The schedule changes made by the PGA Tour for the 2019 season make their presence felt again this week as the RBC Canadian Open claims it’s new place in the rotation. On top of a new date for the event, we are at a new course as well, as the Hamilton Golf and Country Club plays host to this year’s event. Glen Abbey Golf Course in Ontario had been the host of this event for the past four seasons, so using course history as part of your research this week will be of little importance.
The Canadian Open had solidified a spot in the PGA Tour schedule the week after the Open Championship in years past, making it difficult to assemble a strong field because of the amount of travel from Europe to Canada. This new spot in the schedule the week before the U.S. Open has led to a stronger field of early entries this week. In the past, the only big names that have shown up here have been those players that have sponsorship deals with RBC – most notably Dustin Johnson and Jason Day. This year brings a bigger, stronger field as we will see the likes of Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas, along with Johnson, as some of the best players in the world prepare for the season’s third major championship next week.
While Hamilton G&CC hasn’t hosted the Canadian Open in recent years this won’t be the first time it has hosted Canada’s national championship. The most recent Canadian Opens held here were in 2012 and 2006, with Scott Piercy and Jim Furyk being the winners in those respective years. Being a shorter par 70 course would tend to lend itself toward players like Piercy and Furyk – positional players with great control off the tee and precise approach games. It would appear that this would be a solid skill set to target this week.
As stated above, Hamilton G&CC is a 6.915 yard par 70 track that features two reachable par 5s, four par 3s (three of which measure 200 yards or longer) and 12 par 4s. Of those 12 par 4s, eight holes this week will measure between 400 and 450 yards in length, making that length of hole one to consider when doing your research. This course also features a risk/reward 318 yard par 4 at the 5th hole, which will be an opportunity for players to make up ground quickly with aggressive play or suffer a setback with less than optimal positioning off the tee.
The course designer here is Harry Colt, which may not seem important but the name is a familiar one in the golf course architecture world as he also designed the course at Muirfield Village (last week’s host of the The Memorial) as well as the course at Royal Portrush (this year’s Open Championship host site.) The course features smaller than average greens that have severe slopes. These slopes are so severe, that on some holes finding different hole positions for all four days of competition that are fair for the players is a challenge. Small poa greens will lead to more missed greens on slightly errant approach shots, making a players Around the Green game of the utmost importance at this course.
While course conditions are a little bit of an unknown this week because of the event being held a month earlier than normal, there is believed to be substantial rough everywhere – according to the course superintendent Rhod Trainor. The major defense for this course, however, will be dry conditions. If the weather does not cooperate, players will be able to take aim at this small greens and hunt flags all week – dry conditions will require players to judge roll out on the greens more carefully on their approach shots.
Stat of the Week
The lack of course history makes a deep stats dive a tough challenge this week, but using the information from 2012 could help us a little bit here. Of the 8,412 approach shots hit into the greens here in 2012, 2,526 of them came from 200 yards or more from the green (almost exactly 30%.) Choosing players that have proven to be good long iron players over their careers would be a great piece of data to use this week when constructing your DFS lineups.
I’m sure tournament officials would like to see a little more wind in the forecast to toughen up this golf course a bit more, but the early forecast looks like the dry conditions needed to challenge the players here will be on display. Otherwise, the conditions look absolutely perfect for a great event this week in Ontario.
Video of the Week
While the course might be different this week, it is impossible to forget about one of the greatest shots Tiger Woods ever played at the 2000 Canadian Open. Fairway bunker, over water, tucked pin…no problem!
As always, thank you very much for giving my article a glance this week as you prepare for the RBC Canadian Open. If you have any questions you would like to ask me about your lineup or about my article in general, join us on DPA Premium where you can get exclusive access to myself as well as the rest of our other experts for NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL. I’ll be available to answer questions about your lineups this week from 9PM to 11PM on Wednesday, June 5th.
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Hopefully we will see you back here tomorrow for my DFS breakdown of the RBC Canadian Open field on DraftKings and FanDuel. This premium content will help you build your lineups for success in both cash games and GPPs. Until then, get your maple syrup and hockey skates ready for the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals this week!