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Power Rankings - RBC Canadian Open

There's not much I can write that will touch upon the depth of the 2015 Open Championship at St. Andrews. The sheer volume of compelling story lines could, alone, fill a book. I will say this, St. Andrews provided yet another reason why its grounds are so revered amongst those who play the game. With howling winds, torrential downpours and perfect weather, The Old Course not only held up to the challenge, it demonstrated that guile, skill and a hot putter are just as important as a 350 yard drive in a era primarily notable for equipment advances and Tiger-proofing. 

The Canadian Open, sponsored this year by RBC, might not be quite as old as St. Andrews and the Open Championship, but it predates The Masters and falls just 9 years the junior to the U.S. Open. History, it seems, comes this week in spades as well. Players will battle Jack Nicklaus' first solo design, Glen Abbey Golf Course, a 7,273 yard, par 72 opened in 1977 as the permanent home of the Canadian Open. That is, until they reintroduced a rotation of courses throughout the country after 22 consecutive tournaments.

Given the rotation, an archetype is difficult to pin down. Brandt Snedeker won in 2013, so that checks the box for excellent putting, but, really, that will help just about anywhere. Ask Zach Johnson about that. Look for players who tend toward above-average in Greens in Regulation and Driving Accuracy without completely giving up driving distance. They don't need to be long to win here, but averaging over 285 or so should be sufficient.

For those of you not familiar with my Power Rankings, I'll be listing the Top-15 with their Total Aggregate (TA), a number that combines recent performance with course history and some select other metrics, and the change (CHG) from the last tournament they participated in. Total Aggregate is out of 100, with a lower number indicating a better ranking.

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Power Rankings

  1. Matt Kuchar - TA: 22.125, CHG: (+8.4) - Golf's steady Eddie, Matt Kuchar seems to have finally found his way back to toward his usual self. Of course, only if you except his typical weak performance in a major, tumbling down the scoreboard on the weekend to 58th. I'll forgive him, mostly for his T4 and T2 finishes in this tournament, the latter of which came at Glen Abbey. 
  2. Ryan Palmer - TA: 27.38, CHG: (+14) - Had to double take and check the math, not because Palmer is a bad player, it's that he's not quite the statistical makeup I espoused earlier. Regardless, Palmer has strung together five straight cuts including a Top 10 and two Top 30s. Picked up a T31 in his last visit to Canada, also at Glen Abbey. Think consistency versus mega-upside here.
  3. Brooks Koepka - TA: 31.13, CHG: (+12.4) - Koepka didn't exactly tear apart St. Andrews en route to a T10, instead he found a way to save one stroke over the previous day through each round. His 10-under finish made for his second best finish in a major and his best, by far, in three attempts at The Open. He's never played the RBC Canadian Open, but given the rotation of courses, experience at this particular course still comes at a premium.
  4. Scott Piercy - TA: 33.13, CHG: (+19.8) - Chatter surrounding his re-ascendance to victory followed his solid start to the 2015 season, but he never quite made it over the hump. Enter the Barbasol Championship, last week's opposite-field event the The Open. He won by three strokes on strength of back-to-back 65s on the weekend. You could call it kismet, since it's just in time for Piercy to return to the site of his previous victory in 2012 at the Canadian Open.
  5. Jason Day - TA: 34.25, CHG: (+18) - Coming off yet another close call at a major, Jason Day looks free from his swooning troubles and has to be hungry to close something out this year. His track record in this tournament isn't particularly solid, but look no further than his last two starts, both in majors, to demonstrate just where his game is at. If he wins, he's a must start for the PGA Championship as well.
  6. Andres Romero - TA: 34.833, CHG: (+16.8) - A weak field always makes for some unusual appearances, not that Romero isn't deserving. In his last four starts, Romero has two Top 10s and a Top 15, so he's doing something well right now. More significant, however, is his track record at the Canadian Open, pulling in two Top 25s and a 3rd place finish in his last three starts at the tournament. I haven't looked at DFS values yet, but he's almost always pretty darn cheap. Pick him up before folks realize he's started playing decent golf this season.
  7. Chez Reavie - TA: 38.13, CHG: (+7) - Remember what I said about driving accuracy and GIR? Reavie is the exact embodiment of my statement above, averaging just over 285yds from the tee, ranking 4th in fairways and landing 25th on the list in GIR. He's linked together four straight paydays, including three Top 25s, as he heads into a Canadian Open. He's got a solid track record in this event, having gone 3-for-3 with a Top 15 in his last three attempts.
  8. Tony Finau - TA: 38.75, CHG: (-18) - Don't read too much into his MC at the John Deere Classic, as it was his fourth event in as many weeks. Not that a young guy can't handle that much golf, of course, but its hard to maintain focus so consistently for so long. He's not played the Canadian Open before, but that hasn't stopped him from posting 13 Top 25s in his rookie season. He's the real deal, and I, for one, am happy he'll be around for at least another season.
  9. Graham DeLaet - TA: 40, CHG: (-3) - The Canadian elephant in the room.'s First Look mentioned that the Canadian contingent was being led by Nick Taylor and David Hearn this week. As the highest ranked player from the tournaments eponymous nation, surely he deserves a little more respect than that. Finished 7th last year on a different course, but also comes in having strung together seven consecutive cuts--his best since a stretch of ten to kick off the 2014 season. '
  10. Will Wilcox - TA: 41.17, CHG: (+4) - Will Wilcox is having a heckuva sophomore season, having nearly doubled his earnings over 2014. He's fresh of a solo second at the Barbasol Championship where he lost to a revitalized and scalding-hot Scott Piercy. I should mention that his runner-up finish is his best finish on TOUR and comes on the back of a T8 at the John Deere Classic. Don't sleep on him.
  11. Luke Donald - TA: 41.25, CHG: (+1.2) - Don't believe for a moment that this former World #1 is washed up completely. He might not reach the same pinnacle, but he's still got plenty of gas left in the tank. Granted, I said much the same about Tiger Woods last week, only to be monumentally embarrassed. Statistically, he's still playing notably worse than even last year, but given the short time frame of his recent successes, his improved play might not show through yet. 
  12. William McGirt - TA: 41.88, CHG: (-1.6) - A Top 25 and two runner-up finishes in his last three starts at the Canadian Open. There's not much more to write about him after those numbers, but I'll babble on for a moment anyway. He may still fly in under the radar despite his history here, as he's shaping up to make more cuts this year while netting less than half as many Top 10s as compared to 2014. He's cashing checks, but he's still due for a big one this year.
  13. Stewart Cink - TA: 42.125, CHG: (+2) - Cink is another great example of how to stay relatively competitive while edging out of prime years. Posted a T20 at St. Andrews to allay any fears after back-to-back MCs heading into this week's tournament. With a Top 5 and Top 15 in his last three starts at the Canadian Open, its hard not to like Cink here.
  14. Jim Furyk - TA: 43, CHG: (-5.2) - I shouldn't need to tell you that Furyk should be higher. I could do that, but I have an unbending personal code that precludes my ability to do so. The upside? That code allows Funyuns. As many as I can eat. Furyk finished second here last year and 9th the last time the Canadian Open was at Glen Abbey. Start him if he's not ludicrously overvalued.
  15. Bubba Watson - TA: 43.25, CHG: (-16.6) - His two MC's at the last two majors drag down his numbers quite a bit, as do two previous MC's at the Canadian Open. In a shallow pool, even the most dubious of swimmers can manage to win races, so remember that next time someone says you'll never amount to anything. Bubba is always a threat, but whether that's a a threat to win or miss the cut, I have no idea. Flip a coin?
Thanks for Reading!
Kyle Donovan