106th RBC Canadian Open
Glen Abbey Golf Club
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Glen Abbey Golf Club
Par: (35-37) 72
Greens: 5,600 square feet on average
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass at 3"
Water Hazards: 12
Course Architect(s): Jack Nicklaus (1976)
Purse: $5.8 million
Winner’s Share: $1.044 million
FedExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Dates: July 23-26
Notes: 156 players; stroke play; low 70 and ties play the weekend
Notes II: Glen Abbey hosted last in 2013 and before that 2008 and 2009. The routing from 2008 is no longer in use.
Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker (twice), Bill Haas, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, James Hahn, Padraig Harrington, Alex Cejka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth (four times), Matt Every, J.B. Holmes, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Chris Kirk, Steven Bowditch, David Lingmerth, Fabian Gomez, Bubba Watson, Danny Lee, Scott Piercy and Zach Johnson are the 29 winners of calendar 2015. Hahn (No. 297), Harrington (No. 297), Cejka (No. 285), Every (No. 96), Bowditch (No. 137), Lingmerth (No. 212), Gomez (No. 283), Lee (No. 158) and Piercy, No. 112, are the only players outside the top 70 OWGR to win this year.
After 28 wins in 45 events last season the USA has won with Snedeker, Koepka, Haas, Walker (two), Reed, Hahn and Johnson, Spieth (four), Every, Holmes, Furyk, Fowler, Kirk, Watson, Piercy and Johnson in 2015.
Cejka, Harrington, Day, Rose, McIlroy, Bowditch, Lingmerth, Gomez and Lee make up the rest of foreign legion who have won in calendar 2015. They join Sang-moon Bae (Korea) and Nick Taylor (Canada) from the 2014 as the international winners.
After 13 first-time winners in 2013 there were only 10 last year. Through 37 events in 2015, Hahn, Koepka, Martin, Streb, Taylor, Cejka, Lingmerth, Gomez and Lee have broken their maidens.
The only multiple winners this season on TOUR are Watson, Walker, McIlroy and Spieth. The young Texan is the only player besides Tiger Woods this century to have won four times in a season. Let that set in.
North of the Border
Glen Abbey Golf Club will host the RBC Canadian Open for a record 27th time. The Canadian Open is the third-oldest tournament falling in line just behind the U.S. Open and The Open Championship. The tournament rotates courses so course historians need to focus on the 2009 and 2013 editions as those were the last two played on this track under the current routing.
Glen Abbey was one of Jack Nicklaus's first solo designs and was opened for play in 1976 and hosted the first of its 26 Opens the following year. After the 2008 edition the routing of holes were changed to allow better spectator access and to save the TOUR professionals an extra distance to walk. Now playing at 35-37 par 72, the back nine provides three par five scoring chances that can set up for an exciting finish.
The course lost its greens in the winter of 2014 and eight were resurfaced with creeping bentgrass last spring. The other 10 greens are still Poa annua but they don't anticipate any problems for tournament play. The parkland course runs through the trees and through the valley of Sixteen Mile Creek. Elevation changes, tree-lined fairways and average size greens will keep the TOUR pros on their toes but the last two additions don't suggest a great degree of difficulty. The rough will be cut to three inches on Thursday morning and not be trimmed the rest of the event. The greens, depending on the recent weather could run at 12' to 12.5' if the weather cooperates.
With winners posting 18 and 16-under, birdies, par-five scoring and finding GIR should resonate this week. Beware of the players returning from The Open Championship who made the cut as they have lost a full day of preparation with the tournament running long. The best chance of rain right now in the extended forecast is only 20% so hopefully it will be business as usual.
2013: 28th-easiest of 43 courses used
2009: 40th-easiest of 51 courses used
2013: Brandt Snedeker, -16, 272
2009: Nathan Green, -18, 270*
Facts and Figures
The last Canadian to win their national open was Pat Fletcher in 1954.
The last player to defend their title was Jim Furyk in 2006-07. Before that was 1950-51. Rotating courses will do that!
Chez Reavie, 2008, was the last first-timer to win.
Bizarre Stat(s)of the Week:
Chez Reavie is the only defending champion to MC the following year.
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
Bob Charles is the only left-hander to win this even in 105 editions.
In order, these are the players that I believe project the best this week (Yahoo! group in parentheses).
Jason Day (B): Just tell him it's another major and watch him go! Heck, it has "Open" in the title and has been around forever. He led at 54 holes at the U.S. Open. He led at 54 holes at The Open Championship. Any questions regarding his form or health were answered. When he's in the field AND healthy he's one of the favorites. All of those boxes are checked this week.
