RBC Canadian Open Preview and Picks

Tournament: RBC Canadian Open
Date: Thursday July 24 Sunday July 27, 2008
Venue: Glen Abbey Golf Club Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Television Coverage: The Golf Channel/CBS

by Matt of Predictem.com

The PGA Tour makes its way back across the pond this week, but stays outside the states as the pros head north for the Canadian Open. The Glen Abbey Golf Club in Ontario will host the event for the first time since 2004 and will provide a much different challenge to those making their way from the British Open. Many of the top players will take this week off to rest up from the travel and grind of a Major, but several strong contenders remain for the $5 million total purse as well as valuable FedEx Cup points. Highlighting the field are Jim Furyk, looking for his third Canadian Open in a row, Anthony Kim, and native Canadian, Mike Weir. The Golf Channel will air the early round action with CBS picking up the weekend telecasts.

The Canadian summer may not be everyones dream conditions, but the weather will not be nearly the factor it was at Birkdale. For the week, Glen Abbey will play par-71 and measure 7,222 yards and test the players to execute shot placement off the tees and into the greens in order to set up birdies. The scoring pace should be moderate, with a 9-under total taking top honors in 04. This may be a week for some of the more unknown players to shine as the players coming back from Birkdale will have some travel fatigue.

Each week we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and break down the key contenders as well as make a pick to win from a short, middle and long odds look. We highlight a few head to head matches and make picks there as well. The odds to win and matches for the Canadian Open are courtesy of the board at Bodog.

Jim Furyk

7 to 1 and 7 to 5 to finish in the top-5 (including ties)

Its getting late in the year for Jim to be looking for his first win, but that was the case last year when he stormed the field with a Sunday 64 and took a one stroke victory in this event. Furyk is on a nice run of late, with back to back top-5s at the AT&T and British and has shown signs that his 124th ranked putter is coming around. Furyk is plenty accurate, ranking in the top-30 in both fairways and greens and owns a solid 70.36 stroke average, good for 31st. If the putter stays hot, a second straight defense in possible.

Anthony Kim

10 to 1 and 2 to 1

Kim has looked like a potential challenger to Tiger in the future with is two wins in 08 and several other strong showings, including a T7 at last weeks Open. Kim has well rounded game, averaging over 300 yards off the tee, while still ranking inside the top-35 in greens hit. A solid putter leads to a 6th ranked scoring average at 69.8 and the 7th All Around player cashes in on 3.4 birdies per 18. Kim hit the most greens at last weeks Open, but couldn’t hole the putts to charge to the top. Birdies should come easier this week.

Mike Weir

14 to 1 and 5 to 2

Mike will definitely have the home crowd behind him and looks to add a spark to a season that has seen only two top-10 finishes in 18 starts. The troubles for Weir have started on the tee, where he is 132nd in total driving, putting a lot of pressure on the rest of the game to compensate. Weir had a solid run of top-20s in May/June including a T2 at the Memorial, so the game is trending better. If the driver cooperates, the rest of the game is good enough to make birdies and contend this week and Glen Abbey is in the wheel house with Weir taking a playoff second here in 04.

Stephen Ames

16 to 1 and 3 to 1

Ames has quietly put together a nice season with a bunch of top-25s and only one missed cut in 15 starts. Going back to May, Ames is on a run of top-20s that have included back to back top-5s and a T7 at the British. Stephen is a top-35 putter, but a strong overall game has him the 34th ranked All Around player. That type of balance plays well on all courses and shows in the 19th best scoring average and nearly 3.5 birdies per round.

Retief Goosen

18 to 1 and 10 to 3

Goosen has seen his early struggles on Tour continue through the year, with only one top-10 in 13 starts and an All Around rank of 179. Goose has played better of late, finishing T14 and T32 in the U.S. and British Opens and will be looking to continue the hike back to contention. The stat sheet is spotty at best for Retief, but his experience and damage control can get him through a rough spot if he is running well into the weekend. Goosen has been able to avoid the blow ups and missed cuts, so a return to form is waiting on some birdies to fall.

Camilo Villegas

25 to 1 and 9 to 2

Camilo is another young player on the rise with a strong all around game that has led to some success of late. Villegas ran in the top-10 in the U.S. Open and carded the tournament low round of 65 at Birkdale. Camilo is long off the tee and hits enough greens to lead to the 9th best birdie average on Tour. Villegas is an above average putter and nets a top-30 scoring average with his 12th All Around stat. He has youth on his side to fight off any jet lag issues.

Steve Marino

80 to 1 and 14 to 1

Marino has had a solid season thus far, making 17 of 21 cuts and earning over a million dollars. Steve is above average in terms of length and owns the 31st ranked GIR%, leading to a ton of birdie chances. He converts a good percentage, averaging over 3.5 birds per 18 and has the 2nd most total birdies on Tour in 08. Marino is the type to look out for in weaker field events, he was runner up at the Mayakoba this year, which ran during the Accenture. Steve should be fresh after playing in Milwaukee last week instead of the British.

For the Win

Short: Anthony Kim Three in a row for Furyk is a tall task and Kim has proven he can finish with two wins this year.

Middle of the Road: Stephen Ames Steady player that has been on the fringes of breaking through.

Longshot: Steve Marino Solid in all phases and high birdie conversion will play well anywhere.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)

(all matches are for entire tournament)

Jim Furyk (-130) v. Anthony Kim (EVEN) (Kim)

Furyk will be comfortable here, but Kim is just playing better overall. The big advantages for Kim come off the tee and with the putter, leading to more birdies and that should play out over four days.

Kevin Sutherland (-115) v. Bo Van Pelt (-115) (Sutherland)

Sutherland is super accurate into the greens, hitting nearly 70% in regulation and is 13th in scoring average. Van Pelt lags in GIR at 82nd overall and is in the 80s in scoring average as well. Sutherland has the better putter, leading to a higher birdie rate and per save rate.

Good Luck!