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PREVIEW: 2023 PGA Tour – RBC Canadian Open

Damien Kayat previews the 2023 edition of the RBC Canadian Open coming your way from teh Oakdale Golf and Country Club.

Rory McIlroy - CJ Cup
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Damien Kayat previews the 2023 edition of the RBC Canadian Open coming your way from teh Oakdale Golf and Country Club.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022/2023 US PGA Tour
RBC Canadian Open
Oakdale Golf and Country Club, Toronto, Ontario
8th-11th June

Viktor Hovland showed why he is one of the preeminent figures in world golf, holding off Denny McCarthy in a playoff to win his fourth US PGA Tour title (and his 1st in the Continental US).

It was especially sweet given the way he faltered in the final stretch of the US PGA Championship. Victory at Memorial should give him the impetus to once again threaten at next week’s US Open.

RBC Canadian Open

This week the tour moves to Canada for the 112th edition of their national open. In fact, this tournament dates back to 1904 and is the third-oldest national open. It was once a glittering event- known as the unofficial fifth Major of the tour.

But the tournament started to lose its magic when it immediately followed the Open Championship. In 2019, the event was moved forward in the schedule to the week preceding the US Open. This did improve the overall quality of recent fields.

But this week does feature a slightly deglamorised line-up. All the recent elevated events- such as last week’s trip to Muirfield- have led to a natural dip in some of these more niche events. In any event, Rory will be in town to try and accomplish a pretty rare threepeat.

Oakdale Golf and Country Club

This year’s event moves to a new venue: Oakdale Golf and Country Club. It’s never easy to draw conclusions without previous course history. But it does appear as if this course will correlate heavily with last year’s host venue: St George’s Golf and Country Club.

Both courses were designed by Stanley Thompson and both can be described as tree-lined, parkland ventures. It is a fairly unusual layout that features three par 3’s and three par 5’s. This should put a premium on par 4 scoring.

I also think the tree-lined nature will play into the hands of the solid, straighter drivers. GIR will always prove crucial on unfamiliar courses. The ability to pepper flags will increase birdie chances (especially when players haven’t quite come to terms with new putting sightlines).

The Contenders

Rory McIlroy once again faded in contention at the Memorial. He looked a little red-faced when Jack Nicklaus consoled him after his disappointing final round. He could do with a strong showing ahead of next week’s US Open.

Elsewhere, many of the bigger stars have decided to fade this event ahead of the trip to the Los Angeles Country Club. Tyrell Hatton continues to fight his inner demons while Sam Burns will be looking to regain a bit of lost momentum.

There is a strong local contingent this week, with recent Major hopeful Corey Conners tipped for success on a course that should reward accurate driving. Elsewhere, the likes of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young add some razzmatazz to proceedings.

Past Winners

2022: Rory McIlroy (-19)
2021: event cancelled
2020: event cancelled
2019: Rory McIlroy (-22)
2018: Dustin Johnson (-23)
2017: Jhonattan Vegas (-21) *playoff

To Win Outright:

Rory McIlroy 21/5 | Sam Burns 13/1 | Tyrell Hatton 11/1 | Cameron Young 14/1 | Matthew Fitzpatrick 12/1

Value Bets

Shane Lowry- To Win 18/1 

Shane Lowry has been a firm fixture in this event, with his last three outings producing stellar results of T12-T2-T10. All of those were played on different courses- he doesn’t seem too fazed by the course rotation. The Irishman also comes into this event in pretty good form. He was T12 at Oak Hill. And he is fresh off a T16 at Muirfield. A second round 76 really ruined his chances of contending last week. But I think his game is trending nicely and he could be a factor this week.

Vincent Norrman- To Win 66/1 

Norrman, a former World No.4 amateur, qualified for the US PGA Tour last year via the Korn Ferry Tour. The Swede has really started to find his groove in recent months. He was 21st in Puerto Rico, 16th at the Corales Puntacana and ninth at the Zurich Classic. He recently picked up a career-high finish of eighth at the Byron Nelson Championship. He also just qualified for the upcoming US Open and should be feeling on top of the world. He was second in Driving Distance at Colonial. I think he could wreak havoc on some of these shorter par 4’s.

The Man to Beat- Tyrell Hatton- To Win 11/1 

You can’t ignore the recent consistency of the combustible Hatton. Sure, he has still only won once on the PGA Tour. But six overseas victories show that he has what it takes to close out tournaments. The 31-year-old has five consecutive top-20 finishes. This included a T3 at Quail Hollow (a course that could correlate well with this one). He just picked up a T12 at Muirfield and his game really doesn’t have too many glaring weaknesses.

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