This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
RBC Canadian Open
Course: Oakdale Golf and Country Club (7,264 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,620,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The Canadian Open was first played back in 1904 and is the third-oldest continuously run tournament on the PGA Tour after The Open Championship and the U.S. Open. Canada's National Open will be played at the 37th different course this week when 156 of the world's best players head to Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario for the first time. Glen Abbey has held the most Canadian Open's with 30 between 1977 and 2018. This event is expected to continue to rotate courses going forward with Oakdale being the fourth different course in as many tournaments. The Canadian Open will return to Hamilton Golf and Country Club for a seventh time in 2024, which most recently saw Rory McIlroy run away from the field by seven shots in 2019. After a two-year hiatus due to issues related to COVID-19, Rory McIlroy came back last year and was able to defend his title, this time at St. George's Golf and Country Club where his 258 strokes was the low aggregate total in Canadian Open history. McIlroy will be back looking to make it three straight wins in the same tournament for the first time since Steve Stricker who won the John Deere Classic from 2009-11. Viktor Hovland (Mayakoba), Sam Burns (Valspar), and K.H. Lee (Byron Nelson) all had the chance to do the same feat earlier this season.
The biggest question every year when we come to the RBC Canadian Open is can a Canadian break the streak. That of course is that no Canadian player has won this event since Pat Fletcher in 1954, and no Canadian-born golfer has won it since Karl Keffer in 1914. 2023 might be as good a year as ever with three Canadians having already won on the PGA Tour this season in Corey Conners, Adam Svensson, and Mackenzie Hughes, and two more in Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin are among the top 75 in the OWGR. One of the closest calls to breaking that streak came back in 2004 when Masters champion Mike Weir fell in a playoff to Vijay Singh at Glen Abbey. Weir received a sponsor exemption to tee it up this week and make his 31st start at the Canadian Open. Weir will also captain the International Team in the President's Cup in 2024 that will be held at Royal Montreal.
The will be 10 of the Top 30 in the OWGR tee it up at Oakdale this week including defending U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick. Speaking of the U.S. Open, this is the last competitive prep these players will get before the 123rd U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. There aren't very many course similarities, but there's no better way to prepare for a major than to get into contention the week before. The weather in Toronto looks pretty solid with temperatures most of the week in the mid-60's and likely no precipitation until potentially Sunday. There's a chance the winds get a little gustier on the weekend as well. The winning number has been at least 19-under-par in each of the last four editions of the Canadian Open and that is likely to be on par with what we see at Oakdale this week.
2022 - Rory McIlroy -19 (St. George's)
2021 - None
2020 - None
2019 - Rory McIlroy -22 (Hamilton)
2018 - Dustin Johnson -23 (Glen Abbey)
2017 - Jhonattan Vegas -21 (Glen Abbey)
2016 - Jhonattan Vegas -12 (Glen Abbey)
2015 - Jason Day -17 (Glen Abbey)
2014 - Tim Clark -17 (Royal Montreal)
2013 - Brandt Snedeker -16 (Glen Abbey)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- Driving Accuracy
- Par-4 Scoring
The tournament will be held on a composite routing of Oakdale's three different sets of nine holes. The front nine will use four holes from the "Thompson" course and five holes from the "Homenuik" course, while the back-nine will be the complete "Knudson" course. The big talking point this week will be the difference in the two nine's. The front-nine is over 300 yards longer than the back-nine and features a lot more elevation change. The back-nine has two par-5s and a number of short par-4s that players will be able to take advantage of. It will be about holding on during that front-nine and then going full attack on the back-nine, which could set up a very entertaining finish.
There can be a lot of flexibility in the tee boxes over the course of the week, but this par 72 is listed at 7,264 yards on the card. Length really shouldn't be a huge advantage with thick 4-to-5 inch rough and large trees lining most of the fairways. A number of the landing areas will also pinch in, so throttling back off some of the tees might be the move to give yourself a better chance of keeping it in the short grass.
Approach play should take precedent this week with a variety of different green sizes that feature some large amounts of undulation. We will see a lot of really tricky hole locations in an attempt to making the scoring more difficult. There aren't a ton of bunkers around these greens, but there are a number of large false fronts and can lead to really tough pitches off tight lies. Over greens is also going to be no bargain with thick rough in play and greens that run away.
