We’re in the midst of the NBA and NHL finals and NFL minicamps start today, but golf has captured the sporting world’s attention today. There will be plenty of off-the-course distractions at this week’s RBC Canadian Open, but what will happen inside the ropes? WagerTalk golf handicapper Andy Lang shares his thoughts on this week’s event with betting tips, DFS recommendations and players to avoid.
RBC Canadian Open Course
This year’s Canadian Open is at Oakdale Country Club, and this is a course that the PGA Tour has never played before. The course’s website has videos of each hole with a voice over describing it, which should be mandatory for every golf course as it blows my mind that golf courses don’t do this. I absolutely love these videos, I watch way more of them than I should, and I don’t even think it really helps handicapping, but it’s one of those things I love.
Another side note about this tourney is that they do a great job of making Canadian Opens a party week with lots of events, a big concert with Black Eyed Peas, then the next day, Canadian Alanis Morissette will play, and they will have tons of events and parties. Why is this note worthy? This will be an amazing crowd, especially on the weekend. So expect a lot of fun and energy that should be great viewing.
The course is really different from most, but in a way that I really love. The par 4’s are what makes this so interesting, as they are short, and it means players will have to be really aggressive to keep up because this will be a birdie fest all day, every day in this tournament. There are no par 4’s longer than 490 yards, and eight of the par 4’s are playing at 430 yard or less, and five of them will be less than 400 yards.
Like traditional Canadian Open tournaments, this course features a lot of trees, but they aren’t positioned right on the fairway so if you spray the ball way left or way right you can be in trouble, but the rough doesn’t seem that tough so expect guys to grip it and rip it off the tee for most of the holes. There looks like there is lot of slopes and elevation changes as there are quite a few greens that are higher than the fairways, and there are quite a few greens with big slopes, false fronts, and tricky pin positions if the tourney organizers decide to get spicy. Getting the yardage right on the approach shots will be key with these elevation changes as being a club to half a club off could make for a pretty long and difficult first putt. With all of that being said, these guys should torch this course.
RBC Canadian Open Field
I think an average round for a contender will look like playing the Par 5’s -2 or -3, the Par 4’s playing -3 or -4 and the Par 3’s at -1 making a round around -6 to -7. Someone who gets dialed in with their wedges and putter is going to go nuts in a round so don’t be surprised if someone shoots a -10. Here are the top-10 Total Strokes Gained for the year for this field:
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Tyrell Hatton
3. Justin Rose
4. Cameron Young
5. Matthew Fitzpatrick
6. Sam Burns
7. Corey Conners
8. Sahith Theegala
9. Nick Taylor
10. Tommy Fleetwood
RBC Canadian Open Players to Avoid
Rory McIlroy – He’s won the last two Canadian Opens, but those were different courses, and while his length off the tee will be a huge weapon this week, his weak spot is putting, and his wedge game is anything but consistent. He ranks 2nd on tour from approaches from 50-100 yards, but 193rd from 125-150 yards. He’s 154th in Greens In Regulation, and 60th in Proximity to the hole. The winner of this tourney is going to be in the mid -20’s I believe, and I just don’t want to depend on Rory’s short game to get the win. Everyone in this field will be hitting short irons into these greens, and there’s no way I would take Rory in a short game competition. He’s going to have to win or at worst finish Top 3 to return value, and I’m not willing to make that investment on a guy who has one top five finish in seven regular tournaments this year.
Tyrell Hatton – He’s having his best year on the PGA Tour, but I don’t trust him the week before a Major. He played The Valero Open this season the week before The Masters, and he missed the cut (only finish outside the Top 50 this season) and I’m not accusing anyone of missing cuts on purpose (even though I watched Tony Finau do it at the Charles Schwab), but Hatton’s performance on the 17th hole on Friday at The Valero was quite eye opening. Last year he played the week before the US Open at this tournament where he missed the cut as well shooting +8 on Thursday and Friday, which is laughably bad for a player like him as the cut line was +2. Bottom line…I made money on him last week, I’ll probably bet on him next week, but he’s a stay away this week.
RBC Canadian Open DFS Darlings
Aaron Cockerill ($7,000) – He’s a solid European Tour player who has finished 21st or better in five-straight Euro tournaments, and he played here last year and finished 48th. In a watered down field with a lot of unknowns coming into this week, I’ll take the Canadian to make the cut and gets us weekend points.
Brandt Snedeker ($7,000) – He’s had bad sternum injuries this year and in the past, but he played last week and finished 41st. He has great history in Canada, and he can’t drive the ball far which is no big deal at this course as he’s fantastic with his irons as he was 18th in greens-in-regulation last week and 27th in Strokes Gained on approach.
Mark Hubbard ($7,300) – Another made cut and good weekend points from Hubbard again last week as he’s my favorite Darling right now. He has five top-30 finishes in his last six tourneys and he finished 44th here last year.
Rest of Lineup: Matt Kuchar ($9,100); Justin Rose ($9,700); Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,900).
RBC Canadian Open Best Bet
Rory McIlroy over Tyrell Hatton (-139)
I have both these guys in “Players That Can Trip You Up,” but for very different reasons. I’m worried Rory McIlroy might not return top-3 value, but with Hatton I’m worried he won’t make the cut. Those are two very different scenarios. Rory McIlroy doesn’t tee it up unless he intends to play 100-percent as evident by costing himself a ton of money by opting to sit out the RBC Heritage earlier this season instead of playing when he knew he was mentally exhausted and needed a break. Hatton missed the cut at this event last year the week before the US Open, and he missed the cut earlier this year the week before the first major of the year where he “mysteriously” played way below his standards. I expect more of the same this week from him so I’ll take Rory over Hatton as my best bet this week.