The Open Championship and the RBC Canadian Open have been held on back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour since 2007, and contrary to what you might believe, there is no British Open hangover. Granted, only one British Open winner made the trek across the Atlantic to play in Canada in the last seven years – Ernie Els missed the Canadian cut in 2012 – but most of the players who play in both events find some kind of success in Canada. Three Canadian Open winners – Jim Furyk in 2007, Sean O’Hair in 2011 and Brandt Snedeker in 2013 – also played the British Open. More than half the players who competed in both events made the cut in Canada, and four or more usually finish in the top 10.
Canadian Open results of players who competed in the Open Championship
|Year||Total players||Top three||4-10||11+||Missed cut|
Now that we’ve alleviated any qualms about picking a British Open competitor at the Canadian Open, which of the 24 double-dippers (at press time) is the best bet this week at the tournament being held at Royal Montreal for the first time since 2001? Furyk comes immediately to mind. The fourth-place finisher at Royal Liverpool has won the Canadian Open twice, winning on the back end of the two-week trip in 2007. Here are other Canadian Open contenders who played last week’s British Open.
Individual performances in the British and Canadian Opens
|Player||Best Canadian finish following an Open appearance|
|Luke Donald||T-3 in 2010|
|Jim Furyk||Won 2007, T9 in 2013|
|Dustin Johnson||T2 in 2013|
|Matt Kuchar||T2 in 2013, T4 in 2010|
|Hunter Mahan||T5 in 2007, WD in 2013*|
|Charl Schwartzel||T9 in 2011, T28 in 2013|
|Brandt Snedeker||Won in 2013, T5 in 2009|
*Mahan was leading through 36 holes in 2013, but withdrew on Saturday morning when his wife, Kandi, went into labor with the couple’s first child.
Let’s keep looking at Furyk for the moment. The 44-year-old recently finished fourth in the Open Championship for the fourth time in his career and he has been playing well in the U.S. in 2014. He hasn’t missed a cut on Tour for more than a year and has six top-10s this season. He appears to be a lock to make his ninth U.S. Ryder Cup team, having moved to fourth in the standings after the British. Also, Royal Montreal only plays to about 7,000 yards and could benefit those players, like Furyk, who don’t hit the ball absurdly long. Keeping the ball in play and hitting to the correct position off the tee will be a factor.
Jim Furyk since the Masters
|Crowne Plaza Colonial||T-51|
Another player to consider is Kuchar, who is also having a stellar 2014. The world’s seventh-ranked player leads the PGA Tour with nine top-10 finishes this season, and although he doesn’t have one since the Byron Nelson Championship, he was 12th at the U.S. Open. He was co-runner-up to Snedeker a year ago and was T-4 in Canada in 2010.
Most top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2013-14
The third option might be Schwartzel. Although he hasn’t played great in the Canadian Open – a T-9 in 2011 is his best finish in three appearances – he is trending in the right direction after a T7 at the Open Championship.
The annual story surrounding the RBC Canadian Open is the fact that a native hasn’t won his national championship since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Mike Weir came close in 2004, when he finished second, losing a playoff to Vijay Singh. Weir led by three after 54 holes, but he shot 72 Sunday (with three bogeys on the back nine) and eventually lost the playoff. Provincial pride runs deep and Canadians took a bit of solace in 2013 when Brandt Snedeker won. His caddie, Scott Vail, is from Oshawa, Ontario.
Here are the Canadians on the PGA Tour and how they’ve fared at the Canadian Open.
|Player||Starts||Cuts made||Best finish|
|Stephen Ames||16||7||T-5 in 2005|
|Graham DeLaet||5||2||T-46 in 2009|
|Brad Fritsch||6||1||T-71 in 2011|
|David Hearn||11||6||T-20 in 2006|
|Mike Weir||23||9||Second in 2004|
Nineteen Canadians are in the field this week, including amateur stars Taylor Pendrith and Corey Conners from Kent State, who were the co-Players of the Year in the Mid-American Conference, NCAA Division II Player of the Year from Barry College Adam Svensson, and Ontario Amateur winner Chris Hemmerich. Web.com Tour player Adam Hadwin, who was T4 in 2011, returns to the field as well.
One final note: If you’re looking for past performance at Royal Montreal as a predictor to success this week, stop right now. The leading finisher in the 2001 Canadian Open who is also in the field this week is John Daly, who was fourth 13 years ago. K.J. Choi and Robert Allenby were T-8.
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