This will be the third season that the RBC Canadian Open has been played since 2019. It was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but took place directly prior to the US Open in both 2019 and 2022 — just like it is this week.
With such a big event on the horizon, many of the top players in the world have chosen to skip this week’s event so that they can focus on next week’s US Open. However, there is still a solid group of top players in attendance, with 10 of the top 50 golfers in the OWGR in attendance. Two-time defending champion Rory McIlroy leads that charge and is joined by the likes of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton, who are both coming off solid weeks at the Memorial. Cameron Young and Sam Burns are two other top 20 players making the trip North this week.
Since it’s the Canadian Open, some Canadian-born players have gained exemptions into the event, so names (who are not current PGA TOUR card holders) like Ben Silverman and Myles Creighton are on the start list. So far, the biggest name to withdraw on Monday is Byeong Hun An (who also withdrew from US Open qualifying).
The field this week will max out around 156 players and feature the regular cutline after Friday, meaning only the top 65 and ties will get to play the weekend.
Oakdale G&CC—Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Par 72, 7,254 yards, Greens: Bentgrass
The venue this week will be the third different course used to host this event since 2019. Like St. Georges and Glen Abbey, Oakdale Country Club is located in the Toronto area and was founded back in 1926. The designer is famed Canadian architect Stanley Thompson, who is the primary architect on many older courses throughout Canada, including last year’s venue St. Georges.
While there are links between Oakdale and St. Georges, it's worth noting that Oakdale is a 27-hole layout that will be rerouting holes this week to put together a unique setup for this event. The shorter par 72 in play at Oakdale isn’t likely to play anywhere near as tough as the courses we’ve seen the past two weeks and may even be slightly easier off the tee in many spots than St. Georges. Expect players to be able to club down on numerous holes giving an advantage to the elite iron players and putters.
As for routing, the venue contains five par 4s that measure in under 400 yards making this week one to really hone in on short iron and wedge play. Additionally, while the venue plays as a par 72, it’s worth noting that there are only three par 5s, but two of the three measure in under 550 yards, with the par 5 18th looking like a near-must birdie at just 496 yards.
Along with short par 4 efficiency, looking at par 3 efficiency from 175-200 yards is something else to consider as all three of the par 3s this week fall directly inside, or just outside, this range.
It is possible that bombers may be able to excel here, especially if they can drive some of the short par 4s. However, for the most part, expect lots of irons and fairway metals off the tee this week as Oakdale seems likely to cater heavily to the strong wedge players and those who are great at rolling in a plethora of 15-20 foot putts.
2023 weather outlook: The weather this week is turning into a mixed bag. The first two days look most benign with slightly cooler temperatures. The high on Thursday will be around 68-70 F with the wind topping out around 10 mph, which isn’t overly egregious. Friday is even better, with less wind expected in the afternoon. Just based on the early forecast, it’s possible the early Thursday players may get a slight advantage with Friday afternoon looking a little better than Thursday afternoon. It’s also worth noting that rain is expected to roll in late Saturday and potentially most of Sunday. That would only make the green in regulation percentages higher and likely put even less emphasis on around the green stats.
Last 5 winners
***2022—Rory McIlroy (-19 over Ton Finau -17)
**2019 — Rory McIlroy (-22 over Webb Simpson -15)
*2018 — Dustin Johnson (-23 over Byeong Hun-An -20)
*2017 — Jhonattan Vegas (-21 over Charley Hoffman - playoff)
*2016 — Jhonattan Vegas (-12 over multiple players -11)
*Played at Glen Abbey
**Played at Hamilton Country Club
***Played at St. Georges
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2022 Winner: Rory McIlroy (19-under par)*
2022 lead-in form (18-T8-T5-T2-MC)
*played at St. Georges
- McIlroy came into this event in 2019 off a missed cut at the Memorial and it’s a good reminder not to put too much stock into results from last week — on what was a much longer and more difficult golf course.
- Last year, McIlroy came into this event off a T18 at the Memorial but was never really in contention for the win there and likely better rested than those who were competing on Sunday.
- St. George’s G&CC played as a short par 70 in 2022 but featured five par 3’s and three par 5’s. This week’s venue will be similar but for having two less par 3s. The shorter par 4s should push for even more emphasis on short iron play and putting.
- Certainly, strong drivers won’t be discounted but winners at Oakdale will likely gain more through approach or putting. Last year McIlroy gained 12.4 strokes in those two areas combined and a similar output from this year’s winner wouldn’t be shocking.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
1. Tyrrell Hatton ($10,200; T12-T15): Hatton comes into this week off two top-20 finishes. His approach play dipped a little last week but with a shorter course, expect more precision ball-striking from the in-form Englishman.
