DraftKings PGA DFS Picks: RBC Canadian Open Cash and GPP Strategy

DraftKings PGA DFS Picks: RBC Canadian Open Cash and GPP Strategy

This article is part of our DraftKings PGA DFS Picks series.


Purse: $9M
Winner's Share: $1.62M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Toronto
Course: Oakdale Golf & Country Club
Yardage: 7,264
Par: 72
2022 champion: Rory McIlroy

Tournament Preview

The Canadian Open is the fourth oldest tournament in the world. It debuted in 1904 and this week, 119 years later, is introducing us to a new course. Oakdale Golf & Country Club has been around since 1926 -- a relative youngster in comparison to the tournament -- and could be the site of a history-making feat.

Rory McIlroy heads the 156-man field the week before the U.S. Open and is going for a rare three-peat. Even rarer, he's trying to do it on his third different course. On top of that, it would be over a five-year span. McIlroy won at Hamilton in 2019, then COVID forced cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Canadian Open, making McIlroy perhaps the longest-standing defending champion in golf history. He came back last year at St. George's and won again.

The world No. 3 will be joined by a surprisingly stout field given that the top golfers have been playing more this year than at any point since they joined the PGA Tour, and given it is the week before a major. Further, the major is three time zones away in Los Angeles. To be sure, the golfers won't be flying Spirit Air like we might, but there's still the issue of jet lag. Of course, that's of no concern to tournament organizers in Toronto.

Matt Fitzpatrick, one week before defending his U.S. Open title, will tee it up alongside a bunch of other RBC pitchmen -- um, pardon, they are called RBC *ambassadors* -- including Sam Burns, Cameron Young, Sahith Theegala, Matt Kuchar and a boatload of Canadians, led by Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, Adam Hadwin and Adam Svensson. There are also non-RBC golfers in the field, including a strong UK contingent in Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry.

Even more, there are some exciting youngsters of note to keep an eye on, or even put in your lineups:

Ludvig Aberg ($8,300): The world's No. 1-ranked amateur and Texas Tech star will make his pro debut. He just got his card for finishing first in the PGA Tour University standings. He had a top-25 at Bay Hill in March and then made the cut at the Valspar.
Michael Thorbjornsen ($7,600): The 2018 Junior Amateur champion and current Pac-12 Golfer of the Year at Stanford star notably played in last year's U.S. Open at Brookline (MC), then a week later finished fourth at the Travelers.
Sam Bennett ($6,900): The 2022 U.S. Amateur champion tied for 16th at the Masters, turned pro last week at the Memorial, made the cut and will be in the U.S. Open next week, after making the cut there last year. 

And, no, no, no, we haven't forgotten! We know, we know! Yes, Michael Block ($6,100) is back after a one-week hiatus, though presumably this will be the last time we'll see the 46-year-old club pro on the PGA Tour this season.

Now, on to the course. Oakdale Golf & Country Club features 27 holes (three nines) designed by noted Canadian architect Stanley Thompson and Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Robbie Robinson. Canada's Ian Andrew did a complete restoration a few years back, paving the way for Oakdale to play host this year and again in 2026 for its centennial anniversary. This week's 18 will be a hybrid of the three nines, though one of them named after former PGA Tour player George Knudson of Canada, will be used entirely.

Here's what we know about it: It is a tree-lined, parkland, classical course that is a par-72 but with a twist: There are only three par-3s and three par-5s. In watching a flyover and reading extensively about the course, it's clear that there are 1) a lot of trees, really a lot, 2) it is a second-shot golf course and 3) the characteristics running through the medium-size bentgrass greens are that they're elevated, tiered and sloped with many of them featuring false fronts. So the course could play a bit longer than its shortish scorecard length of 7,264 yards. The greens average 6,000 square feet and will run about 12 on the Stimpmeter. Water comes into play on seven holes.

