After a tough week from a betting a prospective at the Open Championship, it’s nice to return to a regular PGA Tour event, one that will see the typical low scoring winners that we’re are used to seeing week in, week out. The RBC Canadian Open is the third oldest professional golf tournaments in history, with only the Open Championship and the U.S Open being older. Dating back to 1904 the event itself was considered one of the biggest on Tour, however in recent years has struggled to attract the biggest players on Tour due to it’s poor position on the schedule. With it being stuck between the Open Championship and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, many players tend to pass the week, in order to prepare and relax for the following week at Firestone for the third WGC of the year. The majors and WGC’s are always going to take priority in a players mind, and many will feel the Canadian Open isn’t the right preparation, whilst others just need a rest after such a gruelling week, trying to take on Muirfield in the Open Championship. Having said that, there are some headline players in the field this week including, reigning FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker, as well as multiple winners Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar. These four head the betting, closely followed by major winners, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell. Former World No.1 Luke Donald will also be in the field this week, and after what can only be considered as a disappointing season so far, topped off by his missed cut this week, he will be looking to take advantage of an easier test, and turn his fortunes around.
Apart from the players mentioned above, there are players in the field this week, who will be trying to ride the form bus from previous weeks, and take advantage of the fact that the favourites might not be in the best position to win, due to major fatigue. There is only one player who has made the cut at the Open Championship the previous week, and then go on to win here at the Canadian Open and that was Jim Furyk back in 2007, so it’s good to bear that in mind when you’re ready to back some of the players at shorter prices. Of course trends change, and you cannot rule out of any of the players who head the betting, there up there for a reason, but it does seem a hard ask to win here after grinding away at such a difficult set-up as the Open Championship often provides. I am happy oppose players like Snedeker this week, where as I’m often reluctant to, however this event is the one place where I’ve looked straight away from the clear favourites and straight down to find some value. Let’s look at what the course has in store for the guys teeing it up here this week, and who will be looking to hold onto their Canadian Open title.
The Course: Glen Abbey Golf Course, Par 72, 7,253yards. The scoring has proved easy on this Jack Nicklaus designed course, with it not being beyond short players range, whilst also offering averagely sized fairways and greens. This will be the 26th time this course has been used for this tournament, however it has not been the host course since 2009. The Canadian Open was held here in 2009 and 2008, and the winning score were -18 and -17 under respectively, so it looks as though it’s going to another low scoring week. It’s worth noting that the last three winners at Glen Abbey have all ranked inside the top 10 for putting, so solid putting after getting yourself in position is as key as ever. Chez Reavie (2008 Champion) is not known for his short game, and managed to grab the win, so there are ways to win without being red hot with the putter.
Defending Champion: Scott Piercy. Piercy is a player, who in stages manages to look excellent, and in others not so much. He is the type of player who would frustrate the life out of me if I was watching and had placed bet on him. He went through a spell between the Byron Nelson where he came T5, and ended at the Memorial where he came in T16 place. These results came either side of his T26 at the Crowne Plaza, so he looked to be peaking right in time, however he the failed to make the weekend at the Greenbrier and his run of good results came to an end. Piercy shot -17 at Hamilton Golf and Country Club last year and will have to at least repeat that feat you feel in order to challenge. Piercy came T40 last time out at Glen Abbey and has since produced form figures of T6 and 1 so he should be confident of putting together a good four rounds once again here at the Canadian Open.
As mentioned above I’m happy to take on some of the players at the top of the market, and value is as it seems most week there to be had, and that needs to be exploited. Hopefully I can help you decide who you want to go for here, and if you do side with any of my picks it would be great to hear about it via my Twitter @TomJacobs8. I am looking to bounce back very quickly from two weeks that could of been ten times better than they have been, had it of been for some better luck, and stronger weekend performances at the Open Championship. These are the my four selections for the Canadian Open.
Luke Donald 25/1 (PaddyPower 1-6) 2pts e/w: Luke Donald has had, at his standards an average start to his season, even though he’s made 9/10 cuts, and two top-5 finishes. His first top-5 came at the Tampa Bay Championship where he finished T4, an event he was highly fancied to win, and the second coming at the RBC Heritage where he came in 3rd place, so he although he may not seem to be in his best form, he’s still playing consistent enough to be considered. His two missed cuts, at both the Maybank Malaysian Open and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, both on the European Tour were obviously disappointing for the Englishman, as well as his missed cut at the Open Championship last week. Donald has however played well at the U.S Open, and he has proved his game is there to get hot, and if he can find his putting this week, he may just do that. Donald has a good record at the Canadian Open with form figures of T17 (2011), 3 (2010) and T24 (2009), 2009 being a year when the event was held at this years course, Glen Abbey. Donald has 14 professional wins to his name, 5 of them coming on the PGA Tour, and with a win in 2012 and two in 2011 this side of the pond, Donald should have every confidence of getting the job done. He was World No.1 on two occasions, firstly in 2011 when winning both the European and PGA Tour money lists, and then again last year, when he was exchanging the spot with Rory Mcilroy. I’m fully convinced it’s just a matter of when Luke will win again, and missing the cut last week may just work in his favour when challenging here for the Canadian Open. He didn’t have to face two extra rounds of gruelling golf at Muirfield, whereas many of the favourites around him did, so he looks like a good bet at 25/1.
