Lots and lots of moving parts these days. We see it coming and it's still a lot to digest in real time.
First, Segment 3 of PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf wraps with this week's RBC Canadian Open, so recipients of the prizes reserved for the winner and the runner-up are in the balance.
Hamilton Golf & Country Club will reward length, but don't rely on distance for bonus points. When it last hosted in 2012, the field averaged just 278.0 yards in distance of all drives. That was tied for 11th-lowest clip of the season. Instead, fill up on guys who are sharp upon arrival and have a reputation of going low. In 2012, there were 21 bogey-free rounds and 37 scores of 65 and lower. Wind might reduce those totals this week, but the course will be draped in red.
U.S. Open sectional qualifying concluded on Monday with 60 golfers successfully navigating their way to Pebble Beach for what is now the third major of the season next week. So, my Power Rankings on Monday will consist of the full field of 156. It's scheduled to publish as usual on Monday. Because next week's Fantasy Insider will be abridged, I'm going to take the opportunity to examine a specific contingent of golfers who aren't in the field. Stay tuned.
'Tis the season for the field of the Open Championship to continue filling. In addition to a pair off the Order of Merit on the Japan Golf Tour at the conclusion of this week's Japan Golf Tour Championship, the top three, not otherwise exempt at The Open, inside the top 10 at the RBC Canadian Open will secure tee times at Royal Portrush.
For all currently qualifiers into the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, and for all remaining qualifying criteria into those events, click here.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the RBC Canadian Open (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Bud Cauley; Sergio Garcia; Talor Gooch; Peter Malnati; Rory McIlroy; Ryan Palmer; Brandt Snedeker; Justin Thomas; Aaron Wise
Driving: Corey Conners; Rory McIlroy; Henrik Stenson; Justin Thomas; Bubba Watson; Aaron Wise
Power Rankings Wild Card
Jimmy Walker … The RBC Canadian Open is a tweener. It migrates but not annually. Yet, devotees to the tournament have flourished on numerous courses that have served as its backdrop. That's due in part to talent, of course, but those who have enjoyed the hospitality of the host country can't help but go back for more. Walker checks both boxes. Since 2008 on three courses, he's 7-for-7 with a pair of top 20s and a T28 at Hamilton in 2012. He also strolls in having connected for top 25s in his last two starts, and he had last week off. Even as he's battled Lyme disease, the 40-year-old has grinded out paydays a high percentage of the time.
Henrik Stenson … The Swede presents as more valuable in deeper fields when his DFS value is hideen across a swath of higher price tags, but he should be limited to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf in his RBC Canadian Open debut given the absence of a top-15 finish in individual competition in 2019.
Jim Furyk … Give it up for the 49-year-old who qualified for the U.S. Open via the Official World Golf Ranking. A year ago at this time, with his focus on the Ryder Cup, the captain sat outside the top 250 in the OWGR. Today, he's 49th with three top 10s among eight top 25s this season. He prevailed at Hamilton way back in 2006. He also missed the cut in his return in 2012, but the track fits him like a glove. Invest with confidence in every format.
Graeme McDowell … Before you're tempted to jump to the conclusion that he's looking ahead to returning to Pebble Beach as the most recent U.S. Open champion on the course, be aware that he's been a regular at the RBC Canadian Open since 2013. He also arrives having connected 12 cuts made dating back to November. Of course, that stretch includes a victory in the Dominican Republic.
Bud Cauley … Inspiring T9 at Muirfield Village was a season-best finish that all but locked up his card for 2019-20. With that job done, the next objective is to win for the first time. He came within three strokes of champion Scott Piercy at Hamilton in 2012. It's a course that will highlight Cauley's brilliant short game.
Brian Harman … It's hard to believe that he's not yet exempt or even inside the bubble for fully exempt status in 2019-20 at 127th in the FedExCup standings, but I'm taking the sharp angle at his propensity for a low score (or two) at Hamilton. He hasn't taken a week off since failing to qualify for the Masters, but his game has been rounding into form lately. It's slow but it's better than the alternative.
Lucas Bjerregaard … Because he accepted Special Temporary Membership and this is his 10th start, the 27-year-old Dane official will qualify as a PGA TOUR rookie once he strikes his first tee ball at Hamilton. He performed his best at the Match Play, but there's been enough evidence to support a mild endorsement in DFS. Because his equivalent of FedExCup points would rank him 102nd among members, he's worth grabbing and stashing away in keeper leagues if he's somehow still available.
David Hearn … A Canadian flier for DFS purposes. While carving out his schedule on conditional status this season, he's spiked for four top 25s.
Adam Hadwin … Never mind the pressure of representing the host country as its highest-ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking (he's 79th), the 31-year-old would settle for a consistently strong week, much less becoming the first Canadian to win the national open since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Hadwin hasn't recorded a top 25 in individual competition since a T18 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am four months ago.
Keegan Bradley … This is relative (and rare given my man-crush). He's gone seven starts without a top 25 and nine without a top 15. On paper, he should turn it around at Hamilton, but that's not a new narrative during his mild slide.
