The Confidence Factor: 109th RBC Canadian Open

It’s not hard to figure out who is the favorite this week!

My rankings are included below along with my preview for PGATOUR.COM.

Good luck!

109th RBC Canadian Open

Glen Abbey Golf Club

Oakville, Ontario, Canada


Glen Abbey Golf Club Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,253
Par: 72 (35-37)
Greens: Creeping Bentgrass; 5,600 square feet
Stimpmeter: 11′
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass and fescue up to three inches.
Bunkers: 85
Water Hazards: 12
Architects: Jack Nicklaus (1976)
Purse: $6.2 million; $1.116 million, 500 FEC points (winner).
Defending Champion: Jhonattan Vegas (-21, 267) Playoff
Fact of the Week: The last first-time winner at the event was Chez Reavie (2008). It’s his only win on TOUR.



  • 156 players.
  • Top 70 and ties will play the weekend.
  • The 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 editions were NOT played at GAGC so I’m not interested in the finishes at those events.


2017-18 Winners

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**
Fort Worth Invitational Justin Rose (2)
Memorial Bryson DeChambeau
FESJC Dustin Johnson (2)
U.S. Open Brooks Koepka
Travelers Championship Bubba Watson (3)
Quicken Loans National Francesco Molinari
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Kevin Na
John Deere Classic Michael Kim*
The Open Championship Francesco Molinari (2)


The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles on the track and those who have aced this exam.

You need course form? Read the above.

You need keys to victory? Read the above.

You need course preview? Read the above.

You need a history lesson? Read the above.

Every week.

Every column.

Previous champions

Year Winner Total MOV (shots)
2017 Jhonattan Vegas 267 (-21) PO
2016 Jhonattan Vegas 276 (-12) 1
2015 Jason Day 271 (-17) 1
2014 Played at Royal Montreal  
2013 Brandt Snedeker 272 (-16) 3
2012 Played at Hamilton G&CC  
2011 Played at Shaughnessy  
2010 Played at St George’s  
2009 Nathan Green 270 (-18) PO
2008 Chez Reavie 267 (-17) 3

The routing of GAGC was changed after the 2008 edition and par was changed to 72. The greens started to change over from Poa to Creeping Bentgrass in 2015 and were completed before the 2016 edition.

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 266; Tiger Woods (2000)
Post-2008 Record: 267; Vegas and Charley Hoffman (2017)
Course Record: 62; Robert Garrigus (2017, Round 3)
Defending Champion(s): Vegas, 2016-17
Multiple Winners: Jim Furyk (2006-07), Vegas
First TOUR Win (most recent): Chez Reavie (2008)
First Win in First Appearance: Last: Reavie (2008)
Low Round Last Year: 62; Garrigus
Rookies of Note Last Year: Brandon Hagy (T5), Seamus Power (T10), C.T. Pan (T14), Kramer Hickok (T19)
Odd Facts: Vegas has never led before Sunday. He made up five shots in 2016 and three shots last year.


Quick Thoughts

The Bentgrass and birdie party continues this week so find guys who have been hot (plenty to choose from) and have no problem running in par-breakers. After taking some rain over the weekend and a big chance to add more on Thursday, firm and fast isn’t going to be in the cards. Fairways will widen and greens will shrink so I’d expect low scores perhaps similar to last year.

With three Par-5 holes on the back, including two of the final three, no lead is safe. There will be plenty of scoring chances and similarly to the JDC, rounds above par are killers this week. Last year Vegas didn’t even lead the field in SG: total and won the tournament. I guess 27 birdies won’t hurt! He also made 23 of them in 2016 when scores were higher because of drought and wind. With this course being used for the fifth time in six years course form is a real thing this week. The recent winners here have been veteran TOUR pros that know how to push it to the limit without taking big numbers. They also know it’s time to GET HOT as the big bucks will start appearing on the table starting next week.

I’d expect a shootout and I’d expect some big boys on the leaderboard on Sunday. After a tough week for some at Carnoustie this is the perfect rehab before the run of WGC-BI, PGA Championship and four FedExCup Playoff events.

Good luck.


In order of preference for this week and this tournament; LTO= LAST TIME OUT; LW= Last week; LY= Last year this event. I’m tired of typing all that out!

Dustin Johnson: If he didn’t lead the TOUR in a million categories and wasn’t 28-under over his last eight rounds here, yeah, he wouldn’t be on top. He’ll enjoy the four Par-5 holes and making birdies for fun.

Brooks Koepka: He’s sixth in birdie made and was in the mix in 2015 before a quiet Sunday. I’d say he’s figured some things out since that Sunday three years ago! Top 10 in scoring average as well, hardly a surprise.