Interestingly, the golfers will not see a par-3 hole until No. 9. By then, they will have faced probably the toughest stretch on the course. Nos. 3 through 6 are all long par-4s, with the shortest, the 463-yard fifth, perhaps the toughest hole t Oakdale. That stretch will be followed the course's longest hole, the 590-yard 7th, and then a 354-yard drivable par-4. That is one of five par-4s of less than 400 yards. There are also five of more than 450.

As for the weather, high temperatures will be within a few degrees of 70 every day. There is a chance of rain on Thursday and the weekend, though right now it doesn't seem like a big deal. And wind will be moderate. In other words, the conditions could really allow for a big birdie-fest this week.

Historical Canadian Open factoids: This will be the 112th playing of the Canadian Open. The only older tournaments in the world are the Open Championship, U.S. Open and the old Western Open -- now the BMW Championship. First played in 1904, it has been played every year except during World War I and II, and the recent pandemic. In 2000, Tiger Woods earned his ninth victory of the year and pulled off what is often considered the greatest shot of his career. Sitting in a fairway bunker on the par-5 18th at Glenn Abbey on Sunday, he sent a 6-iron 213 yards over water and birdied the hole for a one-stroke win over Grant Waite.

Key Stats to Winning at Oakdale

The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key Stats" follow in importance.

• Strokes Gained: Approach/Greens in Regulation
• Driving Accuracy/Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
• Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green/Scrambling
• Strokes Gained: Putting
• Par-4 Efficiency 350-400 yards and 450-500 yards
• Birdie Average/Birdie or Better Percentage

Past Champions

2019 - Rory McIlroy (St. George's)
2021 - None
2020 - None
2019 - Rory McIlroy (Hamilton)
2018 - Dustin Johnson (Glen Abbey)
2017 - Jhonattan Vegas (Glen Abbey)
2016 - Jhonattan Vegas (Glen Abbey)
2015 - Jason Day (Glen Abbey)
2014 - Tim Clark (Royal Montreal)
2013 - Brandt Snedeker (Glen Abbey)

Champion's Profile

We don't have much to go by, but we do know the types of golfers who profile well on shorter courses where accuracy is paramount. We don't want to go so far as to say driver will be left in the bag -- there are some long holes -- but shorter hitters surely are in play this week. Oakdale is a second-shot golf course and the greens seemingly will be tricky -- when the ball doesn't roll off the green, bringing a large element of short game into play. The over/under on the winning score as determined by golfodds.com is 270.5, or 17.5 strokes under par.


Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap

Tier 1 Values

Sam Burns - $10,500 (Winning odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook: +1400)
Burns can be very up and down. Lately, he's been up, with a tie for sixth at the Charles Schwab and for 16th at the Memorial. In a tournament where the winning score could be in the neighborhood of 20-under, give us a great putter. Burns is ranked ninth on the season in SG: Putting and is third in this field over the past 24 rounds.

Tyrrell Hatton - $10,200 (+1100) 
We were very high on Hatton last week. He was good but not great, tying for 12th, to continue a strong start to 2023. He hasn't quite been Scottie Scheffler-esque in his consistently high finishes, but over his past 12 starts, Hatton has four top-5s, five top-10s and eight top-20s. He is ranked in the top-20 of every strokes-gained stat for the season except Around-the-Green. Because he hasn't won, Hatton's quality season is a bit under the radar. But for the second straight week, he's No. 1 in our model.

Justin Rose - $9,700 (+1800) 
After winning at Pebble Beach, Rose stumbled with two straight missed cuts. Understandable. In his six starts since then, two top-10s and five top-25s. The big shortcoming for Rose right now is driving distance -- he's ranked 143rd -- something that will be mitigated this week.

Tommy Fleetwood - $9,600 (+2000) 
Don't expect Fleetwood to win because, you know, he doesn't win. But at this price, he doesn't have to. Before missing the cut at the Charles Schwab, he had made eight in row, with two top-5s and five top-20s. Fleetwood leads the Tour in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green.

