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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 RBC Canadian Open

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After an exciting week in Scotland, it’s off to Oakville, Ontario for the RBC Canadian Open. Despite the unfortunate slot on the calendar, a quality field has been assembled this week for this event. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson will no doubt be the main attraction at Glen Abbey as he looks to claim a title that he has come so close to winning in the past. Big names like Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson and Tommy Fleetwood are all in the field too, which should make for an exciting week in Canada.

After the difficulty of Carnoustie last week, Glen Abbey will play entirely different, and you can expect much lower scores. It’s a par-72 measuring over 7,200 yards, and length off the tee will hold a significant advantage this week. One of the reasons for this is the four par-5’s. each of which will be reachable for the longer hitters. There is plenty of room off the tee as well, which will give an even greater advantage to good drivers of the ball. Strokes Gained-Off the Tee and Birdie-or-Better Percentage will be key areas to focus on this week.

Last year, Jhonattan Vegas retained his Canadian Open crown when he defeated Charley Hoffman in a playoff after both men had posted a total of 21-under par.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Dustin Johnson 13/2
  • Brooks Koepka 11/1
  • Tony Finau 16/1
  • Tommy Fleetwood 16/1
  • Bubba Watson 22/1
  • Charley Hoffman 25/1
  • Matt Kuchar 25/1

His high salary and skinny betting odds are sure to turn some people off this week, but Dustin Johnson (7/1, DK Price $11,700) is the man to be on. Johnson has been knocking on the door at Glen Abbey for some time. The World No. 1 has twice finished runner-up here in the past, and last year he finished T8.

Johnson missed the cut last week at The Open Championship, which was his first missed cut on the PGA Tour in over a year. It was one of those weeks for the American, as every putt seemed to graze the hole. He also played the 18th hole dreadfully, dropping five strokes on the finishing hole in two rounds. Johnson may well be able to take his frustration out on Glen Abbey this week, where he has a scoring average of 68.58 over his previous 12 rounds.

Johnson’s play all year has been excellent, and it’s no surprise that over his previous 24 rounds he leads this week’s field in both Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and Strokes Gained-Total. The American is also ranked seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting over the same period. With the number of birdie chances he’s bound to give himself this week, it’s that excellent putting that could well give him the victory this week. Johnson is also No. 1 in the field for Birdie or Better Percentage on par-5’s, and with four gettable par-5’s in play this week, he should be able to take advantage and score heavily. Johnson is the rightful favorite here this week, and I’m taking him to put on an imperious display and finally win the Canadian Open.

Another man with excellent form at Glen Abbey is Charley Hoffman (25/1, DK Price $8,700). Hoffman has finished in the top-20 in his last three visits to Glen Abbey, and last year he came so close to capturing the title before succumbing to Jhonattan Vegas in a playoff. Hoffman will probably feel he should have taken the title, and recent signs are that he may be coming into form at just the right time to launch another attack on this championship.

Hoffman has been showing a resurgence with his game as of late, and he has now recorded four consecutive top-20 finishes worldwide heading into this event. Much of this has to do with the way in which he has been playing the par-4’s. Over his previous 12 rounds, Hoffman ranks fifth in this field for performance on par 4’s. Hoffman is also ranked fifth in this field for Birdies or Better Gained at Glen Abbey over his last 12 rounds, and he has always played the Par 5’s excellently at this event, ranking third in this field for Par-5 Performance over the same period. At $8,700, Hoffman looks tremendous value at a golf course he has always played well.

Keith Mitchell (100/1, DK Price $7,400) comes into this event having recorded a top-10 finish at the John Deere Classic. It was a performance where Mitchell dominated off the tee, and he led the field that week in Strokes Gained-Off the Tee, gaining a massive 5.3 strokes in that department. It’s an aspect that I believe will be of great importance this week, and Mitchell has shown that he can utilize these attributes to compete at Glen Abbey.

Over his previous 12 rounds, Mitchell sits 10th in this field for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and 18th for Ball Striking. Mitchell has been able to use his excellent play off the tee this season to score on par-5’s, and the American sits 15th in Par-5 Performance over his last 24 rounds. Coming off one of his best performances tee-to-green at the John Deere Classic, it’s worth taking a chance on Mitchell this week on a golf course that should suit his game.

