We may be just a few days removed from the season’s third major, where Italy’s Francesco Molinari emerged as the Open Champion in a scintillating final round, but now we turn our Caddie Line attention back to North America.
The PGA Tour is in Ontario this week for the RBC Canadian Open and the field is stacked.
Dustin Johnson is there. Brooks Koepka is there. Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood – they’re all north of the border this week.
Jhonattan Vegas is the tournament’s two-time defending champion. With a victory at Glenn Abbey this week, Vegas could become the first player since Tiger Woods at the 2008 Farmers Insurance Open to win the same event three or more years in succession (Tiger’s victory in 2008 was his fourth straight in that tournament).
So, who should you be keeping an eye on in Canada? We asked three caddies who are on the ground there this week that very question.
To protect their identity, the caddies have submitted their five respective picks anonymously.
Let’s take a look at who they picked and why:
- Joaquin Niemann, “This young gun is rolling with no fear and this international setting might be just what he needs to break through. In nine starts this season, Joaquin has six, top-25 finishes. Four of those are top 10s, including a season-best T5 at the Greenbrier.”
- Tony Finau, “Solid summer play – including top-10 finishes in each of the first three majors (T10 at the Masters; fifth at the U.S. Open; and T9 last week at the Open Championship) — puts the long-hitting Finau near the top of the list.”
- Jhonattan Vegas, “He is going for a three-peat. Enough said.”
- Chez Reavie, “He’s missed the cut in each of his last four starts, but has had an otherwise solid season, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the Waste Management. He’s looking to regain some magic from his rookie season (2008), where he actually won the RBC Canadian Open right here at Glenn Abbey. So, look out.”
- Tommy Fleetwood, “This is a top European player who is making moves on the PGA Tour lately. In four of his last five starts, he’s finished no worse than a tie for 12th, including a runner-up showing at the U.S. Open. Look for him to be near the top come Sunday.”
- Dustin Johnson, “It’s tough to beat a guy this good and who always looks like he just doesn’t care all that much.”
- Matt Kuchar, “He’s a steady veteran player who is always in contention for a top 10 it seems.”
- J.B. Holmes, “He plays this course well. When the putts are dropping, he goes extremely low. That’s an absolute must in this tournament, where the winning score can be 20-something under.”
- Chad Campbell, “He’s a veteran who needs to play well to get inside top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings. He enters this week 163rd in points and needs to start making something happen. The T7 at the John Deere Classic a couple weeks back was his first top 10 of the season. He needs more like that and there’s no time like the present.”
- Jhonattan Vegas, “He has played so well here the last few years. Jhonattan is a long-ball hitter on a course that is playing soft. His length – and confidence in this event – will be a huge advantage.”
- Joel Dahmen, “Joel had a T15 (16 under) last week at the Barbasol Championship with negative strokes gained putting. If he can get a couple to fall this week, he will be in contention again on Sunday.”
- Ben Silverman, “It’s a return home to Canada for this guy who has been heating up as of late, evidenced by his T12 at Barbasol, thanks to a final-round 65. When he gets going, he makes a ton of birdies. This week, he’ll have the home crowd on his side.”
- Nick Taylor, “Here’s another Canadian who has been trending in the right direction, finishing better and better in each of his last three starts.”
- Corey Conners, “Home cooking could serve Corey well this week. He’s just outside the top 125 in FedEx Cup standings (126). He’s a great ball-striker and if he plays well this week, he can lock up his card for next season.”
- J.T. Poston, “He’s playing some great golf – seven cuts made in his last eight starts and a fifth-place finish at Barbasol. I think the best is still ahead for this guy.”