Jim Furyk (A): Last time he was on Jack Nicklaus-designed parkland course Furyk was T5 at Memorial. Like Day, he's a RBC ambassador so he's had this on his schedule for some time. He was second last year at Royal Montreal after his solo fourth at The Open Championship so the turnaround shouldn't bother him too much. He's already won the RBC Heritage this year, is the last back-to-back champion and was T9 in 2013 and T14 on the old routing in 2008.
Will Wilcox (C): Grip it. Rip it. Play fearlessly. That's what I learned last weekend from Wilcox as he finished second alone at the Barbasol Championship in his native Alabama. He holed to massive putts down the stretch to claim second including a monster on the final hole. He has his card for next year thanks to his T8 at JDC and solo second last week. He's a statistical dynamo so these results are hardly flashes in the pan. His only statistic outside of the top 50 in the composite ranking? Driving distance at No. 57. He's No. 1 on TOUR in the all-around category. GET. ON. BOARD. Wilcox WD moments before I posted
Brooks Koepka (A): Sadly, his title earlier this season was taken away from him by some doughnut at ESPN who told me that Dustin Johnson had won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Not to worry, just because it's on ESPN doesn't mean it's true. Remember, the E stands for Entertainment and that's debatable as well. Koepka is a true stud who continues to punish leader boards in majors and during TOUR stops. He's played the weekend in 14 of 15 this season an enters the week on four T22s or better and two of those are in majors. He's fifth in scoring and 10th in par-breakers because his length eats up most courses.
Luke Donald (A): Ok, just read on the Twitter that his T7-T7-T12 is his first back-to-back-back top 15 finish in three years. Wow. The world's former No. 1 player looks to have sorted out his game and will factor in a field like this as Glen Abbey is hardly demanding in length. He's hot and he's played this track twice (MC-T24) so there's no point over-thinking it.
Scott Piercy (C): Last week's winner at Barbasol comes in red-hot after T29-T14-WIN in his last three. He's 41-under during this stretch so if getting low and making birdies is an angle this week, the 2012 champ is going to factor. He's put seven of eight rounds at Glen Abbey at par or better and has never MC in Canada in five tries.
Matt Kuchar (B): He tried to win the Scottish Open two weeks ago but fell just short to Rickie Fowler after his T12 at Chambers Bay. He was T5 at the RBC Heritage so the ambassador knows when to turn it on! His current form doesn't worry me and neither does his T2 from 2013 at Glen Abbey that included 66 to open and 64 on Saturday.
Bubba Watson (A): I always try and figure out what motivates Watson or why he tees it up where he does. He went to France a few years ago and that was a disaster but he won in China last fall at the WGC-HSBC Champions when he beat Tim Clark in a playoff. He's played Glen Abbey three times and it's the only stop in Canada he's made in the last eight years. He has four rounds well under par and four rounds par or worse. He'll be well rested after MC at St. Andrews and will be excited to return to a parkland course with four par fives.
Tony Finau (C): I'm hardly worried about him MC at the JDC as he was three-under. He's made seven of his last eight weekends and should be able to overpower this track and start cashing checks again. If Chez Reavie found a way to win in his first time around here, I'm not betting against Finau doing the same. He'll make plenty of birdies and pick up where he left off before he MC two weeks ago.
Ryan Palmer (A): He's seventh in scoring average and ninth in strokes-gained: total and it doesn't hurt he kills it off the tee either. He's used to not finding fairways but he still racks up GIR. He hasn't hit the top 20 in his last four events worldwide but he's played this track the last three times and played the weekend all three times.
Jerry Kelly (C): He opened 65-67 in 2009 and finished T5 but didn't return for the 2013 edition at Glen Abbey. His last six weekends on TOUR have resulted in five finishes T22 or better and nothing outside T30. I have no problem backing a guy who'll play out of the middle of the fairway, make everything on the greens and who is 16th in scoring.
Charley Hoffman (C): He entered the final round in 2013 just three shots behind Snedeker before his 74 knocked him all the way back to T16. I'll focus on his 69-69-67 as opposed to the 74 heading into this week. His world-wind tour comes to an end this week as he MC at Chambers Bay, T30 in Japan and MC at St. Andrews. This course will be a site for sore, tired, jet-lagged eyes so it's a big week or bust. The last time he was in North America in a non-major he was T2 at Byron Nelson.
Chris Stroud (B): He's made the weekend in his last four tries and has nothing worse than 70 in his last 16 rounds. In half of those he's pegged top 10s with T10 at the Travelers and T5 at JDC. He closed last week with 66 (-5) at the Barbasol to chug along.
