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RBC Canadian Open Preview

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Perhaps I’m not the right person to shepherd you through the endless hype leading up to this week’s RBC America’s Hat Open. I was despondent for most of the afternoon/evening yesterday – at one point between 3 & 4pm I may have blacked out at my desk. I woke up this morning ready to turn the page on Zed-J’s triumph, and attack the day. Got to the office early, settled in with a double-double, and efforted a herculean AM session with the intention of making up for Monday’s astonishing lack of productivity. Shortly before lunch PGATour.com beckoned me, at which point a barrage of Mr. Matt “Lacks Pop/Can’t Play” Kuchar promos for this week’s event hit me in the face (if you can’t tell, I’m non-plussed by the guy). Needless to say, the browsing session ceased and I punted on a preview. Then I realized that with Soly settling back in over in Amsterdam after a week plus spent between DC and Scotland, Neil settling into a new job, and Big Randy on vacation, a preview probably wouldn’t materialize and we’d be doing Canada up dirty for the second year in a row. This was the only non-silly season event we didn’t do a preview for last year and I did a preview for the damn Barbasol Championship last week for Godsake. Alas…

Course

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The Canadian Open is actually a pretty interesting event, dating back to 1904 and boasting an honourable list of champs (Hagen, Armour, Snead, Palmer, Casper, Trevino, Weiskopf, Price, Norman, Furyk, Cat – most of whom won it multiple times). It may not be my favourite event on the calendar, but I’ve got a soft-spot for national opens, whether it be the obvious ones or the Mexican Open (did you know Stew Cink is a two-time champ or that Tommy Armour III prevailed against the field AND temptation in Tijuana?); they mean something.  The event is on a quasi-rota at this point between about six courses around the country with seemingly no rhyme or reason to the cycle. This year’s site, Glen Abbey (6,650 metres), is the de facto home-base. Glen Abbey is a quality Nicklaus track (quality perhaps owing to the fact that it was his first solo design and he actually worked on it himself) and offers a pretty stunning series of holes (11-15) on the back nine that run through a valley . It’s a shotmaker’s course – control is more important than distance and this is Canada, land of shitty weather and comically high VAT taxes, so quick greens aren’t the course’s main defence. Ballstrikers roam the Glen Abbey realm: Cat, Norman, Price (twice), Strange, Sutton, and “Hot Carl” Pettersson all prevailed here. Ballstriking and humourously short par fives, eh? Here’s the deets.

Vibe

I joke often about Canadians – it’s always in good fun and I have more license (as an honourary Canadian) than most to do so owing to the fact that Neil and I lived there for a couple years growing up (actually right down the road from the course this week in Oakville, a suburb west of Toronto). I fondly recall those halcyon days of Blue Jays games (and the heady cast of Robbie Alomar, Juan Guzman, Joe Carter, Paul Molitor, Carlos Delgado and company), street hockey during summer, tobogganing and skiing in a toque during the winter. Canadians are an immensely proud bunch, and for good reason. On the whole they’re clean, fiercely loyal (see: Weir, Mike), hearty, polite, respectful, well-educated, foist horrific musical acts upon us (looking at you Sarah McLachlan/Bieber/Bryan Adams) employ a corny sense of humour, own a proclivity for adding unnecessary letters to words, always willing to lend a favour to a neighbour, and buy their milk in bags (seriously). Politeness is the fibre of their being, and the fans will be queuing up in droves for their well deserved week as the centre of attention for the golf world. A great bunch, all of them (except you, Stephen Ames). Savour it up this week, lads.

Last Year

Tim Clark won. I don’t even remember this happening. He provided the hydro over the weekend to dethrone Furyk in his year of kerfuffles (keeping in mind that it was at a different venue last year).

2014 Candian Open

Here’s a link to the ’13 edition, held at Glen Abbey. Heavyweights in the cut.

Picks

Sergio bankrupted me last week, however here are a few of the betting favourites that I’ll have some Loonie on this week:

  • Ryan Palmer 30/1 – if for no other reason than he’s a good calibre ball striker and I enjoy rooting for him. He also played well at St. Andrews.
  • Scott Piercy 45/1 – won on cruise control last week in Alabama, one of the better tee to green performances I’ve seen in recent memory. Should be plenty left in the tank and he’s played well here before.
  • Scott Langley 100/1 – on his grind right now. Seems like he’s having a better year than he really is. Watched him play quite a bit over the past few weeks and he’s definitely focused. Course should suit him.

