PGA Insights: RBC Canadian Open

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The Open Championship might have just ended this afternoon, but there is another tournament coming up fast. The PGA Tour is staying abroad for one more week, as the RBC Canadian Open, held at Glen Abbey in Ontario, Canada, is next on tap. The field for this one is not quite what you just had to sift through when setting your lineup for St. Andrews, which makes some of the top players seem like obvious choices. But all of these pros are good at golf, so you want to make sure you are not discounting any factors that could impact how this leaderboard ends up shaking out. Good luck.

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If you are reading this, I assume you like golf. And if you like golf, I assume you know what just happened at the Open Championship, one of the most exciting tournaments we’ve seen recently, with a crowded leaderboard as they came through the back nine on Monday afternoon with five players thinking they had a shot at the Claret Jug right up until the 18th green. But the key idea from that sentence: it was MONDAY afternoon. In Scotland. After all the delays, and the four-hole playoff, this was the single longest Open in the 144-year history of the tournament.

Jason Day is the most expensive option on the board this weekend, and after he played a masterful weekend-plus of golf (except for that 72nd green, I suppose), he seems primed to play well. He is playing well. And he is so good, it’s easy to think he will break through with a win at any moment. On the other hand, maybe you want to avoid him because you think the emotional distress of losing after coming sooo close is going to leave him rattled next weekend. But there could be another reason to avoid him.

The Canadian Open tees off something like 63 hours or so after Day walked off the 18th green this afternoon, seven time zones and more than 3,000 miles away. I know private jets are nice, but that is a tough turnaround. All ten of the most expensive options this weekend played at St. Andrews (plus some cheaper options), and you might want to check Wednesday night just to make sure they haven’t backed out. But even if they remain committed, you might want to be wary of spending the dough to get these guys into your lineups, for all the reasons you’d expect: a long trip West means they can’t really hope to arrive in Ontario any earlier than Tuesday, likely tired from jet lag and a grueling weekend of golf, and without a chance to get in as much practice as they’d like before their tee times on Thursday. That’s not to say they can’t compete – they’re the most expensive in the field for a reason – but it’s a lot to pay for someone you are just figuring will finish in the top-20 or so.

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Watson contemplating one hell of a lie. At least he’s a lefty.

Not to worry though – I am not telling you to avoid every top golfer this weekend. The second player on the list – Bubba Watson – missed the cut at St. Andrews, giving him plenty of time to get to Canada and get in his work. Snedeker, J.B. Holmes, and Charley Hoffman are all in the same boat – after missing the cut, they should be well-rested and prepared for this weekend. It might seem strange to be choosing a golfer for your lineup based on the fact that he missed the cut the previous weekend, but every one of these players is good enough – and good enough recently – to bounce back from a bad performance in a big way (Bubba, for example, has a win and a T13 in his last two tournaments before the Open). If the other top players really do struggle to put it together on short rest, then it might actually increase this group’s odds of finishing atop the leaderboard.

Good luck!

[NOTE: Golfer’s in the top ten this weekend who made the cut at St. Andrew’s: Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald, Ryan Palmer, Brooks Koepka).