Kevin Chappell (B): He's racked up seven cuts in a row, which is ninth-best on TOUR, and his T8 last time out at the JDC was his T-best finish of the season (T8, McGladrey). He's scoring better because he's putting better but he still has plenty of power off the tee.
J. B. Holmes (A): Gamers know he hits it a mile but remember he's 11th in SGTTG, eighth in birdies and eighth in par-breakers. He was 12-under in his final three round in his only visit to Glen Abbey in 2009 where he finished T16.
Johnson Wagner: With T32-T5-T10 in his last three, he makes for a perfect compliment in deeper formats. He's "joked" before on Twitter that he's happy with a few good weeks a year. Well, there's no time like the present!
Andres Romero: He was T21 here in 2013 and has never missed in three tries in Canada. His run of form started at the U.S. Open with T14 and he's added two top 10s in his last two starts. His T14-MC-T6-T10 stretch will force us to pay attention again this week.
Graham DeLaet: I'll try and pound the round hole in to the square peg this week. Too bad this isn't Royal Montreal where he picked up his first top 45 (T7) in six tries in his country's national championship. He's T46-MC in his two tries at Glen Abbey but has seven consecutive weekends under his belt entering the week. No Canadian has won since 1954.
Greg Owen: The veteran was 12-under through 54-holes here in 2013 and that will just help push him over the finish line as he enters the week on a run of 2nd-MC-T6-T20. His T20 was at the home of golf last week and I should probably have moved him up the ladder this week.
Retief Goosen: He was T4 on a very difficult parkland track in Munich at the BMW International. He MC at the JDC the week before at one of the easiest parkland tracks on TOUR. He was T20 last week at The Open. Somewhere in there is the answer. He shot 18-under here in 2009 and lost in a playoff to Nathan Green. There's the answer!
Ollie Schniederjans: This will be his first event as a pro as the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket is fresh off his T42-MC-T12 U.S. Open-Scottish Open-Open Championship summer. I'm not sure his confidence can be much higher and this field is not going to bother him.
Pat Perez: Last-minute entry who has just keeps ringing the bell in 2015, Perez has made nine cuts on the bounce. That's the fourth-best streak on TOUR at the moment. He racks up plenty of birdies and is in the top 10 in scoring average on par fours.
Austin Cook: Yep, him again. Read my wrap up "History Major" at Rotoworld.com to see why he's in here AGAIN this week.
Rory Sabbatini: He posted four rounds under par to finish T12 in his first and only trip in 2013. He's the total all-or-nothing play as he's entered 16 times this year and MC in half of those. BUT, in the other eight he's been T24 or better seven times. His only other finish was T30.
Emiliano Grillo: Shhhhhhhhh. Just take him. Nothing outside of T41 when he's made the cut this year in Europe or on TOUR. Lost in a playoff at PRO and was T10 last week at Barbasol.
Horses for Courses
John Merrick: He was T6 in 2013 with a 62 on Friday and adds that to T36 in 2009. All eight rounds are par or better. Threw up a 65-66 sandwich last week at Barbasol.
Mark Wilson: He was also T6 in 2013 and T24 in 2009 with all eight rounds under par. Lovely sleeper this week.
Martin Laird: Opened and closed with 65 in 2009 but a pesky 78 on Saturday ruined all of that. The year before he put all four rounds under par to finish T22.
Camilo Villegas: His finishes aren't worth noting but he shot 63 to open in 2009 and posted a second round 65 in 2013.
Long Shots, Forgotten Names, Etc.
Austin Connelly: He's the No. 17 amateur in the world. He was T5 last week at Angus Glen in the Pan Am Games. Angus Glen has hosted the Canadian Open in the past so it's hardly a goat ranch. He finished eight-under-par. He made the cut at the Byron Nelson (69-66) but his 72 saw him MDF. He's 18 and has dual Canadian-US citizenship. Put him in the file.
William McGirt: He loves golf in Canada no matter where they play it but he does prefer Glen Abbey where he was T2 in 2013.
Tim Clark: He's popped two MCs since returning from injury so most folks will be miles away from the event's defending champ this week. Excellent counter attack opportunity.
Scott Pinckney: Half of his weekends this season have gone for top 25s and with $1.2 million in the bank, he's easily safe for next year. #UtahMafia
Aaron Baddeley: He turned up a troika of 68s here in 2013 for T9. I like it even more that he closed last weekend 64-67 to finish T10 at the Barbasol. #KoalaBears
Albin Choi: He's won twice on the MacKenzie Tour (Canadian PGA) this season. He's a Canadian. There.
Steven Alker: The grizzled Aussie vet has played four of the last five weekends and has three T28s or better to show. Hey, life is about playing a long shot every now and again.
