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.
Call to Order
Here they are, ranked for your pleasure.
Yahoo! group in ( )
Dustin Johnson (B): Currently third in the all-around and fourth in scoring, he was the first to post 65 last week at Royal Liverpool so that tells me he in quite the form. His power over the 7,135-yard layout and ability to hit plenty of smallish greens looks to be a fine recipe this week. Believe it or not, he scores better on par threes (8th) and fours (22nd) then he does on par fives (34th) so that’s even a bigger advantage. He was T12 last week and T4 at the U.S. Open in two of his last three starts.
Jim Furyk (B): Only one of five players to defend their title north of the border, Furyk rolls into Quebec in outstanding recent form. And by recent, I mean the entire season! He’s 14-of-14 with two seconds and four other top 10s. He’s only missed the top 25 three times in those 14 starts. His last two starts on TOUR have been majors where he picked off a T12 at Pinehurst with a closing 67 and he was solo fourth last week after closing with 65. In majors. On Sundays.
Graeme McDowell (C): The first RBC ambassador on the list this week and there’s no questions as to why he is. His last three world-wide finishes are T6 at the Irish Open, WIN at the French Open and he closed 69-68-67 at Hoylake last week for T9. His game is peaking at the right time and the harder Royal Montreal will play, the better for the Northern Irishman. It doesn’t hurt that he hits tons of fairways and currently leads the TOUR in strokes gained-putting and total putting.
Charl Schwartzel (C): Every time the TOUR heads to a new or newish track, it’s time to stock up on the class players. Crash and burn, if you must, with guys who are used to playing the toughest courses around the world. Schwartzel surely fits this bill. He’s in the middle of a T8, MC and T7 swing which included a pair of 67s last week at Royal Liverpool.
Matt Kuchar (A): For him, he’s in a massive slump with finishes of T31 (Travelers) and T54 at The Open in his last two starts. He’s fifth on TOUR in scoring average so I’ll take my chances. I like the fact that this course requires an accurate tee ball and his short game is off the charts. He leads the TOUR in par-four performance (-17) as well. #slumpbreaker
Charley Hoffman (C): It’s good to see that Hoffman’s gold-y locks had nothing to do with his performance between the ropes. In 2014 he’s played 15 of 16 weekends (12 on the bounce) and half of those have resulted in top 25s. Half of those have been top 10s! He took three weeks off before The Open so he should have left whatever rust across the pond on Merseyside. He’s 10th in GIR and ninth in par-four performance.
David Hearn (B): The big pressure will be on Graham DeLaet so that’s why I think Hearn can sneak in here and do damage. As a late addition to The Open, he performed admirably as he put three of his four rounds under par to finish T32. His lack of distance of the tee won’t hurt as much this week but his accuracy will help. He’ll also hit plenty of greens and is 14th in total putting on TOUR.
Luke Donald (A): With a solo second at RBC Heritage and solo third at Wentworth, Donald again showed his value on tight courses. It doesn’t hurt that he’s second on TOUR in putting and 25th in scrambling either. His best result in the last six weeks was T16 at Royal Aberdeen but in a soft field, I can’t leave out a class player and former world No. 1.
Brandt Snedeker (A): Gamers like me hoped his T9 at Pinehurst would get him popping for the rest of the summer but his resurrection lost momentum last week at Hoylake. Given the difficulties and pressures of a major, I’ll focus on his T9, T11 and T21 streak leading into The Open instead. As usual, he goes as his putter and short game goes and they will be tested this week. Remember, he won this even last year outside Toronto at Glen Abbey so he’s the EVENT’S defending champ, just not on the same course. He’ll hope the greens run faster than 11.5’ and that the rough is up around the greens.
