Q: What do you get when you combine the 33rd event of the season, an unfamiliar course and a week off for numerous targets in PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done?
A: The RBC Canadian Open.
With 70 percent of the season behind us, this is one of those weeks when two things happen.
For one, you're living (but hopefully thriving) with decisions made to get you to where you are. For another, anything is possible in what sets up as a wild card of an experience at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, so chasers must continue to punch as pacers keep their guards up.
Note that Scott Piercy is the only golfer beside whom I've listed the RBC Canadian Open in Future Possibilities, and even though he's the most recent winner on the track (in 2012), it's just his seventh-most sensible spot. Piercy isn't a usual suspect in our game, but he's as close to the security of converging trends as it gets. As a result, it'd be surprising if he doesn't finish with the highest ownership percentage.
Expanding on the value of Future Possibilities, it's course-specific, not tournament-specific; well, at least as it pertains to golfers who don't contend almost every time they compete. (The latter angle is why you'll see the migrating majors beside many of the best of the best. As it concerns them, course success is a bonus.)
As you survey the field for your pick in Canada, consider how it impacts next week's play as well.
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka sit a respective 1-2 in the Power Rankings. If you're chasing and DJ is available, I'd encourage you to play him right now. He's been exceptional at Pebble Beach over the years, and that includes a painful T8 at the U.S. Open in 2010, but he torches courses like Hamilton regularly. It matters not that the defending champion prevailed at Glen Abbey last year.
Koepka's strength off the tee will be governed at short Pebble Beach, and while he always looks great in majors, that course is more welcoming to all types than at Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills where he won the last two years. He's not a pure fit for Hamilton, so you're encouraged to holster and reconsider for the U.S. Open where you were going to, anyway.
Matt Kuchar disappointed at Muirfield Village last week, but he still earned the No. 3 designation in the Power Rankings. Hamilton is a terrific test for his skill set. Regardless of your position, plug him in.
Although Rory McIlroy is making his tournament debut, he's No. 4 in the Power Rankings. Let him go it alone and keep him penciled in for The Open Championship in his native Northern Ireland.
Piercy sits No. 5 in the Power Rankings. If he was available to me, he'd be the easy pick. Make him yours and smile if the stars aligned.
For a variety of reasons from current form to course fit to long-range strategy, there's always a gap between the automatics and those for whom we hesitate in the Power Rankings. This week's pause occurs ahead of Brandt Snedeker at No. 6. Beginning with the 2013 champ (at Glen Abbey) and extending through to Justin Thomas at No. 15, each presents reason not to invest. Adjust accordingly as always.
From this grouping, Sneds (Wyndham), Sergio Garcia (No. 7, multiple), Webb Simpson (No. 11, Wyndham), Bubba Watson (No. 14, Travelers) and Justin Thomas (multiple; also making just his second start after an injured right wrist) are worth keeping on the board.
Of the others, Mackenzie Hughes (No. 9), Ryan Palmer (No. 10), Shane Lowry (No. 12) and Corey Conners (No. 13) are better tandems for two-man gamers.
Since the field is wide open, consider having some fun and pairing up a couple of Canucks. The Hughes-Conners ticket makes sense, otherwise consider Nick Watney, Erik van Rooyen or Jonas Blixt.
Rank Expert Pick Comment 50th
Shane Lowry All of the top six in my Power Rankings are gone, and I have plans for others later, so I'll take a calculated gamble on a proven pro who's rested since a T8 at Bethpage. After all, I've earned it! 99th
No need to play him on tracks over 7,400 yards! The 2006 champion at this venue hits plenty of fairways and greens and that's what's required this week. Let's hope his putter is dialed in! 102nd
On the Mark
He won here in 2012 and is having a sneaky good season!
Hamilton G&CC is less than 7,100 yards long, just like the other two courses where Kuchar has won this season. 215th
Scott Piercy According to our expert Rob, Piercy has a good chance to win. Since I have struggled in this format, let’s use his instincts this week. 688th
I seriously considered No. 32 in the FedExCup for next week’s U.S. Open. He won our national championship once, but he’s won the RBC Canadian Open twice, including at Hamilton in 2006.
NOTE: Select golfers committed to the tournament are listed alphabetically. Future tournaments are sorted chronologically and reflect previous success on the courses on which the tournaments will be held in 2018-19. The numerical values in parentheses represent the order of relative confidence of where to use each golfer if multiple sites are listed (e.g. 1 for strongest, 2 for next-strongest and so on). To present weighted confidence in real time, numerical values will not change all season no matter how many tournament remain listed for each golfer. All are pending golfer commitment.
Keegan Bradley … Travelers (4)
Sergio Garcia … Open Championship (5); TOUR Championship (2)
Bill Haas … Wyndham (6)
Adam Hadwin … John Deere (5)
Brian Harman … Travelers (5); John Deere (4)
Dustin Johnson … U.S. Open (1); WGC-St. Jude (6); TOUR Championship (7)
Zach Johnson … John Deere (1); Open Championship (2); TOUR Championship (8)
Brooks Koepka … U.S. Open (1; two-time defending); Open Championship (8)
Matt Kuchar … Open Championship (8)
Martin Laird … Barracuda (2)
Rory McIlroy … Travelers (8); Open Championship (1); TOUR Championship (6)
Scott Piercy … Canadian (7; last winner at Hamilton in 2012)
Webb Simpson … Travelers (9); Wyndham (1)
Brandt Snedeker … U.S. Open (5); Travelers (9); Wyndham (1; defending)
Henrik Stenson … Open Championship (6); Wyndham (8); TOUR Championship (7)
Justin Thomas … TOUR Championship (3)
Bubba Watson … Travelers (2; defending); TOUR Championship (8)