Tier 2 Values 

Sahith Theegala - $9,200 (+3000) 
Theegala has not been great lately -- nothing better than T40 in his past three starts. But those were designated events and this one isn't. He's ranked top-35 on Tour in both SG: Around-the-Green and Putting, and he's 10th in birdie or better percentage.

Adam Svensson - $8,500 (+5000) 
With the Canadian players, including Svensson, the concern is whether they can handle the pressure of playing at home for the one time all year in their national championship. Svensson had missed the cut four of five times in this tournament until tying for 21st last year. And now he's a far better player, one who is ranked 19th on Tour in SG: Putting.

Ludvig Aberg - $8,300 (+5000) 
The field drops off very fast after the top guys, which is why Aberg is priced this high. And also because he's good. Playing at Texas Tech, the 23-year-old Swede earned his card by finishing first in the PGA Tour University rankings. He's played twice on Tour this season as an amateur, finishing in the top-25 at Bay Hill and making the cut at the Valspar.

Michael Kim - $8,000 (+6000) 
Kim recently finished seventh at the Wells Fargo, on a very long course, and sixth at the Charles Schwab, on a very short course. He's up to a career-best 133rd in the world rankings. Kim slotted at 18th in our model. He's one of the best putters in the field.

Tier 3 Values 

Eric Cole - $7,900 (+5000) 
After qualifying for next week's U.S. Open in the big Columbus, Ohio, qualifier on Monday, it's a little surprising Cole didn't pull out, as some other qualifiers did. That tells us he's concentrating on winning this week, not treating this tournament as just a tuneup for a major. Cole has finished top-25 in three of his past four starts, including the PGA Championship and the Memorial. Our model put him at No. 4 overall in this field based on recent play.

Brandon Wu - $7,500 (+11000) 
Wu has missed his past two cuts, but those were rugged fields at the PGA and the Memorial. Despite being only a mediocre putter, he is ranked 32nd on Tour in birdie or better. And over his past 24 rounds, Wu's putting is ranked 32nd in this field.

Mark Hubbard - $7,300 (+9000)
Hubbard sits at a career-best 102nd in the world rankings after making six straight cuts with three of them being top-20s. He is ranked first in the field in SG: Approach over his past 24 rounds. For the season, he's ranked 27th.

Dylan Wu - $7,000 (+13000)  
Wu made nine straight cuts before missing his past two. He's a better than average putter, but really good lately, ranking 22nd in this field over the past 24 rounds. For the season, he's ranked 27th in birdie or better percentage.

Long-Shot Values 

Austin Smotherman - $6,900 (+25000) 
Our model ranks Smotherman as one of the top plays in the $6,000s. It's because of his putter. He's ranked 92nd for the season, but seventh in this field over his past 24 rounds. Smotherman is coming off a tie for 21st at the Charles Schwab and, four weeks before that, he tied for fifth in Mexico.

Sam Bennett - $6,900 (+20000) 
Bennett finished tied for 16th at the Masters. He made the cut last week at the Memorial. Those are two huge accomplishments for a young player, or anyone. We're a little surprised there is such a disparity in both the prices and odds of Bennett and Aberg. Like Aberg, Bennett has also shown he can play on this big of a stage -- in fact, bigger ones than he'll be on this week.

Cody Gribble - $6,600 (+40000) 
Gribble was ranked around 900th in the OWGR when he began his current stretch of making six cuts in seven starts. Two of them were top-10s. He's now ranked in the 400s. Our model ranks him 40th in this field, thanks largely to getting the ball in the fairway and a good percentage of birdie or better.

Cameron Percy - $6,500 (+35000) 
We promise at least one pick at $6,500 or under every week. Ain't gonna lie -- this was a tough week to find one. How's that for an endorsement of Percy? But he had made four of five cuts before missing at the Byron Nelson. He's very accurate off the tee (34th in fairways hit) and a pretty good putter (ranked 43rd). That's a good combination to have this week.

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The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Len Hochberg plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DK: Bunker Mentality.
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Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for many years. He was named 2020 "DFS Writer of the Year" by the FSWA and was nominated for the same award in 2019.
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