RBC Canadian Open Betting Preview

Scott Piercy (Courtesy Keith Allison)

Scott Piercy (Courtesy Keith Allison)

One week after the Open Championship, a loaded field has assembled in Canada for one of the PGA Tour’s oldest and most respected events. Scott Piercy will defend his title, as Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario plays host to the 2013 RBC Canadian Open.
2013 Canadian Open Fact Sheet

  • Course: Glen Abbey
  • Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • Yardage: 7,253 yards, par 72
  • Defending Champion: Scott Piercy
  • Five Consensus Favourites: Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel and Dustin Johnson

TV Schedule:

  • Thursday – 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
  • Sunday – 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)

Key Storyline This Week
The Canadian Open is one of the more interesting stops on the PGA Tour every year, with a rich history and tradition that is rivaled by few events on any golf calendar, and is actually the third oldest tournament in professional golf behind only the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. Unfortunately, the tournament hasn’t been as celebrated in recent years due to some horrific scheduling on the part of the PGA Tour. When the FedEx Cup was created back in 2007, the schedule was flipped around and Golf Canada, who had already been lobbying for a different date on the calendar, ended up getting an even shorter end of the stick from the PGA Tour. The tournament was placed between the Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone, and with the PGA Championship after the Bridgestone, it’s been difficult for the tournament to attract big names.
Fortunately for the tournament, RBC has really stepped up their involvement in the game and has started to sponsor tons of high quality players, which has led to the high quality field in attendance this week. Of the five favourites listed above, only Johnson and Schwartzel aren’t sponsored by RBC, and they also have Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk on the roster, all of whom are playing at Glen Abbey.
Glen Abbey
If I asked you what course in the world had hosted the most national opens, you’d probably say the Old Course at St. Andrews and you’d be right, but Glen Abbey ranks in at number two with twenty six Canadian Opens held on the grounds. The stadium course style layout was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened for play in 1976, but it hasn’t always been the most popular of courses amongst the players. For what it’s worth, the players these days don’t seem to have as much of a problem with the design, but it certainly isn’t as popular as other courses in the rota.
The holes to watch are likely on the back nine. Holes 11-15 are known as the Valley Holes, with the 11th seeing players tee off from a massive cliff, while Sixteen Mile Creek is present on all five holes. The 18th, a par-5 that plays at 524 yards, is most famous for the 6-iron Tiger Woods hit from the bunker on Sunday, allowing him to win the tournament. To this day, it’s one of the best shots I’ve ever seen.
Thoughts On The Favourites

  • Brandt Snedeker: Tied for fifth at Glen Abbey back in 2009 and has been in good form the last couple of weeks, including a T11 at the Open Championship, despite a second round 79.
  • Hunter Mahan: Mahan usually plays well here, never missing a cut in his eight appearances. It’s his first time at Glen Abbey since 2004, but he did tie for 4th in that event, and he is coming off of a top-10 finish at the Open where he entered the day in the final pairing.
  • Matt Kuchar: The usually reliable Kuchar has been on a relatively poor run of form recently. Despite making three consecutive cuts since winning the Memorial, he hasn’t broken 70 in any of his twelve rounds played. Could be due to breakout of this, but did miss the cut here back in 2009.
  • Charl Schwartzel: Schwartzel has played in this tournament in each of the last two years, finishing in the to-10 back in 2011, but he’s never seen Glen Abbey. Three consecutive top-15 appearances at the Memorial, U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
  • Dustin Johnson: Johnson withdrew here in his lone appearance back in 2008, and it’s the same story with him as always. He should be a contender based on his skills, but his inconsistency makes him nearly impossible to trust, especially in a strong field. Won’t be surprised if he wins, and won’t be surprised if he misses the cut by six shots.

Suggested Plays
Luke Donald (Best Odds 25-1 at Coral)
You know, I thought there was no chance that Donald’s season could get any worse, but then he goes out and misses the cut at the Open Championship last week thanks to a first round 80. It’s the first time Donald has been in the 80’s since the final round at Pinehurst in the 2005 U.S. Open. He’s too good of a player not to get out of this funk, and if you’re giving me a price of 25-1, I’m going to take it. He’s finished inside the top-25 in this event in all three of his appearances.
Bubba Watson (Best Odds 28-1 at bet365)
Watson also hasn’t had the kind of year that was expected of him in 2013, but he’s still a huge threat. His only top-25 in the last two months was at the Travelers, but he also hasn’t had anything disastrous either, with his worst finish being a tie for 37th at the PLAYERS. He’s missed the cut both times he’s played at Glen Abbey, but that was when he was a much worse player than he is now. Good ball strikers always do well here, so I like his chances.
Graham DeLaet (Best Odds 35-1 at Coral)
DeLaet is definitely Canada’s best chance at winning this tournament, and if he were to do so, he’d be the first Canadian to win their national open since Pat Fletcher in 1954. He hasn’t had great success in this tournament previously, but he’s still playing better golf than most of the PGA Tour right now, despite his poor finish at Muirfield. Keep in mind that he currently sits number one on the tour in greens in regulation.
Camilo Villegas (Best Odds 115-1 at BETDAQ)
The results don’t look the best right now, but Villegas has been turning it around in recent weeks. He played well at the St. Jude finishing inside the top-10, was doing the same at the Travelers until a third round 75 killed his chances, and followed that up with a T16 at the AT&T. His last two starts saw him fade at the John Deere after an opening round 64, and after having to qualify for the Open, Muirfield ended his shot for making the cut with a second round 79. The last time he played here in 2009, he opened with a first round 63, and ended up tied for 24th. Things are trending upward for him, and I won’t be surprised to see him near the top of the board on Sunday.
Bud Cauley (Best Odds 142-1 at Betfair)
After a solid 2012, this was supposed to be the big breakout year for Cauley, and well, that hasn’t happened. His best finish so far is a T14 at the Crowne Plaza, but he’s played well in this tournament previously, with a T13 in 2011 and a T4 last year. Granted those tournaments were held on different courses, but I’ll take my chances at this kind of a number. He played well at the Open last week after qualifying, never breaking 70, but also not going above 75 either.

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