Hunter Mahan (B): I had to look up what Yahoo! group he was in because it has been so long since I’ve included him in this column. He WD from Bay Hill in March because of a hip problem. Although the injury has not prevented him from playing over the last four months, the results have been painful for gamers, especially season-long investors. His best finish in 11 starts since that WD is T24 at the end of June at QLN. He took the next few weeks off and followed that up with T32 at Hoylake that included 69 on Sunday. It was this tournament last year where he was 13-under after Friday but his wife went into labor with their first child. He went home to by her side and forego his chance to win. This should be a week of happy memories and it might be just as simple as that to get him back on track. I might be stretching but in this field, I’ll accept that risk this week.
Graham DeLaet: After going 0-3 in the first three majors of the season, the Canadian will be playing his personal fourth major of the year this week at his national championship. The leading ball-striker on TOUR this season has struggled with his form after posting T7 and T14 during the Texas swing in May. This course kinda reminds me of Colonial and Innisbrook a bit and he’s had excellent success there.
Jerry Kelly: In his last three he’s posted T65, T31 and T4. #trending It also doesn’t hurt that he’s 12th in par-four performance and 21st in par-three performance. His lack of length off the tee won’t be a hindrance this week and I love the fact that he’s 30th in fairways, 57th GIR and a great short-game player.
Russell Knox: He sits 23rd in fairways and 15th in GIR plus 18th in scrambling so that cancels out his current form which is nothing less than disturbing. Sadly, that’s the case for about 145 of the 156 playing this week!
Kevin Chappell: Once he puts it all together he’ll have gamers eating out of the golf glove on his left hand. He’s 16th in the all-around, 11th in total driving 32nd in GIR. In a very light field, I’ll take my chances on the numbers game.
William McGirt: It’s quite obvious that he could care LESS where they play the RBC Canadian Open because he’s finished T2 the last two years at a combined 29-under. He had a week to stew after his 64-66 opening at John Deere led to a 69-74 weekend and T23.
Stewart Cink: Raise yer hand if you knew the 2009 Open champion has made 12 cuts on the bounce this season! LIARS! I have no problem looking at the veteran ball-striker on a course that requires keeping the ball in the proper part of the fairway. The only bad news about those 12 cuts on the bounce is that none of them have registered in a top 10 and only three have hit the top 25. Again, THIS week, I have no problem reaching because he’s been around the block before.
Retief Goosen: Speaking of cuts made in a row, Goosen is now up to 10 of them. If my theory about Innisbrook and Royal Montreal being similar, then it should reach 11 as he’s won twice there. His streak opened with T7 followed by T21 and the next eight have been T32 or worse. ERRBODY GOT WARTS THIS WEEK!
Ted Potter, Jr.: In his last 15 rounds, only two have been 72 or worse so he’s trending in the proper direction. He’s 11th in fairways and eighth in scrambling and he’ll need both of those parts of his game working in concert this week.
Tim Clark: With a T19 and T5 in two of his last four starts, Clark is considered ON MAYJAH FIYAH entering this week. His T5 came at the John Deere where he found time for a sandwich 63-64 Friday and Saturday. He only made one bogey in the final three rounds so that qualifies as inferno hot. I also like that he hits tons of fairways (third on TOUR) and has been around the block plenty of times.
Bo Van Pelt: He’s played seven weekends in a row and racked up his best finish his last time out with T7 at JDC. Van Pelt has shown us over the last five years that his game usually travels well and that he can play on any setup. The last two times he played in Canada he was T6 in 2011 and T7 in 2012. He is the homeless man’s William McGirt when it comes to results in Canada in back-to-back seasons.
Scott Piercy: The 2012 champion is coming off injury but has teed it up twice on the web.com Tour. He hasn’t fired worse than 69 but only made one of two cuts as he missed at five-under last week. Deary me! I like that he’s stuck to his plan of using the web.com to knock off the rust. I wouldn’t be worried a bit this week because this is NOT his first time back. Actually, I’m encouraged to see where he’s at on a course where it doesn’t take 25-under to win.
Form Fliers/Longshots/Pipe Dreams
Jhonattan Vegas: Anybody who shoots 63-65 on the weekend in their previous tournament will always find a spot somewhere in my preview column. His T3 at JDC brought him to my attention. He’s 11th in GIR and that never hurts.