J.B. Holmes … Well, chalk one up for the Fantasy Insider. In this space last week, I admitted that he was among my collection of Kryptonite. Sure enough, he missed the cut at the Memorial where lackluster form trumped recent course success. I'm sticking with that approach again at Hamilton where he placed T15 in 2012 while exhibiting much better form over time.
Nick Taylor … The Canuck has put in a serviceable season, but he's just 3-for-9 and without a top 50 in his national open.
Kelly Kraft … Not only does he present opposite to the preferred profile at Hamilton – he's a better putter than he is a ball-striker – this is his eight consecutive week on the road. He's missed six cuts in individual competition during the trip.
Daniel Berger … He's survived five straight cuts, but only one went for a top 30. Expectations are higher and he doesn't impress on approach and with his short game. So, the message remains the same. Assuming he stays on this trajectory, he'll be worth a long look in full-season salary games in 2019-20. Currently 122nd in the FedExCup.
Collin Morikawa … We have every reason to be hopeful for his future, but there's zero reason to be aggressive in his professional debut. That said, he's 1-for-1 in the success column as he was one of the 60 sectional qualifiers for the U.S. Open on Monday. Track and follow.
Harold Varner III
Returning to Competition
D.J. Trahan … Walked off Trinity Forest during his first round with a sore back and hasn't pegged it since. He's 160th in the FedExCup in just 10 starts due to Past Champion status, but he went 0-for-3 before the mid-tournament WD. Invest in a rebound at Hamilton where his profile as a flag hunter has elevated value.
Ben Martin … He's committed to the Web.com Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation. It'll be his first taste of competition since missing the cut in his only PGA TOUR start of 2018-19 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. A back injury sidelined him following the Travelers Championship in the summer of 2018. Keep a close eye on his progress as he's exempt on the PGA TOUR via a Major Medical Extension for which he has six starts to earn 111.322 FedExCup points and retain a position within that category. However, for finishing 150th in points last season, he's already secured conditional status at worst, so he's poised to be a steal in salary games next season.
Jason Dufner … Slotted at No. 8 in Monday's Power Rankings, and then qualified for the U.S. Open at the sectional in Columbus, Ohio. With top 10s in two of his last four starts, he's up to 113th in the FedExCup standings. As the winner of the 2017 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, he's fully exempt through 2019-20.
K.H. Lee .. The rookie was the other post-sectional WD from the RBC Canadian Open. He also qualified for the U.S. Open in Columbus. Currently 88th in the FedExCup with an active consecutive cuts made streak of eight.
Sung Kang … The recent first-time winner at Trinity Forest also withdrew early from U.S. Open sectional qualifying ion Columbus. No doubt he's still sorting his schedule thanks to his elevated level of membership status.
Kyle Stanley … Depending on your perspective, his missed cut at Muirfield Village was surprising (course history) or it wasn't (form). Regardless, it was a good reminder that you can't fake it around Jack's place. Now 108th in the FedExCup, he's exempt into the U.S. Open but not yet for 2019-20.
Joel Dahmen … Withdrew not long after the commitment deadline, and then secured the status of first alternate at the Columbus sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open. (This doesn't mean that he's first alternate for the U.S. Open, however. For an explanation on how that process works, read the italicized UPDATE here.)
Adam Long … Failed to survive U.S. Open sectional qualifying in Columbus, so he'll have at least two consecutive weeks off. The rookie is 45th in the FedExCup with the breakthrough victory at the Desert Classic among a trio of top 20s.
Russell Knox … After four straight weeks on the road, he'll take at least two weeks off because he's not exempt for the U.S. Open. Comfortably positioned at 80th in the FedExCup standings.
Bronson Burgoon … Recently sat out two months before going 1-for-3 with a T48 at the PGA Championship. Currently 131st in the FedExCup with one top-45 finish on the season (T2, CIMB).
K.J. Choi … After a T71 at Memorial, he's down to two starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension (to pocket 197.953 FedExCup points). The 49-year-old is 196th in the FedExCup.
Power Rankings Recap – the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Matt Kuchar MC
2 Rory McIlroy MC
3 Patrick Cantlay Win
4 Tony Finau MC
5 Justin Rose 13th
6 Rickie Fowler T14
7 Tiger Woods T9
8 Gary Woodland T52
9 Adam Scott 2nd
10 Justin Thomas MC
11 Hideki Matsuyama 6th
12 Phil Mickelson MC
13 Jason Day MC
14 Jordan Spieth T7
15 Rory Sabbatini T27
Wild Card Kyle Stanley MC
Sleepers Recap – the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide
Sam Burns WD
Emiliano Grillo T9
Adam Hadwin T52
Joaquin Niemann T27
Justin Suh MC
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
June 4 … Sung Kang (33)
June 5 … Dylan Frittelli (29)
June 6 … none
June 7 … Keegan Bradley (33)
June 8 … Anders Albertson (26)
June 9 … Billy Hurley III (37)
June 10 … none