The PGA Tour heads north of the border this week for the RBC Canadian Open.
Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario will host Canada’s national open for the sixth time this week and the first since 2012 when Scott Piercy was victorious.
Despite the fact that the season’s third major takes place next week – the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach – the Canadian Open still boasts a pretty stacked field. Among those competing this week are Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, recent Tour winner and Ontario native Corey Conners and more.
So, which players should you be paying attention to most this week?
We asked three caddies on the ground to offer up three picks to win. To protect their identity, the caddies made their picks anonymously. Here are the players they say you should be keeping a close watch on…
- Brooks Koepka. “I’m not exactly going out on a limb here. Brooks is the No. 1 ranked player in the world, and he’s won four of the last eight majors he’s played in. This is his first start since the most recent of those major wins – the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. He’s in contention virtually any time he tees it up these days and just seems hungrier than ever. I’m sure he’s here to get one final competitive tune up before he puts all his focus on next week.”
- Dustin Johnson. “The No. 2-ranked player in the world, D.J. had a three-stroke victory in this event in 2018. Sure, that was on a different course, but as he’s proven time and again, it doesn’t matter where the Tour is, Dustin will make his way into the mix. He always gets attention but might see a little more of that this week as news recently broke that he and longtime coach Claude Harmon III have parted ways. I don’t think that will impact Dustin. He’s got a short memory and it’s been one of his greatest assets.”
- Matt Kuchar. “Kuch will be 41 in just a few weeks and is right now enjoying the best season of his career. With two victories already in the 2018-19 campaign, Kuch is No. 1 on the FedExCup list and – if you can believe it – heads to Canada with some added motivation. Why, you ask? Last week’s missed cut at the Memorial – where he won in 2012 – was his first MC of the season. I expect him to bounce back promptly. Prior to that, his worst finish in five consecutive starts was T12 at the Masters – it was also his only finish in that stretch outside the top 10. He’s got a solid track record at the Canadian Open.”
- Dustin Johnson. “D.J. has won here before and this tournament is set up like a major. His skills will give him a chance come Sunday, just the way they typically do at the majors.”
- Brooks Koepka. “Along the same lines as D.J., Brooks plays major courses the best – no one has been better the last three seasons, in fact. With the setup in Canada having a major atmosphere he will outplay 99 percent of the field. I see him going toe to toe with D.J. again in this championship.”
- Sam Saunders. “Sam is a complete dark horse this week. I feel he has come to terms with his game and will be free willing it in Canada this week. He has qualified for the U.S. Open, so there is a spark of momentum on his side.”
- Jim Furyk. “Hamilton is a tough track. It’s a plodder’s golf course where keeping the ball in front of you is a premium. Jim thrives on these courses, and his track record this year on tough layouts has been top notch. Putting well, driving well. He’ll be thereabouts.”
- Scott Piercy. “He loves this golf course and why wouldn’t he since he won here in 2012, the last time the Canadian Open was held here. Scott has been super consistent the past couple of months and his hard work on the practice putting green is paying off. Putts are starting to drop.”
- Brooks Koepka. “No reason needed. It’s Brooks Koepka.”