Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from GOLF expert prognosticator, Brady Cannon.
A seasoned golfer and commentator, Cannon is the host of the HeatStrokes podcast. You can follow him on Twitter , and you can read below to see his favorite plays for the RBC Canadian Open, which starts Thursday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto. Keep scrolling past Kannon’s picks, and you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that features a variety of games with lucrative prizes, giving fans all kinds of ways to get in on the action without risking any money.
The RBC Canadian Open falls between an advanced event and a major championship, an unfortunate gap in the PGA Tour schedule. But 10 of the top 30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking have traveled north of the border to Toronto’s Oakdale Golf and Country Club.
The Canadian Open is the fourth oldest event on the PGA Tour. But this will be the first time in 117 years that the event will be held at Oakdale, a 27-hole facility designed by Stanley Thompson and Robbie Robinson. The combination of the three nines will be used this week to create an 18-hole, par-72 test that can be adjusted to anywhere from 7,200 to 7,400 yards. Like many courses in the Canadian Open rotation, Oakdale is a parkland-style, tree-lined layout. The fairways are of average width and bordered by coarse rough. The greens are a bentgrass-poa annua mix and are smaller than average in size.
Rory McIlroy is the two-time defending champion, winning in 2019 and 2022. In 2020 and 2021, the event was canceled due to Covid. McIlroy won at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in 2019 and at St. George Golf and Country Club in 2022. The St. George is also a Stanley Thompson design, similar to the Oakdale.
Since this is our first look at Oakdale, this course involves more guesswork than usual to identify relevant skill sets. But I dug into the numbers to arrive at what I think is a reliable source. Please note, though, that I’m playing down the risks this week, as I often do when new courses, new tournaments or new formats are introduced on tour.
Let’s start with Strokes Gained: Approach, as it is an important element on any course and any tournament. I favor driving accuracy slightly over driving distance this week, but I’m going to split the difference and go with Good Drives Gained. I believe the golf course will give a lower score, so I’m considering birdies or better. With smaller greens and thicker rough, I’m betting that stroke gains: around the greens will be important this week. And finally, looking at golf course yardage, I believe most approach shots will fall between 75 and 150 yards.
Par for the course, last year’s site, St. George, fits the bill. I also considered Glen Abbey, another Canadian Open host course. I’ve seen courses used at Colonial Country Club, home of the Charles Schwab Challenge, Pebble Beach, TPC Craig Ranch and American Express in La Quinta, Calif. The tees or small greens, or both, make them perfect for a birdie fest.
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