Recommended Plays

  • Dustin Johnson 7/1, DK Price $11,700
  • Charley Hoffman 25/1, DK Price $8,700
  • Keith Mitchell 100/1, DK Price $7,400
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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. JR

    Jul 26, 2018 at 3:45 am

    And here’s why you shouldn’t back DJ – 13/2 in a field of over 100. Agree on Hoffman, Koepke and Finau though. My best outsider is Abraham Ancer at 150/1.

    • Fin

      Jul 29, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Ya missed out JR! Close miss on Ancer all the same.

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Opinion & Analysis

This stat indicates Tiger Woods will win major 15 in 2019

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For Tiger Woods’ fans, it’s been over 10 years waiting for his 15th major victory. Even with PGA Tour win No. 80, plenty are already looking ahead to next year’s major.

Looking into Tiger’s performance at the majors in 2018, and more recently the PGA Championship, there’s exciting news for his fans. Tiger briefly held the lead at this year’s Open Championship, only to finish in a tie for sixth. But, it’s his performance at the PGA Championship, when he stormed home for second place thanks to a final round 64, and the recent statistics behind that tournament, that will get his legion of supporters brimming with confidence.

Going back to 2015, strong performances at the PGA Championship have proven to be a great form line for the following year’s major winners. In fact, if you go back further into the records, it extends for several years prior as well. Let’s take a look at recent PGA Championship results and the players that emerged from those performances that lead to major victory the next year.

The 2017 PGA Championship was one of the strongest forms lines in recent years. Justin Thomas won the tournament by two shots, but Patrick Reed, and Francisco Molinari tied for second. Reed went on to win this year’s Masters and Molinari won the Open Championship to capture their first major championships.

At the 2016 PGA Championship, Jimmy Walker surprised the field with victory, but an emerging talent in Brooks Koepka finished tied for fourth and would go on to secure his 1st major in 2017 by winning the U.S. Open. Interesting, Patrick Reed and Francisco Molinari were also just outside the top-10.

The 2015 PGA Championship was won by Jason Day, but current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson finished tied for seventh. Dustin went on to win his first major, the U.S. Open, the following year at the Oakmont Country Club. Also worth noting: Jordan Spieth finished second to Jason Day and went close to winning the Masters the next year only to finish in second place.

Fast forward to this year’s PGA Championship where Tiger finished second behind Brooks Koepka. Is it a sign that his 10-year major drought could end in 2019? And don’t forget, if Tiger has a great chance in 2019, then surely players that finished around him in that tournament, such as Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland, must have high hopes for 2019 too?

All this is true and only time will tell if the tournament form line stacks up.

Anyway you look at the 2018 PGA Championship results, it’s a great form line for 2019, and Tiger could well be in the mix in the big ones next year. With his body coping well with the rigors of the tough PGA Tour circuit, Tiger Woods’ fans can be feeling good about his chances for the 2019 season.

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member JimGantz, who takes us to Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio. Just 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Boulder Creek features over 100 feet of elevation changes, and when you look at the photos of the course, it’s easy to see why this track landed in our hidden gem thread. JimGantz gives us a concise description of the course, praising it for its nice blend of different hole types.

“Conditions are always top notch. Fluffy bunkers, thick-ish rough.  Staff are super friendly. Good mix of long and short holes which is something I like. I’m not a huge fan of playing a course where every par 3 is over 200yds. This track mixes it up.”

According to Boulder Creek Golf Club’s website, 18 holes with a cart from Monday-Thursday will set you back $40, while to play on the weekend costs $50. Seniors can play the course for as little as $25 during the week.

@BoulderCreekOH

@amgolferblog

@troymezz

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Flightscope’s Alex Trujillo on why all golfers need shot data technology

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In this episode of the GearDive, Johnny chats with Alex Trujillo Sr. Sales Manager for Flightscope about understanding data, how information can make sense to your average golfer, why everyone should utilize data, and the downside of too much data.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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