Tony Finau: The Canadian Open was considered the fifth major way before THE PLAYERS. Somebody should whisper this to the big hitter as he’s already cashed in the top 10 in the first three majors of the season. T5 last year after four rounds of 69 or better.

Charley Hoffman: As is the case with Hoffman in multiple stops on TOUR, he’s damn-near won this event as well. He joined the club of those who couldn’t hold a 54-hole lead last year as his final-round 68 was only good enough for a playoff with Vegas. He’s 42-under in his last three to GAGC with P2, T7 and T16 paydays. He should get very serious looks in OAD as well.

Bubba Watson: On tree-lined parkland courses that have four Par-5’s? Framed for him to work his magic! Throw in his wife is Canadian, he was second in 2015 and he’s had a fabulous 2018 and it’s easy. He’ll overpower the place and his only worry will be how many birdies he circles.

Matt Kuchar: Of the last four here he’s cashed in the top 10 in three of them so it fits his eye. Last year was the only time he finished outside of the top 10 after going so close at Royal Birkdale. After trying to win his first major and coming up just short, I totally understand the let down. He should be back in the mix this season but this might shed some light on those of you considering Kevin Kisner. More on him later.

Brandt Snedeker: Won in 2013, led after 54 holes in 2016 but was run down by Vegas. WHOA HEY T6 after 62 in Memphis followed by T48 at Shinnecock Hills. His MC at Travelers of course was backed up with T3 at Greenbrier to qualify for Carnoustie. If you hadn’t swallowed the hook yet, good for you, because he was absolute pants in Scotland (76-78). I’m throwing my line back in the water this week as he’s 26-under here in his last two trips.

Billy Horschel: Fell just short of Troy Merritt at the opposite-field event last week in Kentucky so he should be on tilt for two reasons. Missing a major and coming up just short will have him fired up this week. Don’t wait. I’m not.

Joaquin Niemann: Every week is a new course for him and it doesn’t seem to bother him too much. He’s played 10 events and every time he’s made the cut he’s landed T23 or better. Absolute flusher that needs a hot putter to make the leap but a boatload of class. Almost won on a Nicklaus track at Memorial as he sat one shot off the 54-hole lead before T6.

Jhonattan Vegas: He won’t have to deal with pesky visa/travel issues that saw him barely make his THURSDAY tee time at Carnoustie (MC). If he completes his hat trick, he’ll join Steve Stricker as the only players to win an event three times in a row this decade. History says probably not as it did with Matsuyama (WMPO) and Berger (FESJC) but unlike those two, Vegas isn’t injured to some degree. He’s made 50 birdies in his last 144 holes here!

Joel Dahmen: The beat goes on as he’s 52-under in July with a pair of top 10s plus nothing worse than T23. Has 10 top 25’s from 17 weekends this season.

Stewart Cink: It hasn’t mattered what style of course, hard, difficult or easy, he’s played as he’s racking up BIG CASH for fun. His last four results are excellent (T4, T2, T23 and T24 at Carnoustie) as he resides in the top 50 in scoring average and GIR.


Next Tier

Just missed the list above because of a wart or two; order isn’t important.

Tommy Fleetwood: He might also fall into the Kisner category above as his disappointing T12 wasn’t the inspiration he was looking for entering this week. He hits it too pure to omit but I’d understand if he was a no-show as he wasn’t exactly flying before The Open (T59, MC). Caution.

Adam Hadwin: His best result since the first week of May was T35 at Carnoustie. He’s gone close before (T7, 2015) and has won since. He’s 19 of 20 on the season in the paycheck department.

Gary Woodland: The last time he hit the top 25 was at Memorial and that broke a pretty dire period of results. He collected his annual check from The Open (eight in a row) and heads to GAGC on a streak of four in a row. He made 10 birdies in Round 2 last year and 27 for the week. He’ll bomb and gouge (2nd GIR last year; 7th proximity) as usual and have plenty of chances to get his putter cooking.

Ian Poulter: His streak of 11 consecutive paychecks was snapped at Carnoustie so I’d expect normal service to return. He’ll have good memories from his trip last year as he finished third with a closing-round 64 in his first appearance.

Keegan Bradley: He’ll torch this place tee-to-green as he’s 15th in BOTH fairways and greens this year.

Sam Ryder: If GIR is good, I’m going with another who stuffs them weekly. He’s third this year GIR and has no problem keeping on courses where birdies are needed. His T2 at JDC was backed up by T7 at Barbasol last week so he’s quite hot.

