After a three-week run of Oakmont, Congressional and Royal Troon, the Tour takes a deep breath and exhales this week at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club just outside of Toronto.
For those who waited through weather delays and rolled in plenty of birdies in Alabama (Barbasol)or enjoyed the mighty Modified Stableford Scoring System (Barracuda) the week before that, not much will change this week. I have no problem sticking with recent form players from those events for a couple of reasons: More birdies will be needed this week to even contend and Barracuda featured another Jack Nicklaus design that winds through trees with small-ish Bentgrass greens.
One myth that needs to be put to rest this week is the guys who played Royal Troon last week will be “tired” this week. Last year The Open finished on Monday but Jason Day still won at GAGC last year on short rest. Bubba Watson (2nd), Jim Furyk (4th), Stewart Cink (T-5), Matt Kuchar (T-7) and Charley Hoffman (T-7) all hit the top 10 after playing at St. Andrews. Remember, these guys make their schedules well in advance and are quite aware that they are playing four, five or however many weeks in a row. It’s hardly “assigned” to them! That’s another reason why it’s a big deal to have full status on Tour.
This week, as you’ll read below and see above, there’s not much angle in over-thinking it. Premium players on easier courses versus light fields should play well and they have in the last two additions of this event. With this event in the middle of a major, major venue, WGC and major run for the top players, they’ll be licking their chops to see decent fairway widths, light rough, four par fives and knowing it will take a boatload of birdies to win.
Gamers, this week it’s smart to lead with class but there’s always room for a few upstarts as well. When 17-under is required, the door is usually open for a greater amount of players because everyone out there can make plenty of birdies.
2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)
In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.
Under 30 Winners (10 different winners from 13 events)
- Emiliano Grillo, 23; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
- Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
- Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
- Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
- Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
- Jason Day, 28; API, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
- Danny Willett, 28; Masters
- Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
- Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC
The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.
Winners 30-39 (19 players from 20 events)
- Russell Knox, 30; HSBC Champions
- Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
- Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
- Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
- Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
- Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
- Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
- Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
- Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
- Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
- Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
- Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
- James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
- Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
- William McGirt, 36; Memorial
- Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open
- Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
- Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality and name recognition has no place in fantasy golf, folks.
- Greg Chalmers, 42; Barracuda Championship
- Henrik Stenson, 40; The Open Championship
Big month for the old dudes and a monster week last week:
- Phil Mickelson, 46; 2nd
- Steve Stricker, 49; 4th
- Soren Kjeldsen, 41; T-9
- Zach Johnson, 40; T-12
- Miguel Angel Jimenez, 52; T-18
- Lee Westwood, 43; T-22
- David Howell, 41; T-22
- Thongchai Jaidee, 46; T-22
I suggested that experience would factor this week. Guess what? It will factor next year and the year after that at The Open Championship.
Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.
- Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
After winners in the first two events of the season, it’s been 35 straight events without one of the newbies collecting a trophy.
Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.
First-Time Winners on Tour
- 2013: 12
- 2014: 10
- 2015: 11
- 2016: (15 and counting)
- Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com)
- Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
- Justin Thomas (CIMB)
- Peter Malnati (SFC)
- Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
- Kevin Kisner (RSM)
- Tony Finau (PRO)
- Jim Herman (SHO)
- Danny Willett (Masters)
- Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
- Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
- William McGirt (Memorial)
- Daniel Berger (FESJC)
- Billy Hurley, III (QLN)
- Greg Chalmers (Barracuda) in his 386th event!
My RBC Canadian Preview is below.