2023 RBC Canadian Open Odds & Expert PGA Tour Picks: Bet Tyrrell Hatton & Nick Taylor at Oakdale
Via Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrrell Hatton of England tees off on the 18th tee during the first round of the 48th Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, USA on Thursday, June 1, 2023.
Click arrow to expand the RBC Canadian Open odds via bet365
|Erik van Rooyen||+30000|
|Seung Yul Noh||+35000|
|Paul Haley II||+35000|
What a weekend in the world of professional golf.
Rose Zhang picked up a historic victory in her pro debut on the LPGA, Viktor Hovland won in a playoff over Denny McCarthy at the brutally difficult Memorial Tournament, and even up-and-comer Tom McKibbin prevailed on the DP World Tour.
It’ll be difficult to expect a repeat performance this week as the RBC Canadian Open takes center stage on the PGA Tour schedule, with many of the game’s biggest names resting up before next week’s U.S. Open.
Of course, Rory McIlroy is one of the big names who will be playing, and he is a two-time defending champion of the Canadian Open whose titles came in different decades (with wins in 2019 and 2022 after the 2020 and 2021 Canadian Opens were not held due to the pandemic).
Let’s talk about McIlroy, who was somehow tied for the lead at Muirfield Village entering the final round, despite having something less than his A game – in fact, maybe something that more closely resembled his C-minus game. Spoiler alert: Things didn’t get much better on Sunday, as he posted a final-round 75 that included seven bogeys and left him with a share of seventh place.
It's obvious that his game isn’t quite there right now. It’s also obvious that he can contend with something less than his best stuff.
All of which leads to a Catch-22, of sorts.
Contending for a tournament at the highest level while still searching for something might be the greatest mark of superstardom. It’s something Tiger Woods did fairly frequently in his prime, and McIlroy should be commended for his ability to accomplish this. The flip side is that it must be tough to try to find it while in the spotlight, with every single shot being showed on the TV broadcast.
I’m a firm believer that it’s better long-term to get into the heat of the battle and lose than to finish way back, but there’s something to be said about the relative anonymity of attempting to figure things out while finishing in, say, 53rd place, where that spotlight is dimmer and the ensuing criticism isn’t as harsh.
To his credit, McIlroy insisted afterward that he took more optimism from his performance than pessimism.
“It's a step in the right direction,” he said. “I feel a little better about everything compared to where I was a couple weeks ago at Oak Hill. So, it's obviously not the result that I wanted today, but I feel like there was a few more positives than there was a couple weeks ago.”
McIlroy will go after the three-peat on a third different course, as Oakdale Golf and Country Club will host this venerable tournament for the first time. The course is a par-72 that plays to 7,264 yards (and here’s a strange anomaly – according to PGATour.com, the front-nine will play nearly 400 yards longer than the back-nine on this composite course using 18 of the club’s 27 holes). All of which should have us looking at leaderboards from the Sony Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and RBC Heritage for suggestions of players who should fare well this week.
One more note before we get to the picks: U.S. Open sectional qualifying is Monday, with “Golf’s Longest Day” consisting of 36 holes at each site. There are usually a decent amount of withdrawals from that week’s PGA Tour event after the results are finalized, so it’s important for us to keep a close eye on the field list and adjust as necessary over the next few days.
And with that, let’s get on with it, starting with one of the few big-name players who’s been trending in the right direction for a long time now.
Outright Winner (Short odds)
One player to win the tournament
Tyrrell Hatton (+1400)
Over the years, I’ve had a hard time betting Tyrrell Hatton. What makes him undeniably entertaining to watch also makes him incredibly volatile — which is to say, one little thing can set him off, turning his round into a flood of expletives and middle fingers. I’d rather trust my investments to a greater sense of stability, but I’m finally ready to overlook any potential negatives and focus on the outweighing positives, something I believe Hatton is ready to do as well.
He’s finished in the top 20 in each of his last five starts, including a T12 last week at Muirfield Village, and his Strokes Gained numbers (2.033 SG: Total) are through the roof, ranking behind only Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm in what objectively remains as the greatest overall barometer of performance.
There’s more, too: This might not sound like much, but Hatton is accustomed to competing the week prior to a major, playing before each of the last four. While the results are a mixed bag – T5, T24 and two MCs – it’s clear that he enjoys trying to step on the gas pedal entering a bigger tournament, so there shouldn’t be any worry about him soft-playing it like perhaps some of his elite-level peers in this field.
