Winner’s Share – $1,026,000
Last week Rory McIlroy treated us to a majestic display of golf, which not only silenced his critics, but also edged the 25 year old further into the golfing elite – where only the likes of Woods and Nicklaus are talked about. We could be watching just the beginning of a very special career.
But over to Canada we go, to the Royal Montreal Golf Club which hosts the Canadian Open for the first time since 2001, where Scott Verplank won the 4th of his 5 career PGA titles.
Being the oldest club in North America and also hosting the 2007 Presidents Cup, you can begin to imagine the aura that surrounds the course. At 7,153 yards, it is one of the shorter tracks on the PGA roster. With the tight fairways and number of doglegs out there, accuracy will be crucial off the tee whilst the small greens mean there is extra importance on fairway positioning and pin proximity.
Steve Stricker and David Toms were two of the standout performers from the 2007 Presidents Cup which tells its own story considering their accuracy and putting prowess.
After looking through the yardages, you will also need someone with a very competent wedge game. Birdies are likely to flow so you need whoever you are backing to be confident with the short stick too!
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Jim Furyk (14/1 William Hill)
Now obviously Jim Furyk at 14’s is always a big gamble and slightly criminal, but we just felt too strongly about him to not go there.
He has an amazing history in Canada having won this tournament twice in 2006 and 2007. Although they were on different courses, it shows his liking for the country at least. What has impressed us the most about our most favourite unorthodox guru is how he has been playing not just recently but during the whole of 2014.
He hasn’t missed one cut, which is unusual for someone like Jimbo because of his swing and he has amassed 11 top 20s which includes 5 top 6 finishes. In fact barring a T51 at the Crowne Plaza he has not finished outside the top 20 since early March.
And how well did he play at The Open?! When he really gets us going as spectators is the moment he starts getting on a hot streak with the putter. His tee to green game is up there with the best, his scrambling and wedge play is outstanding, he just has the tendency to let himself down on the greens.
So, seeing him hole quite a few over the weekend – well, during the early part of his round on Saturday at least – was highly encouraging. He shot a marvelous 65 on Sunday proving he can go low when everything clicks into place and do not be surprised if he does the same again this week.
Especially when you consider he has played on this track during the 2007 Presidents Cup. He won half of his matches that week, so his prior knowledge gives him an advantage over the majority of the field.
David Hearn (60/1 Stan James)
It is always good to go into a tournament like this week with a homegrown player. It would be one of those stories that just makes sense and David Hearn certainly fits the bill here.
He has been playing well recently without properly knocking on the door as it were, apart from a superb T6 at The Players a few months back. That showed his potential in the best field possible, so we have no doubt that his golfing ability can compare to anyone.
Last week he finished T32, which is a superb finish at a major championship, and his tee to green performance was incredibly solid. Nearly 70% in both categories proves that and if he can replicate anything similar in front of his home crowd, who knows what he can achieve. He lies in the top 56 for all GIR stats below 175 yards, which shows how good he is with shorter irons and 29th driving accuracy, 51st GIR and 28th strokes gained putting make him an outrageous proposition.
KJ Choi (66/1 Various)
A wonderful servant to the game and an 8-time PGA Tour winner. KJ Choi is entering the twilight years of his career, but there is still plenty the South Korean has to offer.
Yes, he’s missed the cut in his last two outings, but that T2 at the Travelers on a similarly short, tight track gives us the confidence that he can replicate that sort of form over here to Canada. He was his usual self from tee to green, finding the putting surface for fun and we all know what he is capable of with is putter. To still be 25th for strokes gained putting is testament to his character with the short stick and that sort of form will be crucial for this week.
T13 at The Players also proves his worth on tougher courses and whilst this is by no means a difficult track, its tightness in places will bare no problems for someone of Choi’s ability.
He also played here during the 2007 Presidents Cup defeat to the Americans and did win his singles match against Mahan. He, like Furyk, will be one of the few players in the field with a bit of course experience.
Tim Clark (66/1 Coral)
There is no denying Tim Clark has had a disappointing season. Two top 10s all year is not the sort of golf you would expect from a winner of the Players. He has bags of ability, it is just putting it all together for him to shine.
Interestingly, his 4 finishes inside the top 21 have come on courses at 7,200 yards or below and obviously this week is another shorter track.
His lack of distance off the tee can obviously hinder him on lengthy courses but 3rd in driving accuracy, 1st GIR 75-100 yards, 62nd inside 75 yards, 37th 150-175 yards, 4th inside 100 yards and 13th inside 125 yards. Basically, he loves a shorter club and it all ties in together when you think of his performances on the smaller courses.
His last outing did result in an impressive T5 finish at the John Deere Classic, where he shot a 63 and 64 to set himself up for a winning chance on the Sunday. 67 was still an impressive final day score but proved to not be quite enough,
He finished T5 for GIR, T4 for driving accuracy but most interestingly 8th for putting average – often the club that lets him down. Put all that together here and we could be in for an outsider here!
Scott Brown (100/1 Stan James)
The 31-year-old has not had the worst 2014 with 4 top 5’s meaning he lies just outside the top 50 of the FedEx Cup standings.
It was his consistency at the John Deere Classic a couple of weeks ago that has drawn our attention to him. In his eventual T5 finish, which included a third round of 61, he ranked: T17 driving accuracy; 18th putting average and T18 GIR. If he can find fairways around Royal Montreal and putt like he has been, he will be a real threat. In season statistics, he ranks: T25 driving accuracy; T54 approaches from 125-150yards and 26th one-putt %.
Chad Campbell (100/1 Coral)
The 4-time PGA Tour winner has not won for 7 years now after once ranking in the top 10 in the world. For someone of his stature to have only recorded a top 3 finish once since 2009 is a real shame.
But this season, and in particular the last month or so, we have seen a lot of positive vibes coming out of the Campbell camp. After a T7 at the Travelers, he followed it up with a T13 at the John Deere and also shot a third round 62 in the process. He also ranked T7 GIR, all of which has taken our interest.
He ranks: T36 driving accuracy; T11 proximity to the hole; T14 approaches from 125-150 yards and 1st GIR. If he can get the putter going like he did for parts of the John Deere, we could see a rise from the dead not seen since the Undertaker in 2005.