RBC Canadian Open picks 2023: Why an Englishman will win in Canada
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RBC Canadian Open picks 2023: Why an Englishman will win in Canada

Aug 29, 2023

Betting Analysis

Believe it or not, there is a golf tournament taking place in Canada this week. And not just any golf tournament, but one of the more storied golf tournaments on the schedule—the RBC Canadian Open, the third-oldest continuously running tournament on tour behind only the Open Championship and the U.S. Open.

Unfortunately, news of the LIV Golf-PGA Tour merger has made the event an afterthought, marking the second straight year LIV drama has gotten in the way of Canada's tour stop. To our friends up north, we sincerely apologize.

RELATED: 15 lingering questions about the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger

Good news is, the gambling community is still fully focused on the happenings at Oakdale CC, and our panel is due to bag another winner this week.

Scroll down to see who we like this week at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open.

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Tommy Fleetwood (25-1, Bet365) — Weeks before a major are tough to predict: Who's working on stuff for next week, and who's just here for the appearance fee before they fly to LA? Fleetwood is motivated to get that first PGA Tour victory. This is a great course for him—the ball-striking has been good this year, and his putter can definitely heat up. I don't think he’ll be fazed much by the LIV stuff unlike other top players.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Tyrrell Hatton (11-1, DraftKings) — If anyone can unseat Rory, it's going to be the Brit. The approach remains elite and, all of a sudden, he's become one of the premier drivers in the world. The biggest key with Hatton (opposed to a Lowry most of all) is his putting. Hatton's gained on the greens in six straight events, while picking up five top-six finishes in his past ten starts.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Tyrrell Hatton (11-1, FanDuel) — Based on the assumptions I’m making for the new course this week, driving distance won't be the deciding factor, and given that, Tyrrell Hatton is in a great spot to break through at Oakdale. He's second in the field in SG/approach through putting over the past 50 rounds, via datagolf.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Sam Burns (14-1, DraftKings) — Burns is not a safe play, but in this situation – that's encouraging. His range of outcomes is massive but it's the ceiling that I’m most excited about. He finished T-6 at the Charles Schwab Challenge and backed it up with a solid T-16 last week at the Memorial. He drives it well, wedges it close and can get hot with the putter. It's the exact skill set you’d want to have around Oakdale Golf & Country Club.

RELATED: It sure sounds like Rory McIlroy got cursed out by a fellow player(!) at Tuesday's testy PGA Tour meeting

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Justin Rose (18-1, PointsBet) — Rose is the second-best player by weighted strokes-gained numbers over the past 36 rounds, per RickRunGood.com, trailing only Hatton. And Rose is having his best iron year since 2015, gaining 0.60 strokes/round on the field. His form is great coming in with consecutive top-12 finishes, plus the hot Sunday last year in Canada leading to a top-five.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest staff writer: Sahith Theegala (30-1, DraftKings) — The recent numbers are telling me to run far away from Theegala, but he has proven to run a little hot and cold early on in his PGA Tour career. Three of his four top 10s on tour this season have come after finishes of at least 39th or worse (he finished 58th last week). That gives me confidence he can bounce back in a great breakthrough spot here in Canada, where they’re all playing a brand-new course in Oakdale CC, removing any course-history advantage. The irons and putter are fine, if he can just limit the damage with the driver he’ll be in the mix.

Andy Lack, RickRunGood.com and Inside Golf podcast: Shane Lowry (20-1, DraftKings) — I’ve been riding the Shane Lowry train often this year, and I’m unwilling to give up now as he continues to ball-strike at an elite level. His putter is beginning to finally show signs of life as well. Lowry is coming off a 16th-place finish at the Memorial, where he gained two strokes off the tee and 3.3 strokes on approach. Lowry has now gained strokes off the tee in six straight starts and on approach in eight straight starts. He's also gained strokes putting in back-to-back starts for the first time since last summer. The putter will need to get going this week on a course where we should expect a 20-under par or lower champion, which would be my one concern with the former Open Champion. Yet Lowry ranks second in this field in opportunities gained, 14th in proximity inside 100 yards, and 11th in proximity 175-200 yards. There's little doubt in my mind that Lowry will be there come Sunday afternoon in Toronto.

Past results: As we head into summer, the panel remains as hot as ever, with 11 outright victories on the year as a group. Brandon Gdula leads the way with five of his own, and our newest expert picker, Andy Lack, checks in next with two. After a run of five winners in six events, we’ve gone 0-for-3 at the PGA, Colonial and the Memorial. It's time to get rolling again this week.

