It’s a big week for Canada. Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard will try and down the Splash Brothers in Oakland, California, while back home in the motherland, the RBC Canadian Open (“Canada’s major”, according to someone below who knows) will be waged at Hamilton Golf and Country Club.

Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.

Event information

What: RBC Canadian Open | When: June 6-9
Where: Hamilton Golf and Country Club — Ancaster, Ontario

Ranking the field (odds)

  1. Brooks Koepka (6-1): A theory: he should only play majors and national opens. Also the FedEx Cup, but just the Tour Championship portion. He might never lose again. 
  2. Dustin Johnson (11/2): It’s fascinating to me that D.J. is the slight favorite this week but the slight underdog at the U.S. Open next week to Koepka.
  3. Rory McIlroy (10-1): I’ve heard multiple people inside golf talk about how he’s struggled over the last few months. About the player who literally leads the PGA Tour in top-10 finishes. 
  4. Matt Kuchar (18-1): To buy into this field, you have to buy into a lot of guys who didn’t play the weekend at the Memorial Tournament last weekend.
  5. Scott Piercy (25-1): More on him below, but he’s won on this course before and has some sneaky solid top-five finishes over the last month.
  6. Justin Thomas (16-1): Since last year’s Open Championship, Thomas has 12 (!) top-12 finishes.
  7. Sergio Garcia (25-1): He’s confusing. He inserted a T4 at Quail Hollow between a missed-cut sandwich at the Masters and PGA Championship.
  8. Webb Simpson (20-1): Quietly assembling another solid year, and has four straight top 30s (including two majors). 
  9. Jim Furyk (40-1): Not only the all-time money leader at this tournament, but he’s currently ranked 32 in the FedEx Cup standings!
  10. Bud Cauley (40-1): He finished T4 at this course in 2012 when Piercy won, and got himself into contention last week at Muirfield Village. 

Field strength — A-: It’s a really good field! Koepka has his “peak in the second of two weeks of playing” thing going on, which is apparently working, but it’s nice to see some of these other guys (like McIlroy) who don’t normally play the week before one of the big ones. 

Three things to know

1. U.S. Open warmup: You know who’s happy about the schedule change? Canadian Open tournament officials are happy about the schedule change. The PGA Tour’s new slate means this tournament goes from the week after the Open Championship (brutal!) to the week before the U.S. Open. That means you get Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas in attendance to complement Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and others. 

2. Maple drought: It’s been *double-checks* yes, it has been 65 years since a Canadian won this tournament. This year’s great hope would appear to be Corey Conners, who is one of two Canadians in the top 100, has made five of six cuts and won as recently as April.

3. Short stuff: Hamilton Golf and Country Club is the rare PGA Tour track under 7,000 yards. It will play at 6,966 yards this week, and it will be both interesting to see how the big boppers play it and how they leverage it to get ready for another short one next week at Pebble Beach. 

Did you know?

At Hamilton Golf and Country Club in 1919, a man named James Douglas Edgar beat Bobby Jones and two other golfers by 16 strokes. It was a record winning margin at the time on the PGA Tour and still is. Edgar went on to win the Canadian Open the next year, too, before he died in 1921 in a mysterious car accident that may have been a murder. How good was Edgar? I’ll let seven-time major winner Harry Vardon have the floor

[Writer Steve] Eubanks also noted a quote from famed golfer Harry Vardon who in 1920 said, “Edgar, well I will tell you: I believe this is a man who will one day be the greatest of us all.” Eubanks says, Vardon wasn’t prone to PR spin, but speaking the plain truth.

Past winners

  • 2018: Dustin Johnson
  • 2017: Jhonattan Vegas
  • 2016: Jhonatan Vegas
  • 2015: Jason Day
  • 2014: Tim Clark

Canadian Open picks

Winner — Scott Piercy (25-1): He won at Hamilton Golf and Country Club back in 2012 the last time this tournament was held here. He’s also had two top-five finishes in his last four starts, and holds the course record of 62 on this track.

Top 10 — Dustin Johnson (11/2): In his last seven stroke-play events, he has six top 10s and four top fives. Sure.

Sleeper — Nick Watney (80-1): Love him here on this number. He has two top-25 finishes in his last two starts, and his T8 at Colonial is just his second top-10 finish in the last four years.