2. Rory McIlroy ($11,500; T7-T7): McIlroy played good golf last week for 54 holes but his wedge play left him in too many bad spots on Sunday to go for the win. He’s dominated in Canada over his career but still looks a touch off his peak form.
3. Eric Cole ($7,900; T24-MC-T15): Cole landed his fourth top-25 finish in six starts last week at Muirfield. The American did most of his damage around the greens last week but the shorter course does work to his advantage this week.
4. Justin Rose ($9,700; T12-T9): Rose took last week off after playing Colonial, which shows you that he knows which courses suit him best at this point. He’s been fantastic with his irons of late and gained over 7.4 strokes on approach at Colonial two weeks ago.
5. Joseph Bramlett ($8,200; T16-MC-T19): Bramlett gained strokes everywhere but on the greens last week and landed his second top-20 finish in three starts. He’s played well of late and his approach game remains one of the strongest in the field.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Lowry and Fitzpatrick are good core targets
Fitzpatrick ($9,900) bounced back last week with a T9 finish at the Memorial. It was needed after a missed cut at the PGA Championship and the Englishman showed better form off the tee and around the greens. Shane Lowry ($9,400) also had another solid week gaining over 4.5 strokes on approach for the second straight event. Both men seem well poised to play well in Canada and are easy to fit into cash game lineups that are going for a more balanced approach. Beneath them, Michael Kim ($8,000) also makes sense as a target for this format. He’s landed top-10 results in two of his last three starts and has shown good upside with his putter and approaches of late. Other potential targets for this format include Sam Stevens ($7,500), Carson Young ($7,100), and Ben Martin ($7,300).
Tournaments: Meronk is a great upside candidate
European Tour winner and Polish superstar Adrian Meronk ($8,600) is in the field this week and should not be overlooked for DFS tournament builds. He’s won twice over the last six months and is coming off a T5 finish a couple of weeks ago at the KLM Open. He won on a tight technical track in Italy just last month. If you want to get really wild, Cameron Champ ($7,200) is another big hitter to potentially think about for GPP lineups. He’s gained made the cut in three of his last four starts and has gained multiple strokes on approach in each of those events. Champ’s proven he can spike with the putter when he gets confident and has excelled on more technical courses in the past. Other potential targets for this format include Doug Ghim ($7,200 - see below), Kevin Chappell ($6,900), Kevin Roy ($6,600), and Canadians Aaron Cockerill ($7,000), and Ben Silverman ($6,800).
MY PICK: Cameron Young ($9,300)
This event looks like it might be shaping up to be a serious birdie fest with high green in regulation percentages and a big emphasis on short-iron approaches. That should be great news for a player like Cameron Young, who has struggled at the tougher venues on the PGA of late, where his sometimes lackluster around the green game has been exposed. Make no mistake, Young is still an elite talent, and his ability to light up an easy old course like Oakdale has proven multiple times on the PGA.
Last season he came to the relatively short St. Andrews off of two missed cuts and with benign/soft conditions, tore up the old course nearly winning his major and PGA event in one go. Young has power to spare off the tee and may be able to drive some of these shorter par 4s, depending on the tee box setups. He’s also a very underrated wedge player who ranks out 7th, 5th, and 2nd in proximity stats from 175-200 yards, 150-175 yards, and 125-150 yards. Despite the two missed cuts, he’s gained strokes on approach and off the tee in each of his last two starts. He’s also proven to have elite bounce-back ability, having posted a 2nd and 3rd place result on the PGA last season off of missed cuts — and also gained the first Korn Ferry win of his career in 2021 off a missed cut as well.
It’s a solid time to back the American in big-field DFS tournaments, as his sentiment likely won’t be overly high this week.
MY SLEEPER: Doug Ghim ($7,200)
Ghim comes into this week off a two-week layoff. The American has been playing good golf of late but just missed qualifying for the last two elevated events and, as a result, should be chomping at the bit to get back on the course in Canada. Ghim’s short irons tend to be the strongest part of his game and those clubs have been working well for him of late. He gained 4.4 strokes on approach in his last start at the Byron Nelson and ranks top 20 in proximity from 125-150 yards over the last 24 rounds.
That’s encouraging as Ghim’s around the green and off-the-tee game has actually been carrying him of late, so any improvement on approach could see him pop for a big week soon, especially on a shorter course like Oakdale. He’s posted 17 top 20 finishes over his short career on the PGA TOUR and has had good success at other short, technical par 72s like TPC Sawgrass and Silverado — venues that line up well with this week’s venue from a yardage standpoint (at the very least).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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 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.