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Canadian Open Preview: The Tour Heads North

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.

Maybe it's always been this way and I simply wasn't paying attention, but at some point in the recent past, a major victory wasn't just a major victory, it became a question. Let me explain.

Rory McIlroy goes wire-to-wire at the Open Championship and suddenly we all need to know how he stacks up against Tiger. That question in of itself is humorous to even broach at this point, but that's an argument for a later time. The point here is this; we simply can't enjoy McIlroy's performance for what it was -- a masterpiece. I'll let everyone else talk about what Rory might accomplish nine months or nine years from now, I want to focus on what he did last week. So let's recap. Against an incredibly strong field, with some of the best players in the world at the top of their game, Rory simply cruised to an Open Championship title. Sure, there were a couple moments -- one on Saturday and a couple on Sunday -- where it looked like someone else could take the reins, but for the most part, Rory was in control the entire way.

It is for that reason -- that he was challenged -- that Rory's win last weekend was more impressive than Martin Kaymer's a month prior at the U.S. Open. Sure, Kaymer absolutely destroyed the field, but when you have such a big lead, it's almost easier to pile on. Rory was on top the entire way, but there were some quality golfers on his tail almost the entire way as well, yet he never let go of his lead. That's quite a feat actually, to have some of the best players in the world nipping at your heels all week, yet never giving the impression that they have a realistic chance of beating you.

As we look ahead, Rory has the opportunity to do some great things on the golf course, but let's make sure we don't overlook the great things he does on the course -- while he's actually doing them.

This week:
Canadian Open - The Royal Montreal Golf Club, Ile Bizard, Quebec

Last Year:
Brandt Snedeker shot a final-round 70 on his way to a three-stroke victory over four players.


Jim Furyk

Furyk is a two-time winner at this event, which doesn't necessarily tell us how he'll fare on this particular course, but it does give us a sense of how seriously he takes this event. Factor in his fine play last week at the Open and it could be win No. 3 here.

Dustin Johnson

The runner-up last year, albeit on a different course, but it goes to show that DJ can handle the quick turnaround from the Open Championship to the Canadian Open. Like Furyk, DJ also played well last week, and if that carries over, he could be in for another top-5 this week.
Matt Kuchar

While it is a quality field this week, it doesn't run all that deep, and a golfer like Kuchar can rise to the top if his game is anywhere near peak. Looking at his results from the last month, he's obviously not peaking, but all it takes is one good round to get him back on track.
Brandt Snedeker

Snedeker is the defending champ this week, and he's finished in the top-10 here in three of his five starts. Yes, those results have come on different courses, but like the others on this list, it goes to show that he can play well the week after the Open Championship and that he's focused when playing up north.

Graham DeLaet

For whatever reason, Canadian's rarely play well at the Canadian Open, and DeLaet is no exception. chalk this one up as a hunch. I think DeLaet represents this week. DeLaet's poor track record at this event is more likely due to the state of his game rather than pressure, but he's grown a lot in the last 12 months, so maybe he can get over the Canadian Open hurdle.


Roberto Castro

Castro's early play was uneven at best, but his play lately has been down right awful. Castro has missed the cut in seven of his last nine events and has only one top-25 since March.

Ernie Els

Something tells me that is might take more than a week for Els to get back on track after last week's disaster. The worst part about his performance last week was that entering the week, many thought he had a shot at winning. That shot flew out the door as his wayward tee shot on the first hole found a spectator's head, and Els was a head case the remainder of the day. He's probably moved beyond that moment, but is he beyond the missed opportunity?

Mike Weir

Even at his peak, Weir rarely played well at this event, so there's no reason to think he'll play well in front of the home crowd in his current state. Granted, he has played better this year compared to his previous five, but there's still no consistency in his game.

Nick Watney

Remember a few weeks ago when it looked like Watney might have turned the corner? A few weeks later and it's the same old, uh, the new-old Watney as he's once again all over the place. Watney has the talent to contend any given week, but using him in a one-and-done format in his current state is insane.

Gonzalo Fernandez Castano

Speaking of buzz kills. Castano was the international flavor of the year heading into the 2014 season, but he's failed to produce at nearly every turn. Any hope of him turning his season around went out the door last week at the Open Championship when he missed the cut.


Last week:
Sergio Garcia (T2) - $785,910; Season - $3,859,117

This week:
Jim Furyk - This seems like the perfect place for Furyk to get back into the winner's circle. He's playing well coming into the week, and he seems to have an affinity for golfing north of the border.


Rank: 20,732

This Week:

Group A:
Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn

Group C:
Tim Clark, Charl Schwartzel


Last week:
Sergio Garcia (T2); Streak - 1

This week:
Jim Furyk - Might as well double-up with Furyk this week as he seems like a lock to at least make the weekend. Furyk may have had difficulty closing the last couple years, but he's generally reliable when it comes to making cuts.