Morgan Hoffmann 66/1 (BetVictor, PaddyPower 1-6) 1pt e/w: I have backed Hoffmann a couple of times this year now, and he keeps proving why, with consistently promising performances, each week on Tour. Since missing the cut at the U.S Open, Hoffmann has had finishes of, T9, T8, T23, and T15 last time out, so he certainly comes to Canada in form, and that alongside his other previous showing in the Canadian Open was enough for me to go for him again at 66/1. Back in 2011, Hoffmann made four PGA Tour apperances, the RBC Canadian Open being one of them, in which he came T22. He has since gained valuable Tour experience, and has certainly proved he’s got the game to be involved at the top of leaderboards, and hopefully he’s involved here again. He will win on Tour, and although I’m not sure when it’s going to happen, he may just be inspired by other young winners on Tour, most recently Jordan Spieth who won the John Deere Classic. In my opinion 66/1 is about the right price for Hoffmann this week, as it’s a strong field but he comes into it with plenty of form, and he’s not a player I would worry about in big company. He has not quite got himself close enough to have a realistic chance of winning, but his consistent showings in the past month are good enough for me, and I hope he can keep riding the form bus right into Glen Abbey this week.
Nicholas Thompson 80/1 (Betfred, Coral, SkyBet) 1pt e/w: Nicholas Thompson is a player in form at the moment, and coming into this week looks to be a good outside pick for me at 80/1. He price is as low as 50/1 in places so there is definitely a divided opinion on him, but I believe he could go really here in Canada. Thompson had a streak of missed cuts, spanning between the last week of April and the first week of June, but since bounced back in superb fashion, with three good tournaments in particular under his belt. He came T27 in the FedEx St.Jude Classic, followed by a T56 at the U.S Open the following week, so he didn’t shy away from the challenge before taking on Merion. The very next week after trying to navigate his way around at typical U.S Open course, Thompson managed a respectable T24 finish at the Travelers Championship, yet another week that added to his confidence. Another good finish followed as he he made inside the top 30 at the AT&T National, coming T28 and then he reached his most recent stumbling block. Thompson missed his first weekend in four weeks at the Greenbrier Classic, but again managed to bounce back, finishing T12 at the John Deere Classic one week later, and then his best finish of the year last week when he came 4th at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Now I am well aware last week wasn’t his biggest challenge to date, and had it of been based on that I probably wouldn’t of picked him, but I’m happy with his finishes at some decent events this season so far, and I feel he could go well again. Thompson’s last three efforts at the Canadian Open have seen him miss the cut in 2010, T53 in 2009 and T5 in 2008, another positive factor that resulted in me picking him this week. He has made the cut both times that he’s played at this course, with a great showing when coming T5 in 2008, so with confidence high, I’d like to think he can produce something similar once again. He came into the Canadian Open off the back of a missed cut in 2008, so it will be good to see what he can do after such a great week last time out. At 80/1 he struck me as value, and I’m pleased to have someone in form onside at a good price.
Patrick Reed 125/1 (Betfred, Coral) 1pt e/w: Reed has been playing some fantastic golf of late, and had it of been for some better luck, and a few minor improvements it could of been a lot better. Reed has become a stand out performer in recent weeks, and not just because he has his wife on the bag caddying for him. He has three top-10 finishes so far this season, with one of them coming two weeks ago at the John Deere Classic, when he finished round 4 in a tie for 7th, one week after missing the cut at the Greenbrier. Much like Nicholas Thompson one of my other picks above, Reed had been in good form going into the Greenbrier, missed the cut and bounced back with a great performance, so I’m not going to dwell on that missed cut, his only one for eight weeks. Apart from his T7 two weeks ago, Reed finished T7 at Pebble Beach and 5th at the FedEx St.Jude Classic. He’s currently 86th in the FedEx Cup standings, and will want to keep up the form going into the business end of the season, as in four weeks time, he will need to be in the top 125 in order to make the FedEx Cup Play Offs, something I’m sure he’s trying to achieve. He is looking comfortable with his game right now, and the husband/wife combination seems to be working just fine, so hopefully this continues here this week. He is a good price considering his current form, and screamed value at me straight away. He is taking full advantage of his first full season on Tour so far, and he’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
Profit/Loss for 2013- +79.65
Although profit has dropped recently I am still confident of a positive season overall, and I hope this week will just be one step in the right direction. With no less than twelve players at the top of the betting all playing in the Open Championship last week, there is an opportunity to find value, especially if you feel that fatigue may play a part. Be wary of the players that missed the cut at Muirfield last week however, as some have been in fine form this season, and on a much easier track, they could be a huge danger this week. As for the players who played all four rounds, the talent is undeniable and they deserve to head the betting, however battling it out in an Open Championship for four rounds is tough for anybody and at short prices will be opposable. Good luck this week, and I hope you enjoy the RBC Canadian Open. Follow me on Twitter @TomJacobs8