Chad Campbell: He’s played the weekend in four of his last five and two of the last three have resulted in T7 and T13. He even snuck in a tasty 62 at the Quad Cities in that T13 finish at the JDC.
Troy Merritt: He was second at FESJC on demanding layout and has T16 and T20 to show in his last two on TOUR.
Aaron Baddeley: Before his MC at QLN he rattled off T37, T23 (U.S. Open) and T4 at the Travelers so his game was heading in the proper direction. His MC was his seventh week in a row playing so a nice break of almost four weeks could have been the recharging that he needed.
Mike Weir/Brad Fritsch: If you absolutely have to take a Canadian.
Scott Brown: I’ll take a look at a guy who fired 61 his last time out. He hits plenty of fairways and can roll the rock.
Carl Pettersson: He’s made five cuts in a row and two of those went for top sevens. Only five of those 20 rounds have been over par.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.
McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek
OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.
HTOC: Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.
Sony: Hudson Swafford and Will Wilcox both finished T8. Both played on the Web.com Tour last year and are rookies on TOUR this season.
Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.
FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.
WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN
Pebble Beach: Er, Jordan Spieth, T4. Patrick Reed, 23, finished T13 and he’s won twice since August. Golf is good hands, again.
Riviera: Harris English won’t be 25 until July. He was T10; Spieth was T12.
WGC-Match Play: Victor Dubuisson is 23 and was second. Jordan Spieth was T5. #youthmovement
Honda: Russell Henley is now the fourth player on TOUR under 25 with two wins. He joins Patrick Reed, Harris English and Rory McIlroy in this very elite club of pups.
WGC-CC: Patrick Reed is 23. He’s now won three times in eight months on TOUR.
Puerto Rico Open: Rookie Chesson Hadley, 26, took home his first title on the big boy circuit.
Valspar: Chesson Hadley backed up his first win with T14 on a tough, tough Copperhead Course. Scott Langley, a second year player from Illinois (see above) was third.
API: The young Japanese lad Ishikawa racked up another top 10 (T8) this week. Yep, he’s still just 22.
Valero: He’ll be remembered for all of the wrong reasons but Andrew Loupe, 25, finished T4 in only his eighth start on TOUR. #slowgolfclap
Shell Houston: Russell Henley’s T7 shows him heating up before heading back for another crack at Augusta.
Masters: That Jordan Spieth guy was T2.
RBC Heritage: John Huh, T3, is a TOUR winner but is only 23 years old. Remember?
Zurich: The winner was 22-year old Seung-Yul Noh. He fits this column to a T.
Wells Fargo: Defending champ Derek Ernst was T30. He’ll turn 24 on May 15.
THE PLAYERS: That pesky Spieth was tied for the 54-hole lead and finished T4.
HPBNC: T16 was the best the youth could muster with John Huh, who turns 24 on Wednesday.
Colonial: Second-year player David Lingmerth poked his head up again with T5 to lead the youngsters. Hideki Matsuyama, who co-led after 54-holes, finished T10.
Memorial: Matsuyama must be a quick study. He was the 54-hole leader at Colonial yet finished T10. He took it deep this week with his first victory on TOUR, in a playoff, nonetheless. #impressive
FESJC: Brooks Koepka continues to rack up non-Member points and his T19 this week added to that.
U.S. Open: For the second consecutive week Koepka has the spotlight and deservedly so after T4. With Matsuyama, Spieth and Koepka, the future looks quite bright for the TOUR.
Travelers: Bud Cauley (remember him?) and Scott Langley were T11. Langley held the 36-hole lead.
Quicken Loans: Spieth and Reed both were T11. John Huh was T19.
The Greenbrier: Even though it is his third year on TOUR, Cauley is just 24. No point forgetting about him now as he’s bagged T11 and T4 in two of his last three.
JDC: Er, that Spieth guy again, T7.
The Open: Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is having some 12-month run. He turned 24 in April. #payattention
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 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 NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at the RBC Canadian Open and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.