One look at the bookmaker odds for this week’s Canadian Open shows that they aren’t too keen to give back the huge profits they made across the Open Championship last week. Louis cost me and many thousands of punters a fortune last week when he came in at a whopping 250/1. Laying the South African after Round 2 wasn’t the best bet of my life but, hey, at least I’ve come clean and we did constantly say that we love South Africans at the Open! What Louis does prove is that the god damn predictable doesn’t always happen and the Canadian Open is a case in point. One look at the betting for this tournament would suggest that it’s a foregone conclusion that one of 6 players will win. Casey (first time in Canada), Donald (hardly prolific), O’Hair (can see the logic, but 16/1!), Goosen (threw it away last year), Kuchar (please!) and Clark are all 25/1 or shorter. Now that is shocking.
Now follow my logic around this absurdity. The Canadian Open has a habit of throwing up the odd crazy result. Nathan Green triumphed over the choking Goosen last year in a play off and made the odd punter very happy who had grabbed 200/1 pre event. 2008 was even crazier when Chez Reavie (exactly!) won the event on his first ever visit to the Canadian Open and in his rookie PGA Tour season. Safe to say he’s never been seen again at the top of any leaderboard. Add to that the fact that the Canadian Open is a truly established Open event that tours the best courses that Maple Leaf country has to offer. 2010 sees a visit to the truly classical St Georges Golf Club Par 70 course in the suburbs of Toronto where professional golf has not been played since 1968. Hardly a pre-requisite for such “sure footed” form by the market makers, is it? Then we look at the tournament’s form book. The Champions List is absolutely dominated by US winners since 1994. Green last year and Singh in 2005 are the only non-US winners of this coveted Open. Year on year big priced players from outside of the World's Top 200 contend and finish T5, so lets look for a little value this week with my 10 points. Don’t be fooled, the 7,000 yard St Georges track looks classical and tough so I’m not expecting crazily low scoring. Instead I’m going for a team of neat and tidy players who have decent historical form across a number of tournaments that are based in the Northern US states.
In a world of poor pricing the 40s with Stan James about Mahan actually appeals for a number of reasons. On a course where ball striking will be vital Mahan ranks No1 for Total Driving on Tour and 2nd in Ball Striking. I’d be lying if I said the Texan who went to Oklahoma State was in stellar form but that is why he is 40/1. After a number of Missed Cuts Mahan started to show his game at St Andrews and despite shooting 76 in the chaos of Friday afternoon shot -5 for the other 54 holes. Motivation won’t be an issue either with Mahan sitting in 11th place “on the bubble” for automatic selection for the US Ryder Cup team. 4th in this tournament in 2004 and 5th in 2006 I’m selecting the Texan who thrives on tough courses to be one of the ‘names’ to contend this week. RESULT: T17
Regular readers will not be surprised that I’ve tipped up Snedeker this week as he is always on my watch list. There is obviously something about the Canadian air that Brandt enjoys as his 2 visits to the Canadian Open have gleaned 5th (09) and 7th (07) places. The beauty about Snedeker this week is that 50s offers real value as this guy plays fast bent/poa green courses brilliantly and if he doesn’t have the fortitude to win, there is a level of Each Way value. On a course where lack of length off the tee won’t be penalised, his wonderful short game that includes being Ranked Number 1 for putting on the PGA Tour will hold him in high esteem. Allied to that a record that includes a victory at the Wyndham Championship in 07 (Bent, tree-lined Par 70), 3rd at The Masters in 2008, 5th at Congressional (up-state tough Bent Par 70) in 09 and 8th at the recent Pebble Beach US Open shows that the guy plays Open type courses extremely well. RESULT: M/C
In a PGA Tour world of short prices I’m more than happy to grab the 66s about Major winner Mr Immelman this week. OK he let Double Your Money backers down last week by bogeying the Road Hole and missing out on a Top 20 double profit by 1 shot, but he gave us a superb run for our money at St Andrews. Fact is Trevor’s game is in decent nick and he’s sure to take the next stage soon and contend for a win. Plays northern state tracks well and indeed he won his first PGA Tour event at Cog Hill Illinois in 2007. Allied to that tough Par 70 set ups hold no fears as he was 3rd going into the final round at Copperhead last year and I like the look of his 14th this year at Quail Hollow; a truly classical golf course that has similarities to St Georges in set-up. RESULT: T13
It's no surprise to me that “Arkansas boy” Molder has already been nibbled at in the early betting this week. If you are looking for a young US talent who is pulling together a consistent 2010 look no further than Molder. 4th in Maryland at Congressional behind Tiger Woods last year shouts that this guy can play northern state Par 70 golf. That result followed a 2nd at St Jude and was backed up by a Top 20 in Canada. Fast forward to 2010 and Molder already has 4 Top 10 finishes and over $1 million in the bank. A 5th in May at the classical Colonial Par 70 in Texas jumps off the page where he jointly led going into Sunday. This guy WILL win on the PGA Tour and at a tournament that has thrown up first time winners on bent /poa greens he plays naturally well on; I’m pleased to have Molder on my team. RESULT: Tied 4th
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the quiet Australian pop up on the leaderboard over the course of the next few days. 12th last time out at the John Deere Classic in Illinois highlights that Chalmers is at home ‘up state’ where many of his better performances have been. Take 2nd at Warwick Hills in Michigan behind Tiger in 2009 and 4th at TPC Deere Run in 2004. 2010 has seen a small renaissance in the Texas based Australian’s game with 3 Top 20s already and a solid $650,000 earned. With that new confidence I’m expecting a decent tournament from a player who will get good vibes in Canada from a 4th place finishes in 2000 and 2002. RESULT: Tied 4th
This perennial 2nd place finisher offers exceptional value this week at 150s with Uncle Joe. His resume is littered with Top 10 finishes across a whole host of classical courses including Colonial and Quail, allied to excellent performances on Northern state tracks like Westchester and Warwick Hills. However it’s his 2nd place finish behind Retief Goosen at Copperhead in 2009 that jumps off the page on a US Open tough Par 70. Players who play the Tampa track well often do well in Canada. Great timing therefore that the Rhode Island resident chose the John Deere Classic in Illinois to produce his best performance of 2010 to date when he finished 10th 2 weeks ago. RESULT: M/C
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 20:45BST 20.7.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.