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2023 RBC Canadian Open Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 05 Jun 2023

RORY McILROY will be looking to become the first player to win three consecutive RBC Canadian Open titles at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Toronto this week. 

Victory for the Northern Irishman would make him only the fourth three-time champion, joining Tommy Armour, Sam Snead, and Lee Trevino. And with the US Open looming large on the horizon, McIlroy could do with making a decent fist of his defence.

This hasn’t turned out to be the year he wanted. He began it as the world No.1 but has now failed to third in the rankings. He began The Masters with many pundits tipping him to finally break his duck at Augusta, but he missed the cut and then withdrew from the RBC Heritage.

He returned for the Wells Fargo Championship at his beloved Quail Hollow but could only finish in a tie for 47th and although he finished tied seventh at the US PGA Championship he was never in contention.

He started the final round of the Memorial in a share of the lead but finished with a 75 after missing too many fairways again.

It is easy to forget that he won the CJ Cup, was tied second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and third at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.

Rory McIlroy

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Also looking for a big week will be Englishman Justin Rose. He has emerged from a slump in form and is re-energised as he looks to secure a place in Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup team. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year and has followed it with several good performances.

And with the US Open taking place next week, Rose will be looking to use this week to tune up for the season’s third major.

Rose, who will make his fifth start in the RBC Canadian Open, is currently ranked No. 24 on the FedEx Cup and no. 28 in the world. A European stalwart with the Ryder Cup and DP World Tour, Rose is a former US Open winner, past FedEx Cup champion, and gold medalist at the 2016 Olympics. 

As well as his victory at Pebble Beach, Rose finished tied sixth at The Players Championship, tied 16th at The Masters, tied ninth at the US PGA Championship and tied 12th at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial.

He has come a long way since missing his first 21 cuts on the DP World Tour. His first success on the PGA Tour came at the Memorial Tournament in 2010 and he has since gone on to win 11 times on the PGA Tour, the most by any English golfer. His crowning glory came when he won the US Open in 2013. He has also won 11 times on the DP World Tour and in 2016 won the gold medal at the Olympic Games. He has won two WGC events and represented Europe in the Ryder Cup on five occasions.

Fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who will make his second start in Canada, is a past winner on the PGA Tour and is another who is enjoying a good year. He finished tied sixth at the WM Phoenix Open, tied fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, second at The Players Championship, tied third at the Wells Fargo Championship, and tied fifth at the Byron Nelson Championship. The only thing missing from his CV this season is a win.

There is a strong European presence in Canada, with US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick looking to continue his superb season.

He won the RBC Heritage and finished tied 10th at The Masters. Fitzpatrick is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour and has also won six times on the DP World Tour. Fitzpatrick only joined the PGA Tour in 2020 but has already collected almost $19.5m in prize money.

“I am really looking forward to returning to Canada and competing in the RBC Canadian Open in front of the amazing Canadian golf fans,” said Fitzpatrick. “Having won the RBC Heritage, I am hopeful to play well at Oakdale and keep that momentum going into the U.S. Open.”

They will be will be joined by fellow European stars Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry. Lowry is a two-time PGA Tour winner and a past Open Championship winner while Fleetwood, who has two top-10 PGA Tour finishes this season, has won seven international titles, and is long overdue a first PGA Tour success.

Fleetwood finished in a tie for fourth at the CJ Cup, tied third at the Valspar Championship, tied fifth at the Wells Fargo and tied 18th at the US PGA. He is definitely heading in the right direction.

Corey Conners provides the best chance of a home winner. The 31-year-old is one of the most consistent performers on the PGA Tour. He won the Texas Open and in 15 starts ahead of the Memorial had enjoyed nine top-25 finishes. He would love nothing more than to win his home open - and would be a hugely popular champion.

Tournament Winners

It was won in 2015 by Jason Day, in 2016 and 2017 by Jonathan Vegas, in 2018 by Dustin Johnson and in 2019 and 2022 by Rory McIlroy. There was no tournament in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.

Form Guide

Justin Rose has returned to the winners’ circle this season and looks to be close to his best again. This is a course that will suit him. Rory McIlroy is looking to win for a third time and will have huge support.

The Course

Oakdale Golf & Country Club's original course was designed and built in 1926 by Stanley Thompson. It is a tree-lined course with a tributary of the Humber River coming into play on several holes. A major renovation, overseen by Doug Carrick, took place in the 1990s.

To Win:

Justin Rose. Coming back to his best

Each Way:

Rory McIlroy. Loves Canada

Each Way:

Tommy Fleetwood. Course will suit his game

Five to Follow:

Justin Rose. Loves tough courses

Rory McIlroy. If he drives the ball well, he wins

Tommy Fleetwood. Enjoying a good year

Shane Lowry. Has shown some excellent recent form

Corey Conners. As consistent as they come

Five Outsiders to Watch:

Matt Kuchar. Hits it straight so should do well here

Mackenzie Hughes. Would love to win on home soil

Adam Svensson.Another genuine home hope

Adam Hadwin. Could do with a good week

Taylor Pendrith. Underrated

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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