While I don’t love the price here, last week he was twice this number with six players in front of him, and this week there are only two who opened with shorter odds, so that feels like a favorable comparison.
Over the previous five seasons, only four players have gained more than two strokes against the field overall for a full season on the PGA Tour– McIlroy in 2022, Rahm in 2021, McIlroy in 2019 and Dustin Johnson in 2018. Those players combined for 10 victories in those years, and none failed to get at least one. Simply put, Hatton is playing too well to keep him from the winner’s circle any longer.
Outright Winner (Long odds)
One player to win the tournament
Nick Taylor (+7500)
Here’s a fun game: Take a swig every time you hear this week that Pat Fletcher was the last Canadian to win his national championship, way back in 1954. There’s a chance that little fact will come up on a few occasions, as there have been plenty of close calls over the years, but nobody has broken the lengthy drought.
The likes of Corey Conners, Adam Svensson and Adam Hadwin will attract plenty of attention this week – and for good reason – but I’ve got my eye on Nick Taylor, who owns a pair of runner-up finishes this year (one with Hadwin at the Zurich Classic) and has a history of strong results on similar types of courses.
Despite missed cuts in his last two starts, Taylor has gained strokes with his irons in nine of his last 11, so he’s running hot right now. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that the next Canadian to win this event will be one with lesser expectations than others, and Taylor certainly fits that profile.
Potential selections for one-and-done pools
Justin Rose (+2000)
We’re getting to the point of the season when there’s not much point in “saving” a potential OAD pick for later, considering there are just 14 events remaining on the schedule. I could see Justin Rose as a potential selection for either of the year’s final two majors, I suppose, or maybe a FedExCup playoff event, but chances are you’ve got bigger names penciled in for each of those, meaning Rose could be an odd-man-out if you don’t use him soon.
With six straight finishes of 36th or better, including a pair of top-10 results, Rose offers a high ceiling in this field combined with one of the highest floors.
David Lipsky (+11000)
A three-day title contention culminated in a final-round 5-over 77 and 12th-place finish last week, but that’s nothing to be too upset about for David Lipsky, whose game might not be completely suited for Muirfield Village. I do think it should align nicely with Oakdale, though, and he’s obviously playing some solid golf right now. We’ll be banking on a bounce-back performance here, but it’s certainly possible he stays hot across the border.
Chez Reavie (+17500)
It’s rare that we’re looking deep into the triple-digits for an OAD play, but 2008 Canadian Open winner Chez Reavie offers a nice combination of potentially low ownership and some win equity. Besides the three courses I mentioned in the intro that we’ve seen already this year, there’s a chance that Oakdale could wind up being a bit TPC River Highlands-ish, the site of Reavie’s second of three career PGA Tour victories four years ago.
I’ll sprinkle a little on him for an outright this week, as he holds a lot of value for those trying to play catch-up in pools who need to go a bit contrarian to make that happen.
One player to finish in the top five
Michael Kim (+1600 for top-five finish)
I listed Hatton for my favorite outright, Rose for OAD pools and Shane Lowry below for DFS, which just about maxes out my interest in the top of the board. As such, I’ll dig a little deeper for a top-five this week, going to the hot hand of Michael Kim. While he owns just one top-five finish this year, that statistic is a bit of a misnomer, as he’s posted finishes of sixth and seventh in two of his last three starts.
There are signs that Kim’s strategic game is a strong fit for this course, as he plays some of his best golf on shorter, tighter tracks.
One player to finish in the top 10
Sam Stevens (+750 for top-10 finish)
There hasn’t been a whole lot of rookie talk this year, just because there haven’t been a whole lot of rookies performing like those from last year’s class, which included Cameron Young, Mito Pereira, Davis Riley and Sahith Theegala. Of this season’s freshmen, Taylor Montgomery started hot and has cooled off, while Thomas Detry and Eric Cole have each shown some flashes.
Sam Stevens has been among the most consistent, at least recently. The Oklahoma State product has made the cut in seven of his last eight starts, including a pair of top-three finishes at the Corales Puntacana Championship and Valero Texas Open. He’s proven to be a strong tee-to-green player who often loses strokes on the greens, but on those weeks when the putter cooperates, he contends. I’m willing to take a chance on this being one of those weeks.
One player to finish in the top 20
Brandon Wu (+333 for top-20 finish)
It’s been a bit all-or-nothing for Brandon Wu lately. In his last nine starts, he’s missed the cut five times but also has three top-20 finishes – and the one made cut outside the top-20 was just a stroke beyond that cutoff. That’s a ratio on which I’m willing to take a chance. For a golfer with positive Strokes Gained numbers in every category except putting (and even that one is just barely negative), Wu could be on the verge of another strong week.