The oddsmaker’s favourites this week all come with caveats: there’s a shitload of pressure on DeLaet. Kuchar and Donald lack pop. Day is probably distraught. RBC has a stable and they all show up en masse here and at Harbour Town. I REALLY like Scott Piercy, regardless of the odds. Koepka in the field, 21/1 odds which I don’t love. Harman’s game sets up very nicely. John Peterson is close to putting it together if he can get the flatstick going even a little bit. I’m going to keep throwing a nominal amount on Curran at 250/1 until he breaks through. Other guys of note – not picks, just interesting stuff. Castro Monday-qualified – he’s showing signs of life. Ollie Schniederjans making his pro debut (get on board). Patrick Rodgers fresh off a week chilling at home in Indy – course should suit his game.

Fringe

  • Logistically it’s a nonstarter, but man it would be cool if the tournament could be played just once up at Cabot Links in Nova Scotia. Place looks and sounds dope.
  • Not trying to pour salt in the wound on the heels of his hiatus announcement, but Mike Weir’s biggest career regret has to be the playoff loss to Vijay at Glen Abbey in 2004. He played his last nine holes one over and watched Vijay birdie two of his last three to force a playoff. Weir then yipped a few short ones in the playoff to seal the deal. Devastating. Here’s the gamer.
  • #GolfTwitter’s Adam Stanley posted an aptly named piece about Canada’s standing in the game. My biggest takeaway was the astounding lack of young talent in the pipeline. Three of the five guys listed don’t even have full privileges on the Web.com tour. For a country with 35 million people that seems impossibly low, even considering the oft-shitty weather. Maybe they just don’t hit their stride until late (DeLaet, Weir, etc. support that notion).
  • Golf’s Greatest Rounds struck again this week – they trolled the Cat with a replay of his duel with Bob May at Valhalla in 2000. I’ve watched it no less than two dozen times over the years and it NEVER gets old. It got me so amped I had to go work out. And then the adrenaline yielded to sadness just as the two iron stingers yielded to release patterns. I then recalled this moment from a few months later.

  • There are a ton of great recaps and wrap-ups from the British Open. Among them:
  • Soly has the following to add from the Open Championship this past week:
    • As noted directly above, there are tons of other places where you can get a summary of the tournament. I want talk about the actual St. Andrews experience, and what it was like to be on the grounds for the 2015 Open Championship.
      • First of all, I want to thank Chad Coleman and the folks at Callaway for hooking me up with a place to stay, and a ticket to this truly once in a lifetime event.
      • Everything you’ve read and heard about St. Andrews as a town and the Old Course as a golf course are 100% accurate, but it really is something you have to see in person to fully grasp. What sticks out the most is the kindness of the Scottish people. Once they hear your American accent, they turn around and ask you about your trip, what you think of the town, the course, and whether or not you’re playing while you’re out there. The people love golf, and you never feel out of place or unwelcome anywhere you go.
      • Aside from it being an awesome atmosphere, both inside the ticketed areas and outside in the town, the viewing angles at St. Andrews are….. less than stellar. Attending an Open Championship here is still an incredible experience, but I learned quickly that I needed to manage my expectations on viewing a lot of golf. For some reason, when the course was built in the 1400’s, they didn’t think to have auditorium style viewing from all angles (I’m admittedly spoiled from attending the Memorial Tournament for most of my life). The true in and out routing makes it impossible to get to the left of any of the holes, and impossible to follow any players around. This isn’t even a complaint, rather more of an observation.

Enjoy the week. Come this time next week we’ll be ramping back up for the WGC.

About the Author

Tron Carter - NLU's resident curmudgeon, wannabe media critic, fashion crusader, and arbiter of all things "pop." Passionate proponent of taking driver off the deck. Native of Atlanta, now residing in Jacksonville Beach after two quick, but beneficial years in Boston. Other interests include history, infrastructure, wine, and Michael Bay's seminal masterpiece The Rock. Also doing business as "Todd Schuster." [email protected]

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  • Jesse

    Hate to be that guy but Petterson never won at Glen Abbey. Also, we like to keep the good music for ourselves and send the crap to the States – sorry about that. These previews are awesome – love the different approach you guys have been taking with these.

    • Nah, Jesse thanks for the heads up. Sometimes I get a little too antsy to work Hot Carl into the preview – always good to have some checks and balances. Appreciate the kind words – these previews are truly a labour (I may just keep the Queen’s english going throughout the remainder of the year) of love. Writing these last couple helped me decompress from my real job.

  • Phil R

    Yeah St Andrews is poor for viewing, if you’re with a group you have to keep skipping a hole or two. Try Birkdale in two years if you can, or St Georges is great – sand dunes everywhere. Sadly I can’t speak for Troon, Muirfield etc.

  • Rolly

    Only Stephen Ames considers Stephen Ames Canadian.

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