St. George’s Golf and Country Club, Toronto, ON
The Canadian Open has been on hiatus due to the global pandemic since 2019. Rory McIlroy is officially the defending champion based on his win that year at Glen Abbey. Since the tournament hasn’t been played at St. George’s since 2010, it makes little sense to consider which players fared well that week. Twelve years is a long time on the PGA Tour and it is doubtful anyone in this week’s field, short of Mike Weir and some other old-timers, played in that edition.
This week’s tournament features a very strong top-five in Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith, and Sam Burns. Dustin Johnson will not be in attendance this week as he has decided to accept the “dirty” money offered by the LIV group. There is a large Canadian contingent led by Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, and Mackenzie Hughes. There are also some familiar names like Open champ Shane Lowry, Tony Finau, and Justin Rose. Beyond these names, the rest of the field resembles some of the Canadian Opens from the past when the Tour provided the tournament with a less than desirable spot in the schedule. RBC has been an aggressive and generous sponsor over the past several years and the Tour has finally given the Open a slot more befitting a national championship. It’s not perfect as it sits between two big events – the Memorial and the US Open – but it will attract those players that prefer to play the week before a major.
Who should win? – Scottie Scheffler 8.50/1
He’s the number one player in the world and has the ability to contend even when his game is a little off.
Who could win? – Rory McIlroy 9/1, Justin Thomas 9/1, Cameron Smith 12/1, Sam Burns 16/1
Rory has been playing some of his best golf of late, is the defending champion, and is the type of person who will put his best foot forward. Thomas, I suspect, will be looking forward to next week and using this tournament as a warm-up, but he is so good that he might just find himself in contention on Sunday and decide, “what the hell”. Cam Smith is also one of the hottest golfers in the world at the moment with a sublime short game. Sam Burns has won three times this year and doesn’t appear to have a weakness in his game. He too will be looking ahead to next week but still should be in the hunt on the weekend.
Who will win? – Corey Conners 20/1
This pick is simply based on this criteria: of the players who really want to win this tournament the most, he’s the most qualified.