The RBC Canadian Open hasn't been played in June since 1989.
A new spot on the calendar has attracted plenty of big names this year as they use it as a final tune-up for next week's U.S. Open which will be held at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
After a few invite-only events, the PGA TOUR returns to a full field of 156 golfers this week. That means getting golfers through the cut line will be tougher in all fantasy formats this week.
Hamilton Golf and Country Club will play the role of host this week. It's a Harry Colt design who is well known for his work across the pond. It's a par 70 that plays under 7,000 yards. The course has hosted this event five times with the most recent editions being 2012 and 2006.
The course is tree-lined but not claustrophobic. That will be even more true this year as more than 1,000 trees were removed since the 2012 edition. The rough is very penal if you are spraying it which is why most golfers tend to take a conservative approach here. With doglegs and fairways bunkers, it does require a lot of shot-shaping. That fits with the reputation of what we'd expect from classical design.
The most recent two winners are Jim Furyk and Scott Piercy which suggests that wedge play is important here. Bombers shouldn't be completely overlooked, though. Just look at Robert Garrigus who gained a whopping 17.1 strokes tee-to-green during the 2012 edition but lost over three strokes putting to settle for a runner-up finish. Garrigus is known as one of the longer hitters on TOUR.
With names like McGirt, Stallings, and Bo Van Pelt popping on the leaderboard in 2012, Muirfield Village becomes an easy comp course. We'll look at what other courses might show a link in the correlated courses section.
For grasses, we should look at other events played in Canada or the Northern States of the United States. The greens are a blend of poa annua and bentgrass but there have been multiple reports over the years that the greens here have lots of trouble in terms of growing conditions. A full renovation is scheduled to begin in September.
Sifting through some past quotes over at the Fantasy Golfanac, let's try to break down the course to see how it will play.
Brandt Snedeker: "the greens can’t get too quick because they’re so severely sloped. There’s a lot of slope on these greens and they’re not real big targets to hit into. So this golf course you’re going to have to control your golf ball, keep the ball below the hole at all times, because if you get the pin high or past pin high here, you’re not going to be able to make a lot of putts. So it’s going to be a tougher strategy to try to figure out how you can leave yourself the most amount of makeable birdie putts. And it’s very demanding off the tee. There’s not a lot of room to hit it out here. You really gotta shape your golf ball both ways."
Graham DeLaet: "Puts a premium on hitting fairways and hitting greens, and there’s some variance in some of the slopes out there on the greens, so not only just hitting greens, but hitting to the right spot. Sometimes you’re better off missing a green, having that uphill chip as opposed to a 15-footer above the hole, especially on 18 or a couple of the other greens. It’s super fast coming down the slope."
William McGirt: "the key out here is to drive it in play, and if you’re not comfortable with driver, dial it back to a 3-wood, or hit a 5-wood just to get it in play. Because really and truly, what is difference between hitting 8-iron or 7-iron? It’s not a whole lot. "
Robert Garrigus: "My caddie Brent Henley and I had a game plan starting the week. We weren’t going to pound driver all day, but the holes we could take advantage of it, we’re going to hit it. We could hit it 6 times a day which is more than I thought I was going to. I’ve hit a couple of 5-woods and 3-irons. My 3-iron has been very key except for one shot on 10 I kind of fluffed it. "
Greg Owen: "It’s very English looking, park land. You have a lot of big trees. So yeah, in a way it is an English kind of course."
Overview: Golfers agree that Hamilton often takes the driver out of hand, forcing golfers to hit irons or woods off the tee. That makes it a premium on position off the tee and then approach shots. Snedeker and DeLaet also talked about the slopes of the greens
Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week:
Muirfield Village (Memorial Tournament)
TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic)
TPC San Antonio (Valero Texas Open)
Innisbrook's Copperhead Course (Valspar)
TPC River Highlands (Travelers)
The main themes here are courses that let you club down off the tee but there is also a lot of northern turfgrass overlap, as well.
Thursday: Partly cloudy with showers possible and a high of 72 degrees. Calm winds around 6 to 10 MPH.
Friday: Cloudy with a high of 73 degrees with calm winds around 6 MPH and light gusts.
Weekend: The sun pokes it's head out on the weekend with remaining in the low-to-mid 70s.
There is a potential for more wind over the weekend but we will want to wait a few more days to see how that wind forecast plays out. Overall, it looks like a good weather week without major delay concerns.