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Canadian Open Preview: Oh, Canada

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

If a previously unknown player to the American audience who destroys the field with little to no drama on Sunday falls in the forest, does he make a noise? Excuse me for slipping into a riddle there, but the execs at ESPN were likely cringing all Sunday morning asking a similar question. If Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson fail to make a charge and every player within four strokes of the lead crumbles, do advertisers ask for their money back? Look, a major is a major, Louis Oosthuizen made history last Sunday, it's just that, to put it bluntly, it wasn't very exciting. That begs the question, though, why was it so exciting when Tiger Woods lapped the field at St. Andrews? I guess the answer is people like to see greatness, and they don't want to miss a memorable moment. Perhaps 10 years from now, when Oosthuizen is on the brink of his 19th career major, we'll all look back and say, "yep, I remember the first one. What a showing, Louis just destroyed the competition that day." Or perhaps Oosthuizen will fall into obscurity, like several other major winners over the last decade. Either way, Oosthuizen should be proud, after all, he just surpassed Louis Vuitton as the most popular "Louis" search query on Yahoo!.

What the British Open means:


Louis Oosthuizen: For sanity's sake, I am going to refer to him as "Louis" from now on - I simply refuse to do another spell check on his last name. Anyhow, Louis, as well as he played last week, strikes me as a one-hot wonder. Not that he can't win again, I just don't see him faring well on the PGA TOUR.

Tiger Woods: Even for the most ardent supporters, it may be time to panic. Why? Simple, the putting. It's the first thing to go for most golfers, and though I doubt Tiger is done, he'll have a heck of a time remaining atop the World without a high level of putting. Another thing to think about, putting is mental, and what seems to be Tiger's problem right now? That's right, his head.

Lee Westwood: If Westwood keeps this up, the comparisons to Colin Montgomerie are sure to follow. Monty is probably the best player to never win a major, and though Westwood keeps coming close, he can't seem to close the deal. He was never within a reasonable range last weekend, but another runner-up finish is probably more frustrating than anything else right now.

This week: Canadian Open


Last Year: Nathan Green shot a final-round 68 on his way to a playoff victory over Retief Goosen.

Players to Consider:


  1. Paul Casey

    A new track this year, so course history is not quite as important. Don't throw it out altogether, though, as we can still take something positive from a player that usually plays well in Canada. After all, the course has changed a few times over the last decade, and certain players continue to play well no matter the course. As for Casey, he's the best player in the field this week coming off three-fourths of a good performance last week at the British Open.

  2. Retief Goosen

    Runner-up last year, which, if anything, proves he's taking this event seriously. Goosen also played well last week, but, unlike last year, he's got a little momentum from his final round at St. Andrews.

  3. Stephen Ames

    Ames, AKA, "the other Canadian," has played well at this event, and motivation is not an issue. He's generally hit or miss, though, so there is some risk involved.

  4. Sean O'Hair

    O'Hair's been very streaky since he first joined the PGA TOUR, and considering how well he played last week at the British Open, he might be in the middle of a streak.

  5. Scott McCarron

    A fairly deep sleeper here as McCarron just hasn't shown his top form in years, but we got a glimpse of what's left in the tank last week when he led heading into the final round in Reno. Sure he blew up on Sunday, but maybe a lessoned learned there.

Players to Avoid:


  1. Kevin Streelman

    As someone who's followed Streelman closely all year (he's on my team in another league), I can tell you his 2010 season has been incredibly disappointing. He had a great opportunity to take advantage of a weak field last week and could not, so I doubt he makes a run this week.

  2. David Duval

    How do you come up with a list of players to avoid with no course history? Go with your gut, I guess. Duval has found a way to compete on some big stages the last couple years, but this doesn't qualify as a big stage.

  3. John Daly

    How many times did the commentators mention that Daly felt comfortable at St. Andrews last week? Now, put him in a situation where he's not as comfortable, and what do you think the result will be?

  4. Bob Estes

    Estes is known for picking his spots, and though he has a good track record at this event, this is one time where the new course will matter. Estes hasn't played well anywhere this year.

  5. Trevor Immelman

    Remember this guy? No one thought he'd be a one-hit wonder. He can blame his troubles on various injuries, but the fact of the matter is he's been a non-factor for a while now.

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf:


This week: Canadian Open


Group A

  1. Stephen Ames
  2. Luke Donald

Not much to choose from in Group A this week, and as strange as it sounds, Stephen Ames is probably the best choice. Donald is simply the next best option because he can win anytime he tees it up. He hasn't shown much this year, but that could change quickly.

Group B

  1. Sean O'Hair
  2. Retief Goosen
  3. Hunter Mahan
  4. Scott McCarron

Group B is relatively strong this week, so you don't want to make a mistake here. O'Hair and Goosen are safe bets, and most teams will roster them this week. Mahan should also be a popular choice, only because of his name, but he might offer a chance to gain some ground on the competition. McCarron is the sleeper pick, and your most likely place to make up some ground. His upside might be limited - see his final round last week - but he's capable of racking up a bunch of points on days one through three.

Group C

  1. Paul Casey
  2. Ricky Barnes

Group C has a lot of talent this week, but it also has a lot of traps. Casey and Barnes are both making their first start at this event, but there should be no disadvantage as everyone in the field is new to the course. Casey needs only to put his final round at the British Open behind him to succeed this week, and Barnes seems to improve every week. My only worry with Barnes is the Canadian Open is not a high-profile event. He seems to play very well on the big stages, let's hope that carries over to this one.

Starters Round One

  1. Stephen Ames
  2. Retief Goosen
  3. Sean O'Hair
  4. Paul Casey

Maybe I'm putting to much emphasis on the British Open as three of my four starters played well there last week, but at a new venue, there's little else to go on. Casey seems like a stable individual who won't get too down about his final-round collapse last week, which means he'll be OK from the start this week. Goosen and O'Hair played well throughout the week at St. Andrews, and there's no reason to think that won't carry over. Ames is always ready to play at this event, and he'll start well this week.

Round Two and Going Forward:

Maybe I'm crazy, but Ames has a pretty good hold on the starting spot in Group A this week, and it will be up to Donald to show me something before I put him in the starting line-up. Goosen and O'Hair also have a strong hold on the starting spots in Group A. It will likely take more than one poor round to pull either player. On the other hand, Mahan is pretty streaky, and a good start on Thursday might warrant a start on Friday. McCarron is a tough one this week as there's no way I can start him Sunday, yet I want to be sure he's taking to this course. A possible start Friday or Saturday looks to be the only opportunity to get McCarron in there. Casey appears to be an easy start all four rounds in Group C, but I am not going to underestimate Barnes. He's finally living up to his talent and a win is not far away. I'll evaluate Group c on a nightly basis this week.
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