The 2023 RBC Canadian Open promises to have plenty of eyes on it following the events of this past week. While the new PGA x LIV merger won’t have any effect on this particular event, it will be interesting to see the players’ mentalities. In fact, with such a bright spotlight on the stars of the PGA Tour, it could be a perfect spot to play some underdogs.
After Viktor Hovland put on a Sunday clinic to achieve his 7th-career PGA Tour win at The Memorial, the PGA Tour rolls on to Canada. Who has the edge going into this weekend?
Canadian Open: The Course
The RBC Canadian Open will be played at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto. Designed by Stanley Thompson, the course does have many similarities to Canadian Counterpart, St. Georges. There are plenty of sloped fairways, elevation changes on the greens, and deceiving hazards to navigate. It’s not the longest course, but it requires a level of finesse and patience if it is to be conquered, with a front 9 that’s made up of holes from 2 different courses, just to mix things up.
Canadian Open: The Field
Rory McIlroy comes into this event as the best Golfer in the field by quite some way and he of course won The Canadian Open with a tournament record in 2019. However, this may be a spot to fade the esteemed veteran. McIlroy’s short game has been questionable as of late and he really struggled last weekend, surrendering the lead on Sunday to finish 7th overall. On a narrow course that won’t favor his distance off the tee as much as others, a reliance on a struggling short game and a huge spotlight may push Rory out of contention.
There are several UK&I candidates inside the top-10 according to Vegas this week. Reigning U.S Open Champion, Matt Fitzpatrick, headlines a group that also includes Tommy Fleetwood, who is quietly having one of his best seasons yet. He’s had 5 top-20 finishes dating back to February with only two missed cuts. He actually ranks 1st in this field in strokes gained around the green and that’s something worth noting on this tricky course.
Tyrrell Hatton is also a name to keep an eye on at this year’s Canadian Open. He has the 4th best scoring average on the PGA Tour and has been simply excellent this season with a very well-rounded game. The PGA Tour site has him ranked 3rd in SG Total and 11th around the green. If it all clicks this weekend, he should be in with a shout.
Canadian Open: The homefield advantage
There are three Canadians playing this week who have already won PGA Tour events this season – Corey Conners, Adam Svensson, and Mackenzie Hughes. Conners is easily the go-to guy here and while the others do provide some better-priced upside, it’s Conners who ranks 11th in GIR%. His putting is always the issue, but if he can rally some home-field momentum and put himself in strong scoring positions, we’ve all seen how great he can be when the flatstick gets hot.
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Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP