This will be the first year that the RBC Canadian Open has been played since 2019. Its spot on the schedule last year was filled by the one-off Palmetto Championship, but the Canadian Open regains its usual place on the schedule this year, directly prior to the US Open, which will be played next week.
With such a big event on the horizon, many of the top players in the world have chosen to come up North and play in this event with five of the world’s top 10 golfers in attendance. The winners of the first two majors of 2022, Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas are both in attendance, as is world No. 7 Rory McIlroy, who won this event by seven strokes in 2019. Since it’s the Canadian Open some Canadian-born players have gained exemptions into the event, so names (who are not current PGA TOUR card holders) like Jared du Toit and David Hearn are on the start list. So far the biggest name to withdraw on Monday is Luke List (who recently qualified for the US Open).
The field this week will max out around 156 players and feature the regular cutline after Friday, meaning only the top 65 and ties will get to play the weekend.
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St. George’s G&CC—Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Par 70, 7,014 yards, Greens: Bentgrass
This will be the first time we have seen St. George’s G&CC on the PGA TOUR since 2010. The venue has hosted the Canadian Open multiple times but most of those appearances came before 1970. The winner in 2010 at this venue was Carl Pettersson who shot a 60 in round three on his way to the win. Pettersson ranked 137th in driving distance in the 2010 season but was also third in strokes gained putting on the year, which tells us a little something about how this venue will play.
Distance off the tee at St. George’s likely won’t be a huge factor. Even on holes where players are able to smash driver most of the field will be hitting their approaches from inside 150 yards. The venue is also heavily tree-lined with lots of tight driving fairways on the longer par 4’s and par 5’s. Clubbing down off the tee will almost certainly be popular on many of these holes. The venue is also a Stanley Thompson design who created most of his golf courses to challenge players on approach. St. George’s certainly feels like a venue where iron play will reign supreme and those with great proximity stats will have tons of short birdie looks throughout their round.
The venue shapes up a little differently than a regular par 70 too with three par 5’s and five par 3’s. The par 5’s all have narrow fairways but should be easily reachable in two by most of the pros who could even think about using three-woods off the tee. There are some longer par 4’s on the course, but the players should eat up the shorter ones which don’t have many doglegs attached to them. Ultimately the routing of St. George’s is pretty straight forward and its main defense will come from its green structures which are small and narrow, and well protected by larger bunkers.
Short games and approach stats will almost certainly be what you want to emphasize this week but if the venue starts to get too wet (there is rain in the forecast) this could even take away from the natural defense of the greens. Long story short, expect the players to eat up this shorter course throughout the course of the week and target players who are trending well in birdie opportunities, short iron proximity and putting.
2022 outlook: The weather this week doesn't look terrible but its not ideal necessarily either as a colder spring in Canada means highs won't be tapping much above 70 degrees. There is also some rain in the forecast earlier in the week so players could be seeing a wet course and there is also rain likely for Thursday morning. You don't necessarily have to fade the AM wave on Thursday if the rain holds up, but PM players on the opening round could have the benefit of playing the same receptive course in better conditions. The rest of the week looks mostly non-descript with winds staying relatively low for all four rounds. Expect the course to firm up for the weekend but for the first two rounds to (potentially) be really low scoring with wetter greens.
Last 5 winners
*2019 — Rory McIlroy (-22 over Webb Simpson -15)
*2018 — Dustin Johnson (-23 over Byeong Hun-An -20)
*2017 — Jhonattan Vegas (-21 over Charley Hoffman - playoff)
*2016 — Jhonattan Vegas (-12 over multiple players -11)
*2015 — Jason Day (-17 over Bubba Watson -16)
*Played at Hamilton Country Club or Glen Abbey, the last time the Canadian Open was played at St. George’s G&CC was 2010.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2019 Winner: Rory McIlroy (22-under par)
2019 lead-in form (MC-T21-T8-T8-win)
- The last time this event was played was in 2019 and hosted by Hamilton Golf and Country Club. The event that season did take place directly prior to the US Open, just like this year, so we can still look at things like lead up form as an indicator
- McIlroy was coming off a missed cut at the Memorial in 2019 and it’s likely a good reminder to not necessarily fade all the competitors who let us down at Muirfield last week. The venue this week will play extremely different (e.g. easier) and those who didn't have to battle on the weekend at Muirfield will certainly be better rested.
- Hamilton G&CC also played as a shorter par 70 with bentgrass greens so there will be some similarities to this weeks venue.
