Sandwiched in between Major Championships this year, is The RBC Canadian Open. Jason Day defends his title this week and next at The PGA Championship. Fresh off of a historic British Open finish, it looks like we're in for a few great weeks of golf.
Holy Cow! If you are still at least slightly clinging to a post British Open hangover, I completely understand. Sunday's finale at Royal Troon between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson was the best golf match I have ever seen between two competitors and it continues to reverberate through the fabric of golf fans everywhere as this one was a classic - one for the ages. Add in the fact that it came in record breaking fashion in the final round of a Major Championship. Add in the fact that Jack Nicklaus himself chimed in later that evening and said this was better than his "Duel in The Sun" with Tom Watson in The 1977 Open Championship at Turnberry. Phil Mickelson, a five time Major Champion, has played in 96-Majors and last Sunday at Troon was the best round he's ever shot in a final round of a Major. His best round ever in a final round! and he lost by three strokes.
Completely remarkable and an absolute joy to watch. Congratulations Henrik Stenson on capturing your first Major Championship and becoming The Champion Golfer of The Year. We sure enjoyed watching you do it.. and now we are going to try to peel ourselves off the wall and take a look at what's in store for The RBC Canadian Open this week.
Speaking of Jack Nicklaus, Glen Abbey Golf Club in Ontario, Canada was his first golf design on his own back in 1976. Since then it has been the primary host course for The Canadian Open and has always been very well received by the players. The golf course is pretty straight forward. Scoring is not overly difficult and there is not any one particular skill set that really sticks out as crucial above the others. We've seen short and accurate hitters win, we've seen long bombers win. Scrambling is important as the greens are a bit undersized. Greens in Regulation is important as it always is - and of course Putting. The greens are not brutally difficult but it is not surprising that your past winners here have fared very well against the field with the flat stick. So there is not a truly definitive game that traditionally bodes well for Glen Abbey but rather a little bit of everything. And if the players didn't get enough wind and rain last week at The Open in Scotland, it looks like they can soak up a little more this week in Canada as it is expected to blow and be wet at least on a couple of the four days.
Jason Day (5-1 betting odds) If the weather does not wreak too much havoc this week, the defending champion, who makes birdies in bunches and can really putt, should see his name toward the top of the leaderboard again. It will be just next week that Day will be defending his PGA Championship title. Not a bad thing in my opinion for one's confidence to be defending multiple titles in a short period of time.
Dustin Johnson (5-1 at BetVictor) Similar formula here for the World Number 2. Hit it long, putt well, make birdies. Putting was not something DJ did well in Scotland last week but a huge part of his game is his ability to stuff shots in close from 50-125 yards out and that should take him a long way this week at Glen Abbey.
Matt Kuchar (12-1 at bet365) It was just one hole that really threw Kuchar out of a respectable finish last week at Royal Troon when he made a 7 at the 8th Hole, Postage Stamp.. but his top notch play continues. He has three straight Top-10 finishes here in Canada and three Top-5's in the last six years.
Jim Furyk (25-1 at Bovada) Probably a pretty good number for a guy who's had as much success at this event as Furyk has.. with three straight Top-10 finishes and consecutive wins in 2006 and 2007. The two wins however, were not played at Glen Abbey Golf Club and he was not spectacular in the elements last week, finishing 59th at The Open.
Emiliano Grillo (30-1 at PaddyPower) Pretty cool to see the Argentinean, a PGA Tour rookie, getting as much respect here as he is from the oddsmaker - and deservedly so as he has three Top 15 finishes in his last four starts, at The Memorial, The WGC Bridgestone, and a 12th last week at The British Open. Grillo did play here last year and finished 22nd in his debut.
Charley Hoffman (40-1 at BetOnline.) Feast or famine here at The Canadian for Hoffman as he has a 7th, a 16th, and a 4th in three of his last five tries - but has missed the cut in the other two years. His game should translate well here but like Jim Furyk, Charley was not impressive last week in the wind and the rain, finishing 77th at The Open.
The Long Shots
David Hearn (50-1 at Bookmaker) Currently Canada's best player, Hearn had not had a great deal of success at this event until last season when he finished 3rd. He's been on a roll with six Top-20 finishes in his last twelve events. Very accurate off of the tee and hits a lot of greens.
Kevin Streelman (50-1 at Bodog) This will be Streetman's first tournament in the month of July but he is coming off of a red hot June in which he tallied finishes of 8th, 13th, and 12th. He's played this event five times but only twice at Glen Abbey, which was where his best results came - at 31st and 30th place.
Jonas Blixt (125-1 at BetVictor) Something tells me that Blixt has got to be pretty inspired by seeing his fellow countryman, Henrik Stenson, become the first male Swede to ever win a golf Major. Blixt finished 22nd here last year in his debut and has only missed one cut in his last ten tournaments this season. He finished 3rd at Pebble Beach and 6th at Torrey Pines earlier this year.. and there has been a lot of crossover success at these courses and Glen Abbey.
Tony Finau (30-1) It was nearly a year ago that Tony Finau really introduced himself to the majority of golf fans when he put together a very impressive 10th place showing at The PGA Championship at Whistling Straights.. and this was only a couple of months after finishing 14th at The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Finau is no secret anymore and he continues to impress in the Majors with an 18th last week in his first ever British Open. He hits it a mile and makes a lot of birdies. He was 22nd last year in his Canadian Open debut. For my betting picks I like him to grab the top spot this year.