Chez Reavie: The 2008 champion won here on his maiden voyage yet MC in 2009. He was T31 in 2013. He enters the week on four in a row with only one round above 71.
Roberto Castro: Medalist in the Monday qualifier and T6 in 2013.
Vaughn Taylor: He's played eight times on TOUR and made seven cuts. Of those seven, five are T22 or better including T10 with a 63 last week in Alabama. #Fire
David Hearn: T20 is his best finish in 12 tries at his national championship. Nothing inside of T44 in two tries at Glen Abbey.
Graeme McDowell: His last top 25 was in February, 16 events ago.
Nick Taylor: He has one top 25 in 19 events since he won last fall. Just because he's Canadian doesn't mean his game shows up this week.
Man with His Own Section:
Hunter Mahan: In 2013 he was pummeling the field before he was summoned home as his wife went into labor. He didn't have a chance to finish the tournament but he was home for the birth of his first child. His best stroke play finish in seven events since T9 at Augusta is T39 in his hometown of Dallas. The emotional "unfinished business" factor is quite possibly real. So is his current form.
Rookie/Up-and-Comer of the Week Last Week
Once called the “Jordan Spieth” of the week, I had to retire that name after his last two seasons on TOUR. Now, we’ll keep a broad view of newer names/faces that gamers should pay attention to as the season moves on. Some former examples in this column include Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Chesson Hadley.
Shriners: Finau, T7
McGladrey: Robert Streb, WIN
CIMB: Cameron Smith, T5
HTOC: Taylor played his sixth event as a pro. He’s won 1/6 of the events he’s entered. That’s worth keeping an eye on for the foreseeable future.
Sony: Blair and Thomas finished T6 in their Sony debuts.
Humana: SJ Park (T2) is new to the TOUR but is hardly a rookie; Oh, look: Thomas in the top 10 again (T7).
WMPO: Koepka won so he graduates from this column like Reed, Spieth and Matsuyama before him. Justin Thomas is now the current mayor. Daniel Berger was T10, Thomas T17 and Finau returned with another top 25.
Farmers: Blair and Ortiz were T11 and Finau and Berger were T24. Not bad on a big, bad course!
Pebble Beach: Another top 10 for Berger and Curran as they had low rookie honors at T10. Will Wilcox was T18.
Northern Trust: Barber checked in at T12 and all that took was firing a tournament-low 65 on Sunday. No shame in Ortiz’s final round 75 from the final group as he played two very tough SoCal courses, Torrey South and Riviera T11 and T20. Noted.
Honda: Berger lost in a playoff. He’s played 10 TOUR events.
PRO: Young Argentine Emiliano Grillo missed a three-footer for his first win on TOUR. Curran hit another top 10, his third this season. Grillo has three TOUR starts; Curran has 17.
Valspar: There’s that pesky Thomas back in the top 10 AGAIN!
API: Berger just missed out on another top 10 with T13 and Blair and Ortiz racked up another top 25 each on T21.
VTO: Welcome Scott Pinckney to the proceedings as his T8 was quite stout. Ortiz hit the top 20 AGAIN with T15.
SHO: Berger, T25. He just keeps on keepin’ on.
Masters: Now you see why Spieth (WINNER) and Matsuyama (5th) were retired from the column? Koepka has already won as well. So has Henley. And Reed. Nobody this week fits.
RBC Heritage: Thomas, T11.
Zurich: Berger, T6. Thomas T12.
WGC-Match Play: N/A but Tommy Fleetwood is only 24 on the European Tour.
THE PLAYERS: Thomas fell from T5 to T24 closing with 75. #learningexperience
Wells Fargo: Web.com’s Patrick Rodgers inched closer to STM with his T2. He needs just nine FedEx Cup points to gain unlimited exemptions for the rest of the 2015 season.
Colonial: Finau returned to the scene as he backed up a good week at Quail with another at Colonial. T19.
ATT&TBNC: Pinckney, T2, best finish ever on TOUR; Berger and Finau T10.
Memorial: Finau, T8. He won't be in this column for long, I feel...
U.S. Open: Smith made eagle on the final hole to finish T4. That gave him a trip to Augusta next year and STM for the rest of this season. Finau continues his fantastic run with T14.
Travelers: Curran pegs another top 10 with T10.That's No. 4 in 2015 and No. 5 overall. Not bad for less than 25 starts on TOUR in his first year!
Greenbrier: Finau, again, T13.
JDC: Thomas, again, T5.
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game, DFS plus the European Tour! Oh, and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at 12 ET. We will be breaking down the field at RBC Canadian Open and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/MikeGlasscott) on Twitter.