1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Furyk the favorite for third Canadian Open

    Furyk the favorite for third Canadian Open

    Last week's British Open will be a very tough act to follow for this year's Canadian Open, with the first round slated for a Thursday tee-off. Oh the heels of Padraig Harrington taking his second consecutive Claret Jug, Jim Furyk will be going for his third straight CO crown. The course at Glen Abbey near Toronto is soggy from recent rains, with more wet stuff possible, but wind should not be a factor.

    Once upon a time, the Canadian Open was one of the more prestigious events in golf. They’re working their way back up the ladder; switching from September to July last year has given the tournament a boost in starpower, and the betting odds action should be healthy even if Tiger Woods isn’t.

    Jim Furyk won the last two Canadian Opens in a row and is a 7-1 favorite to make it a trifecta. However, the 2008 event returns after a four-year absence to the familiar Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, just west of Toronto. This Jack Nicklaus-designed course hasn’t been to Furyk’s liking. He’s played there four times in his career and has never finished higher than 22nd. Furyk is also sitting on zero tournament victories in 2008, although he did finish fifth at the British Open and third earlier this month at the AT&T National.

    Anthony Kim is the second favorite and a sharper bet at 10-1. This young golfer is in just his second season on the PGA Tour, but has already picked up a pair of wins this year, at the aforementioned AT&T National and in May at the Wachovia Championship. Kim is coming off a seventh-place result at Royal Birkdale. Although this is his first Canadian Open, Kim should thrive in the soggy conditions at Glen Abbey this week. His 301-yard drives (10th on the Tour in distance) will allow him to approach the soft greens like dartboards.

    The Canadian contingent is high on the odds list, even though a native son hasn’t won this event since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Mike Weir (14-1) came excruciatingly close in 2004 before losing in a playoff to Vijay Singh. However, the southpaw failed to make the cut in any of his other appearances at Glen Abbey. Trinidadian-Canadian Stephen Ames (16-1) tied Kim for seventh at the British Open, but is 20 yards shorter off the tee and does not have a good track record on his home soil.

    Arguably the two biggest names in this week’s field are Retief Goosen (18-1) and Fred Couples (40-1). Each is making his return to the Canadian Open for the first time since 1995. Goosen has the shorter odds, but it’s Couples who has enjoyed his past trips to Oakville – albeit some time ago, finishing third in 1991 and second in 1993. Again, Couples has the big stick (299.3 yards per drive) to succeed this week, and he has three Top-10 results in 12 events this year.

    Dudley Hart (50-1) and Billy Andrade (field, 9-4) are the only golfers in the mix who have won this event at Glen Abbey. The other past winners aside from Furyk are Mark Calcavecchia (field), Bob Tway (80-1) and Scott Verplank (25-1). None of these five golfers placed in the Top 10 during the 2004 Canadian Open. Hart is an intriguing long shot, though, missing six cuts this year but also finishing in the Top 10 three times in his last eight events. Despite hitting just 275.7 yards off the tee, Hart is 24th on the Tour with 3.52 birdies per round, and birdies figure to be flying off the shelves in this week’s conditions.

    Other golfers of note include Camilo Villegas (25-1), Corey Pavin (80-1) and the immortal Jason Gore (100-1). The Golf Channel has late-round television coverage on Thursday and Friday, with CBS following suit on the weekend. Each day’s coverage starts at 3 p.m. Eastern.

  2. #2
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    jjgold's Avatar Saloon Moderator
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    I will take Kim

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  3. #3
    Willie Bee
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    Goosen, Ames and Andrade might be a decent trio to watch.