One of golf's most plugged-in insiders, Golf Digest senior writer Joel Beall, joined "The Loop" podcast to help break down Tuesday's news and analyze what we know so far. Listen below -- and make sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts:

Caddie: Adam Svensson (66-1, BetRivers) — All Canadian eyes are on Corey Conners after his win earlier this year and the great PGA, but don't look past Svensson. He, too, is a PGA Tour winner this season—and I’d prefer his wedge play and putting over Conners. It just feels like there's a bit too much pressure on Conners to become the first Canadian since the ‘50s to win the Canadian Open, whereas Svensson is flying more under the radar.

Mayo: Adrian Meronk (40-1, DraftKings) — If you followed the Polish Giraffe based solely on his American starts, nothing would really stand out. No finish better than T-14 (Honda) with no real whiff of contention. Go across the pond and it's a different story. He won in Rome at the Ryder Cup venue at the Italian Open a month ago, making it his third win in 12 months on the DP World Tour. Plus, he almost closed in Holland two weeks ago and settled for a T-5. He leads the DP World Tour in SG/off-the-tee and sits third in GIR, good for 15th in SG/approach. There's a reason he's up to No. 45 in the world rankings.

Gdula: Aaron Rai (100-1, FanDuel) — A lot of long shots saw their odds shorten a lot – but not Rai. His main issue is the putter, but at 110-1 odds, we’re getting a golfer who ranks ninth in the field in SG/tee-to-green over the past 50 rounds, per datagolf.

Gehman: Carson Young (90-1, DraftKings) — The last five events for Young are splendid from an advanced metrics standpoint. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, he's gained 14.52 strokes on approach and 11.29 strokes putting during that stretch. He has four top-21 finishes in his last six starts and is clearly playing some of the best golf of his career right now.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mark Hubbard (110-1, Bet365) — I’m surprised people aren't higher on Hubbard this week. His iron play has been superb over the past five events, gaining nearly a stroke per round on the field—in some strong events such as the PGA Championship and the Memorial. We know from his hot stretch of three top-five finishes later in 2022 that he can dial up the putter, which is when he was being talked about. I think we need to consider him as a contender this week.

Powers, Golf Digest: Akshay Bhatia (110-1, FanDuel) — If they keep giving me Akshay at triple-digit odds, I’ll keep taking it. Helps that he's gained strokes tee-to-green in four of his last six starts and gained off-the-tee in five of his last six. Last week's iron performance was quite poor, but we’ll chalk that up to Muirfield Village being a very tough place to acclimate to on your first try.

Lack: Adrian Meronk (40-1, DraftKings) — I’ve been incredibly impressed with Adrian Meronk's play from across the pond, and while he has yet to break through at through at the PGA Tour level, the big-hitting Pole showed his ball-striking meddle at the PGA Championship where he gained 4.7 strokes off the tee and 2.4 strokes on approach. Oakdale projects as a golf course where powerful drivers really stand to take advantage, and few have the off-the-tee chops as this Ryder Cup hopeful.

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Caddie: Rory McIlroy (+500, DraftKings) — Rory often seems superhuman on the course, but who could possibly expect him to put the merger news behind him and focus on golf? He has spent hundreds of hours deliberating with his fellow players and Jay Monahan on the best course of action, and then this was announced suddenly Tuesday, ahead of a tournament he's playing? Rory's a bit too cerebral to just go out there and "focus on golf" after Tuesday.

Mayo: Rory McIlroy (+500, DraftKings) — Either he wins by 10 or is in complete shambles after Tuesday's announcement. I’ll bet on not blowing out the field this time.

Gdula: Sam Burns (14-1, FanDuel) — Burns is coming off of two straight top 20s but is really benefiting from some good around-the-green numbers in those, and his distance shouldn't be a huge factor this week – based on how I’m assuming the course plays.

Gehman: Rory McIlroy (+500, DraftKings) — The public will remind you often that McIlroy has won this event twice in a row, but remember that neither have been at Oakdale Country Club. This short par-72 won't allow McIlroy to exercise his best weapon, the driver. His wedge game has been questionable and his putter hasn't been great in 2023. It feels like a bad time to pay an elite price.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy (+500, DraftKings) — This would not have gotten my money before Tuesday's news. Rory's wedge play and putting hasn't looked like peak Rory, and that's the kind of game you’re going to need to win this week.

Powers, Golf Digest: Rory McIlroy (+500, DraftKings) — Simply far too much on this man's mind right now to trust him at 5-1.

Lack: Tommy Fleetwood (20-1, DraftKings) — I’m usually a big fan of Tommy Fleetwood, but my numbers simply aren't as high on him as some of his similarly priced peers. The Englishman is coming off a bad missed cut at the Charles Schwab where he lost 0.6 strokes off the tee and 3.5 on approach. I have similar concerns about his scoring abilities, as he only ranks 73rd in this field in opportunities gained and 63rd in easy scoring conditions. Rest up for Los Angeles Country Club Tommy, a golf course that is far better suited for your skill set.