Harold Varner III: He’s 30-under his last two events, both for top 10’s and both his best finishes of the season. #HeatCheck.

Troy Merritt: He’s not going to sneak up on anyone this week and shouldn’t after posting 23-under to win last week. Same grass and same requirement: go low yo.

Robert Garrigus: Owns the course record and has had a few sniffs on other Nicklaus designs including T6 last year at Montreux. That sweet 79 in the final round last week in Kentucky should scare a few off!

J.B. Holmes: One bad round since mid May should make for a tasty off-the-radar choice. He’s never been the most accurate off the tee but he’ll have a wedge in his hand on every hole. He also hasn’t played in two weeks so he should be fresh as he didn’t deal with Carnoustie or a Monday finish in his native Kentucky.

Keith Mitchell: Proper slugger than has and can go low. All of his top-10 finishes are double-digits under-par including T7 JDC LTO. 14th in birdie average.

J.T. Poston: Top 50 in GIR and birdies; made seven of his last eight including 2018-best fifth LTO at Barbasol.


Long Shots, Course Horses, Stat Stuffers, Heat Checks, Red Herrings…

Byeong-Hun An: It’s gone a bit sideways since his last top-10 cash but that was at Jack’s place in Columbus (P2). He’s a first-timer here but he will enjoy learning that there are four Par-5 holes that he can overpower.

Mackenzie Hughes: He’ll be the home-town favorite as he grew up in nearby Hamilton. I bet he’s excited for the move to his city for next year’s event. He’s more excited he’s not playing like moose dung anymore as the best part of his season has been the last month. I’m confident his streak will reach five after another made cut this week.

Chris Kirk: Six straight and the next step will be putting all four together. Same issue at RBCCO.

Hunter Mahan: You earn your spot in here. Let’s see if the GOLF GODS have a sense of humor. You’ll remember he the lead after 36 holes but he up and left for Texas to be at the birth of his first child. Brandt Snedeker has thanked him plenty of times for this (2013). Mahan was 18-under last week before the Sunday-Monday 71 dropped him to T7, his best finish on TOUR since 2015.

Tyler Duncan: 11 and counting in the cuts-made department.

Andres Romero: Remember when he almost won at Carnoustie in 2007? Remember when he opened with 64 at JDC and followed it up with 65 at Barbasol? If you’re going to chuck away a punt at FRL, he’s ready to work for you.

Rory Sabbatini: In the last four at GAGC he’s T23 or better three times against one MC. His bad year was when it was hot and dry (77-77) and that’s not going to be the case this year.

Tom Lovelady: Missed out on his first win with T2 LW at Barbasol. He crushes it and makes thousands of birdies so he’s a natural again this week. He’s No. 128 on the money list so this isn’t a free roll either. He can see the finish line.

David Lingmerth: Five in a row all on Bentgrass with three T19 or better.

Brandon Harkins: Stat-pack hero again this week. Don’t get him confused with Brandon Hagy. One went to Cal-Chino Hills while the other went to Cal-Berkley. One was T5 last year while the other is playing his first RBCCO.

Ricky Barnes: 30-under the last three years.

Dylan Meyer: He needs to be in any and every long-shot lineup each week he plays.

Nick Taylor: Trending in the proper direction AND CANADIAN.

James Hahn: T40 then T11 and then T10 in his last three here but enters on ZERO form. That hasn’t stopped him before!

Jamie Lovemark: Last year Vegas and Woodland hit the top 10 here. Their previous top 10 was at Honda, another Nicklaus design. Lovemark’s last top 10 was at Honda. It’s fantasy golf. Have fun.

Steve Wheatcroft: He has a few ghosts around here from 2016 and rolls into town T12 and T10 LW.



The road to success is filled with potholes. You don’t drive your car over them so why put them on your fantasy team?

Kevin Kisner: For the second time in 11 months he was leading or tied for the lead in a major and didn’t have his best day. I’ll let him get caught up on his sleep and check back in next week at Firestone.

Sergio Garcia: His two best results since March came on difficult courses where par was a good score. His MC last week doesn’t inspire as he returns to Canada for the first time since 2001. I’m not sure I know what moves his meter anymore now that he’s won a major and is married with a kid. Viva la vida and all that.

Chez Reavie: I know plenty of you take a peek at previous champions. His course form will stick out almost as well as his current form. I can argue it stops here. I can also argue it continues. Too many arguments with myself so I pass.

Steve Stricker: I shouldn’t game ANGRY but I’m not happy with how the JDC worked out. It’s the perfect course for him but so was TPC Deere Run.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me




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