RBC Canadian Open: Ignore the market leaders, says The Punter

Fabian Gomez, The Punter's sole selection for the Canadian Open
Fabian Gomez, The Punter's sole selection for the Canadian Open

Coming so soon after a gruelling and extended Open Championship some of the market leaders who appeared at St Andrews are worth ignoring says The Punter, as our man takes a detailed look at the RBC Canadian Open...


"Fabian Gomez has missed his two cuts since winning in Memphis but at 260.0259/1 I thought he was worth chancing given he finished 16th here on his only previous start two years ago."

Tournament History

The Canadian Open dates right back to 1904 and this will be the 106th edition. It's the third oldest national open in the world and prior to the establishment of the PGA Tour it was one of the most prestigious in the world, but not anymore. Unhappy with its September slot, the organising committee rallied the PGA Tour for a change in date but its new position in the calendar, one week after the Open Championship, isn't any better.

Other than those sponsored by tournament sponsors, RBC, the marquee names tend to take the week off and having the Open Championship extend to Monday isn't going to help any.


Venue

Glen Abbey Golf Course, Oakville, Ontario


Course Details
Par 72, 7,253 yards
2013 Stroke Index - 71.6

Glen Abbey was the first course Jack Nicklaus designed on his own and it opened for business in 1976. With the exceptions of 1980 and 1997, it was the event's permanent home between 1977 and 2000 and it's staged the championship on 26 previous occasions in total. The last time being two years ago, when Brandt Snedeker's job was made easier by Dustin Johnson driving out of bounds on the 71st hole, and prior to that it was used in 2004, 2009 and 2009.

The fairways are of average width and the bentgrass greens are generally smaller than average, undulating and often protected by steep bunkering.


Useful Sites

Event Site
Course Site
Course Tour
Twitter Link
Tee Times
Weather Forecast


TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting on Thursday.


Last Five Winners
2014 - Tim Clark -17
2013 - Brandt Snedeker -16
2012 - Scott Piercy - 17
2011 - Sean O'Hair -4 (playoff)
2010 - Carl Pettersson -18


What Will it Take to Win The RBC Canadian Open?

Although Tiger Woods ranked number one for Driving Distance in 2000 and Vijay Singh ranked 5th in 2004, the last three winners at Glen Abbey have ranked 34th, 32nd and 58th so bombing it off the tee is far from essential and neither is accuracy. Chez Reavie ranked 4th for Driving Accuracy in 2008 and Nathan Green found more fairways than anyone else 12 months later but Snedeker won with a DA ranking of 59th.

The last five winners here have ranked 7th, 1st, 5th, 29th and 18th for Greens In Regulation and the last four have all ranked inside the top-ten for Putting.


Is There an Angle In?

Snedeker had played at Muirfield the week before he won here so it would be daft to assume anyone who played all five days at St Andrews will be too jaded to feature here, but I fancy it must be something of a negative.


Is There an Identikit Winner?

Brandt Snedeker was the favourite when he won here two years ago but the two course winners that preceded him here, Green and Reavie, were both outsiders winning their one and only (to date) PGA Tour titles so don't be afraid to back an outsider - especially given so many of the fancied runners played in the Open.


In-Play Tactics

Dustin Johnson tied for the lead here with just two to play in 2013, despite being tied for 126th and 10 back after round one and fully 11 strokes adrift at halfway, but a deluge of rain fell before round three and both he and Snedeker, who himself had trailed by eight at halfway, were able to fire nine-under-par 63s on Saturday to move right in to contention but ordinarily, this is a venue where making up ground is tough. In the six renewals prior to the rain-softened 2013 affair, Tiger Woods, in 2000, was the only winner to be any further than two strokes back at halfway.


Market Leaders

Jason Day, unforgivably, left his birdie putt to get into yesterday's Open Championship playoff short but other than that, he did very little wrong. He's getting better in-contention all the time and it probably won't be too long before he adds to his tally of three PGA Tour titles but he's very easy to dismiss here at a single-figure price. Not only does he have to overcome the disappointment of another near miss in a major, he also has to dramatically improve on his two previous performances here given he finished 48th in 2008 and 52nd on 2009.

Second favourite, Bubba Watson, has played here on three previous occasions and his form's not much better than Day's. He missed the cut in both 2008 and 2009 and he finished 21st two years ago. He'll benefit from missing the cut at St Andrews and he'll be glad of the easier conditions but I'm more than happy to pass him over at the prices too.

Matt Kuchar failed to break 70 at St Andrews last week when finishing down the field in 58th but he finished runner-up to Rickie Fowler in the Scottish Open the week before so he has recent form in the book and he also has course form as he finished runner-up to Snedeker two years ago. They're the positives but the negatives outweigh them for me. He's not at all ruthless in-the-mix and like Day, he has to overcome being involved for the whole five days at the Open.

Jim Furyk rallied from the cut line to finish tied 30th at St Andrews yesterday and that was a perfectly respectable effort given his previous form there. Chambers Bay was plenty long enough for him too so he's probably better judged on his 5th at the Memorial Tournament, a fortnight before he finished 42nd in the US Open.

He did nothing wrong 12 months ago when edged out on the back-nine in round four by Tim Clark and with form figures of 22-37-14-9, he'll have his supporters but I'm not one of them. It was great to see him win the Heritage in April, after a number of near misses, but there's no debating that he isn't at all prolific and his price is short enough.


Selection

I could have been persuaded to part with a few pounds on last week's Barbasol Championship, and former Canadian Open winner, Scott Piercy, had he been a little bigger in price but nobody else towards the front of the market remotely interested me so for now I'm going with just one pick - the St Jude Classic winner, Fabian Gomez.

He's missed his two cuts since winning in Memphis but at 260.0259/1 I thought he was worth chancing given he finished 16th here on his only previous start two years ago.


Selection:
Fabian Gomez @ 260.0259/1


I'll be back later with my European Masters preview.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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