire (1977).
This is the fourth venue in the last four years for this event. #nohorsesforcourses
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer are the only players on TOUR with multiple victories in the 2013-14. None of them will add to their totals this week as they are idle.
Only nine of the top 50 in the OWGR are in the published field this week. #topheavy
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
Only one player in the history of golf has won the Canadian Open plus all four majors. His name is Tiger Woods.
Inside the Ropes
The Royal Montreal Golf Club was founded in 1873 but their golf course, which had moved multiple times, finally settled in Ile-Bizard, Quebec in 1959 just outside Montreal. Dick Wilson was commissioned to design the 18 holes that would incorporate the Blue Course. Wilson would go on to design the Blue Monster at Doral plus Bay Hill and Dubsdread No. 4 at Cog Hill among others.
After its design in late 50s, it went on to host the 1975, 1980, 1997 and 2001 Canadian Opens. Before the 2007 Presidents Cup, won by the U.S.A., Rees Jones redesigned the course which added over 300 yards to make it play at just over 7,135 but still at par 70. Just like many old-school courses, there are plenty of doglegs that will require the pros to work the golf ball both right-to-left and left-to-right. The pros will love the fact that course sits right in front of them but they’ll be dealing with decent rough (over three inches) and the trickiest greens that the RBC Canadian Open has played in a while. Jim Furyk remarked via Twitter that this is” an old course with modern greens.”
Ball-strikers should rule the day by keeping the ball in play off the tee and avoiding the rough and the water that flanks many fairways coming home. Their second advantage will be the entrances to the greens are very narrow and usually bunkered so errant approaches will not be rewarded with the rough grown out. Looking at the course on line, not many bunkers are found past the middle of the green but that’s where the thicker rough will come into play.
With green sizes of just 5,000 square feet, putters won’t have the advantage they would like but with the Stimpmeter running over 11.5’ they will have a chance as well to hold their own. Also, the Bentgrass and Poa annua greens should favor those used to putting on such surfaces.
Royal Montreal will be seen for the first time by most of the field this week as not many guys were on TOUR in 2001 or played in the 2007 Presidents Cup. Gamers, I wouldn’t rely on stats from that event because they set that event up to score rather than to challenge or punish, especially the rough. Players will have to get their angles correct off the tee and into the greens. Since they only have two par fives to score on per round, I’ll also look at guys who can make birdies on par fours and threes. The pros with experience and the most patience should have the best of it this week. I always like the proven quantity on little or unknown tracts because the better player will figure it out quickest.