Expert Picks for RBC Canadian Open
This week, a moderately strong field of PGA Tour players will head north for the RBC Canadian Open. The venue for this event has rotated over the years, so performances and trends from this season trump tournament history. The site this time around, Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, British Columbia last hosted the Canadian Open in 2005 (which Mark Calcavecchia won nearly wire-to-wire). Even though this event started back in 1904, only four different Canadians have won the event a total of seven times, the most recent being Pat Fletcherin 1954.
After banging out seven consecutive top-10s on Tour, Donald has stumbled a bit in his last two events. The World No. 1 player finished T45 at the U.S. Open and missed the cut at The Open Championship. Regardless, Donald is a top-five performer in scoring average, strokes gained, putting and birdie average. The last time Donald missed a cut -- at the Northern Trust Open back in February -- he came back and won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. You simply can't keep this man down.
Despite missing the cut at The Open Championship, Kuchar is typically among the safest players in the field. In fact, this was his first missed cut since April of last year. In 2005, Kuchar finished T14 at Shaughnessy prior to earning a share of fourth-place last year when this event was played at St. George's Golf and Country Club. Kuchar currently rests third in All-Around Ranking, the highest among this week's field.
Despite being his first start in the Canadian Open, Schwartzel is among the top options this week. He won the Masters back in April, picked up a top-10 at the U.S. Open and is coming off a T16 at The Open Championship. The South African is currently seventh on Tour in scoring average and warrants a spot in nearly every format.
After missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Fowler has rebounded in a big way. He entered Sunday with the lead at the AT&T National, but dropped to T13 and is now coming off a season-best T5 finish at The Open Championship. This will be Fowler's first career start in the Canadian Open, but his fourth-place ranking in birdie average should play just fine.
Ryan Moore - World Ranking: #45
While not a standout in any major statistics this season, Moore finished with a share of second at Shaughnessy in 2005. Last month, he recorded another split for the runner-up spot at the Travelers Championship and just finished T28 at The Open Championship. Moore has only missed one cut all season and looks like a safe bet given his success at this venue.
Since finishing third at the Crowne Plaza, Van Pelt went four straight events with a top-15 finish until finishing T57 last week at the British Open. On Tour, BVP sits fifth in total driving and 10th All-Around Ranking. Van Pelt clearly has the skills and the consistency to put together yet another solid finish.
After a fairly strong start to the season, Mahan has cooled off in recent weeks. He missed the cut in both the U.S. and British Open events while finishing no better than 30th in the two tournaments he played in between. Still, Mahan's overall statistics are too impressive to overlook. He currently sits fifth or better in birdie average, greens in regulation and All-Around Ranking.
It has been a mixed bag on Tour for Oosthuizen. After a pair of top-20s at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Shell Houston Open, the South African missed two cuts before recording a top-10 at the U.S. Open. Since then, he struggled against a weak field at the John Deere to miss another cut and is coming off a T54 at The Open Championship. Despite his up-and-down performances, Oosthuizen is still an attractive sleeper pick.
His history in this tournament is pretty terrible, but Gay could certainly get things turned around in a hurry. On Tour, he ranks second in driving accuracy percentage, 12th in strokes gained (putting) and 15th in scoring average. In addition, he's coming off a top-10 at the John Deere. Gay missed the cut here in 2005, but should find a far more comfortable position on the leaderboard this weekend.
In his first and only Canadian Open start to date, Glover finished T28 at Shaughnessy in 2005. He began the weekend in possession of second place only to misfire with a pair of 4-over rounds of 74 and was quickly out of contention. This season, Glover picked up a win at the Wells Fargo Championship and enters with his best result since -- T12 at The Open Championship. He ranks seventh in strokes gained (putting) and has already shown he's capable of starting things off strong on this course.
Brandt Snedeker - World Ranking: #32 - Not Entered
Despite being one of the best putters in the game, Snedeker has been something of a boom-or-bust player this season. In 18 events, he has missed eight cuts with eight other finishes of 16th or better, including one victory. Snedeker missed the cut in this tournament a year ago, but finished T5 in 2009 and T7 in 2007.
A year ago, Molder finished T4 in the Canadian Open after scoring a T16 result in 2009. Over his last three starts of this season, he's scored two top-10s and currently ranks sixth in strokes gained (putting). While Molder finished a disappointing T30 at the John Deere (a place where top putters typically excel), he should recover this week.