- St. George’s G&CC plays as a short par 70 but features five par 3’s and three par 5’s, meaning there are only 10 par 4’s on the course, a rarity for a par 70 layout
- From a layout perspective, there is nothing overly difficult about St. George’s. It does feature tight fairways, smaller greens and older trees but there isn’t a ton of doglegs and players may be blasting tee shots close to the greens on the shorter par 4’s. The par 5’s are all shorter too and will likely yielded plenty of eagles
- Don’t expect off-the-tee stats to mean a ton this week and look to those trending well with approaches, as we have some rain in the forecast and proximity (e.g. hitting it close) will likely matter more than around-the-green play.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
1. Rory McIlroy ($10,500; T15-T8): Last week didn’t end great for McIlroy, and he’s still searching for a win in 2022. However, he did add another top-20 finish to his resume. McIlroy has now finished in the top 20 in six of his last eight starts and leads the field in SG: Tee to Green stats over the last 24 rounds.
2. Sam Burns ($10,000; win-T20): Burns took last week off, but grabbed his second win of the year at the Charles Schwab Challenge two weeks ago. He also finished a solid T20 at the PGA Championship and has been in great form since March.
3. Scottie Scheffler ($11,100; 2nd-MC-T15): Scheffler couldn’t hold on for his fifth win of the year at Colonial two weeks ago, but the American hasn’t really cooled much either. He remains the highest priced golfer in the field for good reason.
4. Cameron Smith ($10,300; T13-T13): Smith has looked extremely close to grabbing his third win of the year over his last couple of starts. He gained over 11 strokes on approach at the PGA Championship and was in second heading into the final round last week. The setup at St. George’s should favor him.
Editor’s Note: Pat Perez has withdrawn from the RBC Canadian Open.
5. Pat Perez ($7,600; T3-T2-T3): In the last spot, how about a little shout out to giant shoe collector and veteran Pat Perez. He’s now made nine of his last 10 cuts on the PGA TOUR and has gained over 1.5 strokes on approach in three of his last four starts.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Start with the safety of Smith and Pan
Both Cam Smith ($10,300) and C.T Pan ($8,100) make for good targets this week simply because of the setup. The shorter course takes away their disadvantage of not being bombers off the tee and both men have been trending extremely well on approach. Smith is tops in the field in 100-125 yards in proximity over the last 24 rounds and has looked very in tune over his last two events — outside of some poor play last Sunday. The setup also favors Pan who is up to sixth in SG: Approach over the last 24 rounds and has made nine of his last 10 cuts on the PGA TOUR. Corey Conners ($9,600) and David Lipsky ($7,300) are a couple of other players who make for good targets in this format at different salary levels.
Tournaments: Fitzpatrick and Reed high-end putters who could connect
Editor’s Note: Patrick Reed has withdrawn from the RBC Canadian Open.
Both Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,900) and
Patrick Reed ($8,900) let fantasy managers down last week with poor finishes, especially Fitzpatrick who failed to make the cut. Both look like solid bounce-back targets, though, on a much easier setup where their putting could carry them to low scores. I mentioned Fitzpatrick below as a main target this week and he did play well everywhere except on the greens at Memorial, but Reed is another player we could potentially forgive. His ball-striking was improving prior to Memorial and he putted unusually bad for him at Muirfield. If one or both aspects of his game bounce back, a much higher finish should be in store this week. Stephan Jaeger ($7,300), Adam Svensson ($7,100) and Wyndham Clark ($6,900) are all lower-range GPP targets this week as well.
MY PICK: Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,900)
Matthew Fitzpatrick missed the cut last week, but that may actually be a good thing for his chances in Canada. The Englishman’s last two wins on the DP World Tour came directly after or within two starts of a prior missed cut and he’s bounced back twice already on the PGA TOUR this season, with top-five finishes after missing the cut the week prior. Fitzpatrick seems to set up ideally for this shorter tests as he’s an elite putter who ranks the top 40 in driving accuracy and has now gained strokes on approach in 10 straight starts.
While Fitzpatrick's approach play sometimes can let him down, this easier style setup won't necessarily challenge players with a ton of tougher shots. He’s also shown that while he can hold his own on longer tracks, shorter courses are where he’s more likely to break out. It’s worth noting that he’s posted multiple Omega European Masters wins on a similarly styled classic venue in Switzerland, the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, which is shorter in nature and often sees very low scoring every season as well. Fitzpatrick is overdue for a breakout win, and with last weekend off, he should come out of the gates fast in what is expected to be a lower scoring affair.
MY SLEEPER: David Lipsky ($7,300)
Lipsky is another former winner of the Omega European Masters and a golfer who should set up extremely well for this weeks shorter par 70. The American has been trending well of late, making the cut in four of his last five starts, while two top-10 finishes over his last seven starts, as well. While he’s been holding his own on tougher golf courses, Lipsky’s lack of length off the tee (149th in driving distance) won’t be much of a factor this week, but his accuracy and consistency on approach should be.
Lipsky comes in ranked third in approaches from 100-125 yards and is also 23rd in SG: Approach over that same span. Easier setups in Mexico and Corales, where scoring reached 17-under par or better, have been where he’s had his best success on the PGA TOUR, and that’s the kind of scoring we are likely to see this week as well. He sets up as a solid potential value for daily fantasy golf lineups and a good top 20 target at +300 on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
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