Power Rankings: RBC Canadian Open

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2013, 8:35 pm

With the season's third major in the rear-view mirror, the PGA Tour heads north of the border for the RBC Canadian Open. A full field of players will look to conquer Glen Abbey Golf Club, which hosts the event for the 26th time in its history, but for the first time since 2009.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Scott Piercy returns to defend the title he won last year at Hamilton Golf & Country Club over Robert Garrigus and William McGirt. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Ontario:

1. Hunter Mahan: His tie for ninth at Muirfield was his second consecutive top-10 in a major and 12th top-25 finish of the 2013 season. He has four top-25s in eight starts in Canada, with his best career result coming at Glen Abbey in 2004 (T-4).

2. Matt Kuchar: Quietly notched a T-15 finish at the British Open, his 10th top-25 finish in 16 starts this year. Kuchar remains remarkably consistent on the stat sheet, ranking sixth on Tour in scoring average, 12th in strokes gained putting and 13th in scrambling.

3. Charl Schwartzel: The South African tied for 15th in Scotland, his fourth top-15 finish in his last five starts overall, and currently sits third on Tour in scoring average. He's making just his third career start in Canada, though he tied for ninth in his debut in this event in 2011 at Shaughnessy.

4. Brandt Snedeker: Without a Friday 79 at Muirfield, Snedeker may very well have contended down the stretch at the British Open. With three straight top-20 finishes, he's beginning to show signs of the form that made him the hottest player in the game during January and February.

5. Graham DeLaet: Though a Canadian hasn't won this event since 1954, DeLaet is likely the nation's best hope. With five top-10 finishes this year and two in his last four starts overall, DeLaet leads the Tour in GIR percentage and will be in search of a strong finish as he continues his quest to make Nick Price's squad for the Presidents Cup this fall.

6. Luke Donald: Though the Englishman missed the cut last week, his last six starts in North America each went for a top-25 finish. Donald has been equally consistent in this event across multiple venues, with three straight top-25 results from 2009-2011, including a third-place finish in 2010 at St. George's.

7. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese sensation broke through for a T-6 finish at Muirfield, a strong follow-up to his T-10 result at Merion last month. Now 34th in the world, the 21-year-old has been on an international tear since turning pro this spring, including a pair of wins on the Asian Tour, and appears ready to continue his hot play this week in Canada.

8. Graeme McDowell: Though he finally broke his 'feast or famine' streak last week by making the cut at the British Open but not winning the event, McDowell can still pull off an 'RBC double' this week after winning the RBC Heritage in April. The Ulsterman still ranks 10th on Tour in driving accuracy and 11th in strokes gained putting.

9. Daniel Summerhays: A week after missing a playoff in Illinois by a shot, Summerhays earned a spot in the playoff Sunday in Mississippi, ultimately finishing behind Woody Austin. In addition to his T-9 finish at Greenbrier earlier this month, he heads to Canada on the heels of three straight top-10 finishes with a 67.2 stroke average across that span.

10. David Lingmerth: The Swede has quietly compiled a solid stretch since his breakthrough runner-up finish at TPC Sawgrass, with three top-20 finishes. Lingmerth has compiled a 69.8 scoring average before the cut since The Players Championship, making the cut in each of his six starts, and ranks 34th on Tour in total driving.

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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

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McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.