With greens that are unfamiliar for most of the field, that should give an even bigger edge to the ball strikers. With only three par-3s and three par-5s on this par 72, I think par-4 scoring is probably going to be a pretty key stat, especially considering the variance with five par-4s under 400 yards and five over 460 yards.
FanDuel Value Picks
Tyrrell Hatton ($11,800)
I've been really high on Hatton for a few months now and I think this could be a great place for him to get that long-awaited second PGA Tour victory. Hatton has finished top-20 in nine of his 14 PGA Tour starts this season and remains third behind Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm and SG: Total per round at 2.03. Hatton is going to find a lot of fairways, is an excellent wedge player, can get it up-and-down from anywhere and has great touch on the greens.
Justin Rose ($11,100)
Rose was a little inconsistent over the last few years, but he has really turned it around at age 42. He finished top-25 in five of his last six starts and notched a win at Pebble Beach to boot. Rose is now up to 12th in SG: Total and sixth in scoring average. The key around Oakdale will be finding fairways and greens, something Rose has always had great success at throughout his career. Now he also ranks second in sand save percentage and 21st in putts per hole.
Shane Lowry ($10,900)
Lowry is coming off his second straight top-20 finish at the Memorial after a couple poor showings. I really am optimistic about his chances at Oakdale considering how good he has bee from tee-to-green. Lowry ranks seventh in total driving, 14th in SG: Approach, 15th in proximity to the hole and 16th in SG: Tee-to-Green. The reason he sits 88th in the FedExCup Standings mostly has to do with his putting, but unfamiliar greens for everyone should work to his benefit.
Corey Conners ($10,800)
I was actually a little surprised to see Conners check in at under $11K this week considering his precision tee-to-green game and his familiarity with the area. The 31-year-old has racked up top-20 finishes in four of his last seven events, including that win at the Valero Texas Open. Conners ranks top-25 in SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green and GIR percentage this season. This is basically a fifth major for the Canadian and he will have a lot of support on his side.
Longer Shots with Value
Michael Kim ($9,300)
Kim has definitely been on the rise of late, with top-30 finishes in six of his last nine starts and three of those being top-7 results. Kim ranks 29th in par-4 scoring, 52nd in total driving, 37th in GIR percentage and 52nd in scrambling this season, all of which should be important stats on this golf course. The putter hasn't come along for the ride like the ball striking has, but these greens will be a new challenge for everyone to figure out.
Mark Hubbard ($9,100)
Hubbard came into the Memorial with a lot of momentum after a tough start to the year. He finished T11 at Hilton Head, T18 in Mexico and T9 at Colonial. Hubbard came into the final round at Muirfield Village just one back of the lead before fading with a tough 79. I expect Hubbard to bounce back at Oakdale. His ball striking is trending up and he is now 51st in SG: Total.
Ben Martin ($8,600)
Martin has struggled a bit over his last couple starts, but we aren't far removed from his notching four top-15s in a six tournament stretch. Martin has the ideal profile for success around Oakdale at 38th in driving accuracy, 15th in SG: Approach and 24th in GIR percentage. He also makes a lot of birdies for someone in this range at 4.07 per round, good enough for 22nd on Tour. Martin's strength is the par-4s, where he ranks fourth in Birdie or Better Percentage.
Carson Young ($8,500)
Young started his rookie campaign with missed cuts in 9 of the first 11 events. He seems like he has found his footing on the PGA Tour now, however, with top-25 finishes in four of his last five individual events. Young has the driven the ball much better over the last few months and found himself ninth in SG: Putting in his last start at Colonial and second in scrambling the start before that at the Byron Nelson. His par-4 scoring average of 4.01 is a very solid 58th on Tour.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
With U.S. Open final qualifying taking place on Monday, many of the players who were able to notch a spot into Los Angeles Country Club have elected to withdraw from the RBC Canadian Open to rest. The majority of those players are in the $8K-$10K range, which will likely lead to some increased ownership amongst some of the hotter players in that range. Cameron Young ($11,300) is the only real big name player I would shy away from this week because he has now fallen to 72nd in SG: Total this season and has gone T51-T59-MC-MC over his last four starts. Dylan Wu ($8,400), Aaron Cockerill ($8,200), and Andrew Novak ($7,600) are some other value plays I like not mentioned above. A brand new course that we've never seen before is always a little tricky to play, but quality ball striking is going to be rewarded everywhere.
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