Sure hope somebody was paying attention last week. After a rough month or so, I came out with my fourth winner of the season (to go with a few seconds as well). I had Patrick Cantlay as one of the three picks I give out, at 18-1. And danged if he didn’t close with a 64 to come from four off the pace to get the trophy at The Memorial. That’s not bad. Maybe some of you out there had him too.
Now it’s on to the Canadian Open, the last PGA stop before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. This week they’re in Hamilton, Ontario, on a course that hasn’t hosted in awhile. And four of the top 10 ranked players on the planetary food chain are in the field.
Dustin Johnson is the favorite, at 11-2. Next is No. 1 Brooks Koepka. Neither has teed it up since Koepka finished first and Johnson second at last month’s PGA Championship. Johnson also was runnerup at the first year’s first major, the Masters in April. For whatever it’s worth I have him at Pebble in my yearlong pool that I select in December. Hey, he’s won there before and was leading the 2010 Open on those fabled links before blowing up in the final round. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This week he’s trying to defend this title. He also finished second in 2013 and ’16. Koepka, if you didn’t know by now, doesn’t win many non-majors. But that doesn’t remotely matter when you’ve won four of the last eight majors you’ve started. Funny how that works.
Rory McIlroy is 15-2. But he missed the cut at the PGA. Before that he’d been in the top 10 in 10 straight tourneys. He just hasn’t won much, though he did take the Players in March, his lone victory in the last 13 months. He’s not driving the ball particularly straight, and accuracy is a big deal on this relatively short layout. It’s also his first ever appearance in this tourney.
Justin Thomas is 15-1, followed by Matt Kuchar at 19 and Sergio Garcia at 24. Webb Simpson is 24 as well. Scott Piercy, the 2012 champ, is right around there too. Checking in at 30 is 2013 winner Brandt Snedeker and Bubba Watson.
Henrik Stenson is 35, Jason Dufner 40 and Shane Lowry 45. Jim Furyk, who won in 2006-07 and has been playing well for a soon-to-be Senior, is 55. Adam Hadwin, trying to become the first Canadian to win this thing in over six decades, is 60. Zach Johnson, Brian Harman and Nick Watney are 80, just in case.
This is a tough one. Heck, they’re all tough. The week before a major, who knows for sure what’s going on, especially with the big-time guys. I’m kind of liking Sergio Garcia a little, and I’m not exactly sure why. But his odds are enticing enough. And you know me, I’m staying away from chalk. At least maybe until next week. I would toss a few bucks on Jim Furyk, just because. He’s a real longshot, yet he might have a semi-legit chance on this layout. Just don’t go too crazy. He is older. I was tempted to go with Matt Kuchar as my third, since he’s usually steady. But instead I’m going to take a stab at Brandt Snedeker and hope his putter gets going. Because when it does he turns into a different golfer. It just doesn’t happen that often.
See you next at Pebble, where of course Tiger Woods won by a hundred 19 years ago. And the word is he might be back. Or something close to it.
Pick: Sergio Garcia (24-10)
Pick: Jim Furyk (55-1)
Pick: Brandt Snedeker (30-1)