One player to finish in the top 30
Aaron Cockerill (+280 for top-30 finish)
I'm taking a stab here on a Canadian who plies his craft almost exclusively on the DP World Tour, where he’s enjoying a breakthrough campaign. He’s a strong putter with finishes of 21st or better in each of his last five starts who should be fully motivated to not only show off his best stuff to the home-country crowds, but to also prove to his countrymen in the field that his game travels. I think he makes for a very nice under-the-radar DFS play this week, as well.
One player to finish in the top 40
Ludvig Aberg (-120 for top-40 finish)
There was already going to be plenty of interest in the shiny, new toy to hit the PGA Tour, as bettors tend to flock toward players who haven’t been readily available in the past. That interest is likely to multiply in the wake of Zhang’s victory this past weekend. The winner of PGA Tour U and erstwhile No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, Ludvig Aberg will similarly make his professional debut at the highest level, but we shouldn’t expect the same type of immediate success.
Unlike Zhang, who won the NCAA title just prior to turning pro, Aberg closed out his amateur days by finishing T29 in the NCAAs. That’s hardly reason to worry, as he won both the Big 12 title and the Norman Regional in his previous two starts, but I’ll still attack the Swede from a more cautious standpoint this week, hoping the adrenaline can carry him to a top-40 finish, if not better.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS lineups
If you watched McIlroy contend without his best stuff and you’re salivating to roster him this week in hopes of even just a slight improvement, I won’t dissuade you. In my eyes, though, this is a field which lacks depth, so I’ll likely be focusing on balanced lineups over the so-called “stars-and-scrubs” approach.
Staying away from Rory means saving some valuable salary, and I don’t mind a pivot to Shane Lowry, who’s been very good from tee-to-green recently. His cold putter didn’t quite heat up at Muirfield Village, but it wasn’t frozen to previous milkshake levels, as he gained 0.27 strokes per round on the greens in a T16 result. If that flatstick warms up just a little bit more, he’s in line for a top-five finish at this one.
A medium-priced option for DFS lineups
I was tipped off to Hubbard starting to play some solid golf a few weeks ago, and it manifested itself this past weekend when he grabbed a share of the lead late in the third round, only to bogey his final three holes and follow with a final-round 79 to finish T30.
That had to sting, but he’s a resilient type who should find this track a bit more palatable for his game. Those 10 bogeys in his last 21 holes should have our fellow DFSers scurrying to other mid-tier plays, which could leave Hubbard lower-owned than he should be.
A lower-priced option for DFS lineups
It’s been a mixed bag of results this season for Shelton, who's proven to be much too talented for the Korn Ferry circuit, yet he's still trying to show off his best stuff on the PGA Tour. However, I do like his T20 at Pebble and T29 at Colonial, which should portend a similar result here.
One player to post the low round Thursday
Ben Silverman (+9000 for FRL)
Despite three top-three finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour this season, including a victory, Ben Silverman is perhaps best remembered for missing the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, yet still winning the team portion of that event, thanks to the performance of noted 10-handicap Aaron Rodgers.
The Canadian knows how to go low without getting that many pops, though, as he’s posted eight scores of 68 or better in his last 11 rounds. On a week which should offer plenty of variance, I don’t mind a big-number play on a few Thursday options.
One player who should beat comparable players
Eric Cole (+8000)
I made the mistake of playing a tournament matchup against Cole last week – and the bigger mistake of thinking it was an easy cash at the midway point. Through two rounds, Justin Suh was leading the Memorial at 8-under, while Cole was 1-over, just barely squeezing inside the cut line by a couple of shots.
I’ll always take a nine-shot head start, but when Suh played the weekend rounds in 77-79, and Cole went 70-74, that became not just a losing ticket, but a loser by three strokes. I’m not making the same mistake this time around, as I believe there’s some value in playing Cole against similarly priced players, such as Joseph Bramlett, Harry Hall and Maverick McNealy.
Also Receiving Votes
Other players who should provide value
Sahith Theegala (+2800), Adam Hadwin (+4000), Adrian Meronk (+4500), Aaron Rai (+9000), Mackenzie Hughes (+9000), Akshay Bhatia (+10000), Ben Martin (+11000), Patton Kizzire (+15000), Kramer Hickok (+25000) & Paul Haley II (+30000)