Cleat Geeks

Off the Tee: RBC Canadian Open

With just a week between major championships on this year’s schedule, it would seem that tournament – which is this week’s Canadian Open – would get a little lost in the shuffle.

Photo by: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

And while it’s far from the strongest field of the season, it still has a number of strong players, including the top two in the world rankings, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. Players are either tuning up for next week’s PGA Championship or trying to make a big splash to catapult their careers forward.

Last year, Day held off Bubba Watson by a stroke to pick up a key victory ahead of his first major title a few weeks later at the PGA.

“I’m going to try to soak it in as much as possible,” Day said in the minutes after his win last summer in Canada. “These are very hard to come by, and I’m looking forward to celebrating. But confidence-wise, my confidence is over the moon right now.”

That certainly proved to be the case as he moved forward a few weeks later with the biggest win of his career. And he’s since backed in up with three more victories and several more close calls this season.

Johnson, the U.S. Open champion, officially finished with a top 10 at The Open last week (a tie for 9th) but was worlds behind champion Henrik Stenson and runner-up Phil Mickelson and no sort of a serious threat to win a second straight major.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to some warm weather, playing on some fast greens,” he said. “It will be nice. I think it’s a golf course where if I drive it well, I’m going to play pretty well there.”

Now the question becomes one of fatigue for these golfers and others who will play these three straight weeks. Will one of them emerge or will someone come out of nowhere?

 

Picks

Photo by; David Cannon/Getty Images

Photo by; David Cannon/Getty Images

Danny Lee – The young pro played great two weeks ago in the Scottish Open and poorly last week at The Open. We’ll say bounce-back time.

Matt Kuchar – It only seems like this guy plays every week because he pretty much plays every week. And he’s usually in contention.

Brandt Snedeker – Sneds has quietly put together a pretty decent season, with five top 10s and a win in California. Now it needs a victory north of the border to bolster his Ryder Cup chances.

Longshot – Sam Saunders – The grandson of Arnold Palmer will never totally shed that title, but “PGA Tour winner” would be a title he’d sure like to add to it. He has two top 10s this month.

 

Tiger shuts it down

To the surprise of almost nobody, Tiger Woods officially announced July 19 that he will not play the PGA Championship, or any other events on the 2015-16 schedule. Through his agent, Woods said he’s still “progressing nicely” on his recovery from multiple back surgeries and other ailments. One wonders how long he might be out if his progress weren’t going “nicely.”

We wrote about Tiger a few weeks ago and not much has changed from those words. He still has one of the great records in all of golf, or even sports, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe we will ever see that sort of form from him again. The next time he’s eligible to play a major championship will be next April’s Masters, approaching nine years since the last time he won a major title.

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