Golf switches to north of the border for the historic RBC Canadian Open. For the first time in 30 years, it will take place in June, a week before the U.S. Open. With that change, the Canadian Open lured the current No. 1 and No. 2 golfers in the world: Brooks Koepka and defending champion Dustin Johnson.
With the Canadian Open now immediately preceding the U.S. Open, it’s almost guaranteed the fields will get stronger. In recent years the tournament came right after the British Open, which was less than desirable.
For the first time in seven years, the Canadian Open will be played at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, a par-70 course at 6,966 yards. It will mark the sixth time the course has hosted the Canadian Open, and the 100th anniversary of Hamilton’s inaugural.
Historically, the Canadian Open has some noted significance in other areas as well. In 1955, Arnold Palmer captured his first career PGA Tour win in this event. It’s also known as the one tournament Jack Nicklaus vainly attempted to annex but couldn’t. The Golden Bear finished second a total of seven times, so it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
In 1971, Lee Trevino captured the U.S. Open, Canadian Open and British Open—all in the space of three weeks. He was the only player to win those three national championships in the same year until Tiger Woods matched that feat in 2000. Woods, however, won those three in June, July and September, but he accomplished it nonetheless.
As for home players, no Canadian has won this tournament since Pat Fletcher in 1954, but a few players have come close in recent years, most notably in 2004 when Canadian Mike Weir lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh.
That being said, one Canadian entered in this week’s tournament, Corey Conners, should be looked at for each-way and long-shot win wagers. He captured the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio earlier this year and is a wonderful ball-striker, ranking first on the Tour in proximity to the hole. On any layout, that’s a nice advantage; as of now, he is at a nice price of +10000.
Other players I can easily see earning a win or a top-10 finish due to recent form or historic proof in this tournament include Jim Furyk (two-time Canadian Open winner at +5000), Erik van Rooyen, who is from South Africa and recently tied for eighth at the PGA Championship (+8000) and FedExCup points leader Matt Kuchar (+2000).
Kuchar comes off a missed cut at the Memorial and should be fresh. He rarely puts in two straight clunkers, and I’m considering him for all props and will ignore last week.
Dustin Johnson is low at +550 but could be the safest bet in the field. He now has 20 wins on Tour in his career, two of which came the week before the U.S. Open. Will this be a third?
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