Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg preview the course and run through the odds while making their 2023 RBC Canadian Open Picks.
2023 Fantasy Football — Rookie RB Rankings & Projections
2023 Canadian Open: Field
156 Players | Top 65 & Ties Make The Cut
First Tee: Thursday, June 8
Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy
It would have been very easy for the Canadian Open to run out one of the worst fields of the year, which would have been a shame considering it’s the world’s third oldest Open Championship. But scheduling in 2023 didn’t offer any favors, as it’s sandwiched between two elevated events and the U.S. Open. You can see how that wouldn’t make it much of a priority for most.
Bless the Europeans, Canadians, and the title sponsor for making this a strong enough field. Having Rory McIlroy back for a third consecutive time helps, but so does the high end European talent of Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Nicolai Hojgaard, and world No. 45 ranked player Adrian Meronk.
Having three Canadians win on the PGA TOUR already this season has Canadian golf at an all-time high for depth of talent: Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, Adam Hadwin, Mac Hughes, Taylor Pendrith, and Adam Svensson.
Then there’s the sponsor. Not only does the Royal Bank of Canada get its name in the title of two different tournaments, RBC also sponsors some mid-to-high level talent, who, of course, are contractually obligated to play those events: Sam Burns, Sahith Theegala, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, and Cameron Young.
Piece all that together, and throw in Aaron Wise, Keith Mitchell, Davis Riley, Brandon Wu, Ben Griffin, Chez Reavie, Maverick McNealy, Stephan Jaeger, Aaron Rai, Byeong-Hun An, Sam Ryder, and the field of 156 is quite deep.
2023 Canadian Open: Key Stats
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 4s 450-500 Yards Gained
- Sand Saves Gained
- Proximity Gained 175-200 Yards
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2023 Canadian Open: Course
- Course: Oakdale CC
- Par: 72
- Yardage: 7,264
- Greens: Bentgrass with poa blend
Par 3’s (3): Average distance – 191 yards
- If you’re going front-to-back, all of these holes come in a six-hole stretch that figures to encourage scoring (also includes a par 5 and the second shortest par 4).
Par 4’s (12): Average distance – 421 yards
- There are five par 4’s that measure under 400 yards and the par 4’s on the back-nine come in at 408 yards per hole.
Par 5’s (3): Average distance – 546 yards
- The short par 5 is the finishing hole (496 yards). Not all Canadian courses are created equal, but for what it’s worth, the shortest par 5 was the easiest hole at this event (St. George’s) last season (52.6% birdie-or-better rate with a 5.2% eagle rate).
2023 Canadian Open: Past Winners
- 2022: Rory McIlroy-19 (St. George’s)
- 2019: Rory McIlroy -22 (Hamilton)
- 2018: Dustin Johnson -23 (Glen Abbey)
- 2017: Jhonattan Vegas -21 (Glen Abbey)
- 2016: Jhonattan Vegas -12 (Glen Abbey)
- 2015: Jason Day -17 (Glen Abbey)
- 2014: Tim Clark (Royal Montreal)
2022: Rory McIlory (-19, two clear of Tony Finau)
- Scoring took off on Sunday (Justin Rose earned a T-4 courtesy of a 60) and McIlroy (62) was able to outrun Finau (64) to the finish line.
- Three of the top-five on the final leaderboard were top-five on approach for the week (Sam Burns finished T-4 despite losing strokes off-the-tee).
2019: Rory McIlroy (-22, seven clear of Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson)
- McIlroy got better with each round and carded the round of the day (second best of the tournament) on Sunday with a 61 (he was one-up on Lowry and even with Simpson entering the day).
- The top-5 putters for the week were the top-5 on the final leaderboard.
2018: Dustin Johnson (-23, three clear of Benny An and Whee Kim)
- Johnson shot 65-66 in each of the final three rounds, the final of which helped him break a three-way tie.
- Only three of the top-11 finishers gained more than one stroke around-the-greens.
2017: Jhonattan Vegas (-21, playoff win over Charley Hoffman)
- Vegas turned in his best round of the week on Sunday (65) to erase a three-shot deficit to Hoffman.
- Five of the top-six for the week on approach cashed top-10 paychecks for the week (shoutout to my guy Luke List: third best on approach, fifth worst with the flat stick).
2016: Jhonattan Vegas (-12, one clear of Martin Laird, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm)
- Vegas opened with a 73, but he closed the week with a 64, allowing him to erase a five-shot deficit entering Sunday to both Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Jonson,
- Distance wasn’t critical, but the top-four in yardage off-the-tee all cashed top-15 paychecks (including Johnson and Rahm).
2023 Canadian Open: Course
Located in northwest Toronto, Oakdale G&CC and is known for its lush fairways, undulating greens, and strategically placed hazards. The course was designed by renowned golf course architect, Canadian Stanley Thompson, and offers a classic parkland layout with a mix of long and short holes.
The fairways are lined with mature trees, requiring accuracy off-the-tee, while the greens are well-bunkered and offer subtle slopes, making putting a challenge. It better be a challenge, because on paper (and the flyover), it appears like the PGA TOUR pros are going to shred this place apart.
With plethora of short par 4’s and reachable par 5s, it doesn’t appear like distance is going to be much of a differentiator. Although they’re short in yardage, none of the par 4’s seem like they’ll be drivable, so it’s just different degrees of laying up. That should put an overemphasis on short-wedge play. Basically, whoever spins their wedges inside 10 feet and makes those putts will be at the top of the leaderboard. It’s looking like it may play like a shorter version of the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit.
The rough could be the one thing keeping scores in check. Since it’s moved a week prior to the U.S. Open (at least last year), tournament organizers made certain that missing the short grass was going to cause issues for everyone. The difference this week is: with so little length, even the least accuracy players off-the-tee can club down to their comfort zone without losing out on easy approach shots.
2023 Canadian Open: Picks
If anyone can unseat Rory, it’s going to be the Brit. The approach remains elite, and all of a sudden, he’s become one of the premier drivers in the world. The biggest key with Hatton (opposed to a Lowry most of all) is his putting. Hatton’s gained on the greens in six straight events, while picking up five top-six finishes in his past ten starts.
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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2023 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Podcast of the Year and was a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time.
Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Sports Betting, Daily Fantasy, and Traditional Season Long Fantasy).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is ThePME) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.