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Caddie: Adam Hadwin (-110) over Joseph Bramlett (DraftKings) — The Canadian's game is way better suited for this course than Bramlett, whose wedges are improved, but he needs a little more room off the tee to operate.

Mayo: Tyrrell Hatton (+115) over Rory McIlroy (DraftKings) — If there's ever a time to target Rory, it's just after the commissioner pulled the rug out from the players and they’re all turning to Rory for answers.

Gdula: Nicolai Hojgaard (-134) over Maverick McNealy (FanDuel) — The tee-to-green gap between these two is pretty cavernous, and McNealy – as usual – goes as his putter goes. There's a reason Hojgaard is the favorite in this matchup.

Gehman: Tommy Fleetwood (-125) over Sahith Theegala (Bet365) — Theegala's stats are trending in the wrong direction, losing tons of strokes off-the-tee lately. Fleetwood, on the other hand, has been incredibly consistent and is one of the more well-rounded golfers on tour. He’ll be able to dial in his wedges and putter to tackle Oakdale CC this week.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Tyrrell Hatton (+130) over Rory McIlroy (PointsBet) — Hatton, not Rory, has been the best player in this field over the past 36 rounds in weighted strokes gained, per RickRunGood.com. This would’ve been a good bet even pre-Tuesday, but now you gotta love it.

Powers, Golf Digest: Tyrrell Hatton (+130) over Rory McIlroy (PointsBet) — Running back my favorite philosophy of taking one elite player at plus odds over the other elite player in the field. Also, you could argue Hatton should be the favorite here based off his recent stretch.

Lack: Shane Lowry (-110) over Tommy Fleetwood (DraftKings) — This is an easy one, as I can get my pick to win matched up against my fade with minimal juice. I simply trust Lowry's ball-striking and his ability to score far more than Fleetwood's right now, as the Irishman ranks second in birdie looks inside 15 feet per round, compared to the Englishman's paltry ranking of 73rd.

Matchup Results from the Memorial Tournament: Gehman: 1 for 1 (Day (+100) over Morikawa); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Spieth (+104) over Thomas); Powers: 1 for 1 (Schauffele (+105) over Cantlay); Lack: PUSH (Matsuyama (-115) over Burns); Hennessey: 0 for 1; Caddie: 0 for 1; Mayo: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Gehman: 19-10-2 (up 7.66 units); Hennessey: 18-12-1 (up 4.64 units); Caddie: 16-13-2 (up 2.2 units); Lack: 11-9-1 (up 0.82 units); Powers: 15-14-2 (up 0.63 units); Mayo: 11-17-0 (down 6.55 units); Gdula: 13-17-1 (down 5.83 units)

Caddie: Adam Hadwin (+450, FanDuel) — We’re expecting low scores this week, and we know the Canadian can take it real low. Hadwin plays a simple fairway and greens game that will suit Oakdale really nicely.

Mayo: Ben Martin (+750, DraftKings) — Outside of one horrible round at the Wells Fargo, Martin is quietly putting together one of most consistent iron years on tour. He already has three top 10s in his past eight starts, and now he gets a course where his lack of distance shouldn't be an issue.

Gdula: Adrian Meronk (+410, FanDuel) — This is a good number for a golfer who is playing well on the DP World Tour, which includes a T-21, a win, and a T-5 in his past five starts. Meronk's irons are on point right now, too.

Gehman: Harry Hall (+750, DraftKings) — Fresh off a T-3 finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge and Hall should be back in the mix again this week. He's inside the top 50 in a few key proximity buckets on tour – approaches from 50-125 and approaches from 100-125. These stats don't always tell the whole story but Hall is a great wedge player who has one of the best putters on the planet.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Michael Thorbjornsen (+1100, DraftKings) — The No. 3-ranked amateur in the world already has a top-five finish on the PGA Tour to his credit (last year's Travelers), and he just earned medalist honors at the U.S. Open sectional in New Jersey on Monday. It's obvious he likes playing on these type of courses with similar agronomy—so a top-10 up in Canada feels very live.

Powers, Golf Digest: Ben Martin (+750, DraftKings) — Martin was a top-15 machine late in the winter and into the early portion of the spring, and at one point had made eight straight cuts before a poor week at the Wells Fargo. He bounced back with the irons and the driver at the Charles Schwab, but some horrid chipping saw him finish a distant 57th. Just don't lose nearly six strokes around the green this week and I like his chances to get his year back on track.

Lack: Keith Mitchell (+360, DraftKings) — I have felt since the beginning of the year that Keith Mitchell would collect his second PGA Tour victory, and while that has not come to fruition yet, he has an excellent opportunity this week in Canada. Similar to the aforementioned Meronk, Mitchell is a top-five driver of the ball in this field. He also finished seventh-last year at the Stanley Thompson and Robbie Robinson designed St. George's, and I have no reason to believe he won't be in the mix once again in Toronto.

Top-10 results from the Memorial Tournament: Lack: 1 for 1 (Adam Scott +450); Caddie: 1 for 1 (Rickie Fowler +320); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Hennessey: 7 for 31 (up 11.95 units); Gdula: 9 for 31 (up 11.2 units); Lack: 7 for 21 (up 6.4 units); Gehman: 8 for 31 (up 5.6 units); Mayo: 6 for 28 (up 0.1 units); Caddie: 8 for 31 (up 2.6 units); Powers: 4 for 31 (down 4.9 units)

Gehman: Tyrrell Hatton — There's no real value in saving Hatton for anything else on the schedule and he's been the best golfer in this field over the last 36 rounds. His driver is truly splendid, ranking inside the top 10 at Muirfield Village last week and he can roll the rock better than most in this field. It's a scary combination for someone who has been piling up great finishes all year long.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo. Sanderson Farms Championship: Sam Burns. Shriners: Taylor Montgomery. Zozo: Sungjae Im. CJ Cup: Matt Fitzpatrick. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Aaron Wise. RSM Classic: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Cameron Young. Sony Open: Hideki Matsuyama. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Jason Day. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Scottie Scheffler. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Sungjae Im. API: Rory McIlroy. Players: Jon Rahm. Valspar: Justin Rose. WGC-Match Play: Cameron Young. Valero: Rickie Fowler. Masters: Jordan Spieth. RBC Heritage: Collin Morikawa. Zurich: Kurt Kitayama. Mexico Open: Ben Martin. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: K.H. Lee. PGA Championship: Xander Schauffele. Charles Schwab Challenge: Min Woo Lee. Memorial: Patrick Cantlay.

Hennessey: Tommy Fleetwood — I like betting Tommy on harder courses (though the outright bets have cost me), but he can score enough to get you a top 10 here.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Cam Davis. Sanderson Farms Championship: Denny McCarthy. Shriners: Emiliano Grillo. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Sungjae Im. Bermuda: Mark Hubbard. Mayakoba: Viktor Hovland. Houston Open: Jason Day. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Patrick Cantlay. Sony Open: Matt Kuchar. American Express: Brian Harman. Farmers: Will Zalatoris. AT&T Pebble Beach: Seamus Power. WMPO: Collin Morikawa. Genesis: Justin Thomas. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Keith Mitchell. Players: Rory McIlroy. Valspar: Adam Hadwin. WGC-Match Play: Tyrrell Hatton. Valero: Nick Taylor. Masters: Scottie Scheffler. RBC Heritage: Jordan Spieth. Zurich: Sahith Theegala. Mexico Open: Gary Woodland. Wells Fargo: Xander Schauffele. Byron Nelson: Tyrrell Hatton. PGA Championship: Jon Rahm. Charles Schwab Challenge: Justin Rose. Memorial: Corey Conners.

Powers: Justin Rose — Back-to-back top 15s for the Englishman, who I’m not saving for any of the majors so this feels like a good spot. He can beat this field no problem and he does seem to be closing in on a victory.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Sahith Theegala. Sanderson Farms Championship: J.T. Poston. Shriners: Sungjae Im. Zozo: Hideki Matsuyama. CJ Cup: Tyrrell Hatton. Bermuda: Russell Knox. Mayakoba: Thomas Detry. Houston Open: Sepp Straka. RSM Classic: Davis Riley. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Gary Woodland. American Express: Cameron Young. Farmers: Taylor Montgomery. AT&T Pebble Beach: Maverick McNealy. WMPO: Sungjae Im. Genesis: Collin Morikawa. Honda: Chris Kirk. API: Will Zalatoris. Players: Patrick Cantlay. Valspar: Justin Suh. WGC-Match Play: Tom Kim. Valero: Matt Kuchar. Masters: Tony Finau. RBC Heritage: Rickie Fowler. Zurich: Robby Shelton. Mexico Open: Luke List. Wells Fargo: Viktor Hovland. Byron Nelson: Tom Hoge. PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka. Charles Schwab Challenge: Tommy Fleetwood. Memorial: Shane Lowry.

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. Mayo helped create the golf stats and research website Fantasy National along with the Race for the Mayo Cup One and Done contest. Mayo won the 2022 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and is a finalist for three FSWA Awards in 2023 (Best Podcast, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 27 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are second-most all-time. Follow him on Twitter: @ThePME.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @gdula13.

Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry's leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for RickRunGood.com, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest's betting panel after previously writing for Golf.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports