2023 RBC Canadian Open Tournament Preview: Everything To Know About Oakdale Golf & Country Club
The PGA TOUR continues to head farther north, as the players say good bye to Ohio and pack their passports for a trip to Toronto. The RBC Canadian Open, in its third installment since 2019, brings us to the exclusive Oakdale Golf & Country Club for the very first time. Below, we’ll unpack Canadian Open odds for 2023.
We are flying somewhat blind into this week, with this being the first pro golf tournament hosted on these grounds. But, with ample information, flyover videos, staff interviews, and other preceding research, this preview article will unpack how we expect this golf course should play before tee-off Thursday.
In the most simple terms, I expect Oakdale Golf & Country Club to play as an easier version of the Stanley Thompson’s St. George’s Golf & Country Club, host of the 2022 RBC Canadian Open. Approach play from inside 150 yards looks like it will be paramount this week, with a slight advantage overall to accurate fairway finders over pure bombers. I’m looking for players with proven results on positional layouts and the top birdie-makers in easy scoring conditions, particularly those with spike approach and putting upside.
Without further ado, let’s run through the odds, key facts, and info about Oakdale Golf & Country Club ahead of the 2023 Canadian Open.
RBC CANADIAN OPEN ODDS: THE FAVORITES
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RBC CANADIAN OPEN FIELD AT A GLANCE
The Canadian Open unfortunately drew the short stick from a scheduling standpoint as a result of not being tapped with Elevated status. In a four-week stretch that also includes the Memorial (Elevated), U.S. Open (Major), and The Travelers Championship (Elevated), this unfortunately is a natural bye week for elite players who have their sights set on the next Major.
It was easier to attract top names like Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, and Tony Finau last year when a short trip to Massachusetts followed, but with cross-country travel to Los Angeles Country Club beckoning, all three elected to skip the international trip this year.
Rory McIlroy is a constant when it comes to the Canadian Open. He will be the prohibitive favorite when odds open on Monday, as he showed great form at the Memorial Tournament and will be chasing a three-peat at the Canadian Open after a pair of dominant performances in 2022 and 2019.
Beyond McIlroy, this field of 156 features some solid depth at the top, with a total of 10 OWGR top-30 players. Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, Cameron Young, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Sahith Theegala, Justin Rose, and Corey Conners are the players to beat at the 2023 Canadian Open.
In addition to McIlroy, we’ll also see former Canadian Open winners Brandt Snedeker, Scott Piercy, and Sean O’Hair back in the mix. Notable Canadians in the field this week include Conners, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Nick Taylor, Taylor Pendrith and Adam Svensson.
INTRODUCTION TO OAKDALE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
In its 117-year history, the Canadian Open has never tapped Oakdale Golf & Country Club to host – until now. Oakdale hosts again in 2026, so while it’s making its professional tournament debut this week, we won’t have to wait another century before the next return.
Oakdale is the 37th course in the history of the Canadian Open, the third-longest continuously run event on the PGA TOUR. Over the years, no two Canadian Open venues have been exactly the same, which makes Event History a bit less informative than usual. Similar Bentgrass and Poa-blended greens and an influence from Canada’s most renowned architect, Stanley Thompson, remain relevant year over year.
When we think Canadian Open, we should think Canadians. However, their track record has comparatively been far less impactful than Americans at the U.S. Open or Europeans at The Open. A Canadian has only won this event four times and not since 1958 (Pat Fletcher at Point Grey).
About Oakdale Golf & Country Club
Despite this being Oakdale Golf & Country Club’s debut hosting a professional event, the venue has a long and rich history dating back to 1926.
Oakdale is centrally located in the greater Toronto area. Originally a nine-hole course designed by Stanley Thompson, an additional nine holes were built soon after and a third nine designed by Robbie Robinson (Thompson’s protégé) opened in 1957. Given its central location, player-friendly facilities, fan-friendly infrastructure, and overall playability of the course, Oakdale is well prepared to host the Canadian Open for the first time.
Although it has never hosted a Canadian Open or a CP Women’s Open, it has welcomed the Ontario Men’s Better Ball just about every year since 1959. It will also serve as the site for the final qualifier for next year’s RBC Canadian Open, which returns back to St. George’s Golf and Country Club.
A Dynamic Set Up
An amalgamation of the three nines on property at Oakdale Golf & Country Club, the scorecard yardage should be treated dynamically. They intend to move tee boxes and pin locations around each day, which greatly swings the true yardage of the course. Officially, it is listed as a 7,264-yard par-72. The hole-by-hole flyover, however, totals to 7,387 yards, while the initial press release from the RBC Canadian Open listed as 7,460. As always, we should consider the scorecard yardage as a dynamic range between 7,264 to 7,460 yards.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll work off of the official 7,264 yardage and corresponding hole-by-hole distances, with an understanding that this course can easily be lengthened an additional 200 yards any given day.
How It Breaks Down
The scorecard yardage is not one that intimidates. Oakdale Golf & Country Club features three easily reachable par-5s and four par-4s measuring under 400 yards. There are just four par-4s longer than 450 yards.
When running a custom weighted model with all 18 hole ranges plugged in, the top 10 players best suited for this layout of holes are: Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, Byeong Hun An, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Eric Cole, Dylan Wu, Corey Conners, Adam Svensson, and Sahith Theegala.
The greens at Oakdale are a mix of Bentgrass and Poa, common in this region of the country and similar to what we would see on northern PGA TOUR stops like Detroit Golf Club and TPC River Highlands. The greens are small in stature and are marked by false fronts, persistent undulations, and severe slopes, allowing for a variety of daily pin placements to choose from.
The rough appears to be brutal this week, listed as 4-to-6-inch Bentgrass. The fairways predominantly pinch narrower as you get further from the tee box. This is a design element that should give bombers second thoughts to take a driver-heavy approach, as a wider landing area is accessible for layups or shorter drives. Given the small greens, tight pin locations, and severely penal rough, I expect this to be a course that rewards conservative and accurate players off the tee, as you do not need to be long to generate ample birdie looks here.
For Oakdale Golf & Country Club course specs, hole-by-hole breakdown with yardages, and past RBC Canadian Open winners with their pre-tournament odds, visit our RBC Canadian Open Odds page.Editor’s Note
EVENT HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS
Event History shouldn’t be overly predictive, given the constant rotation across a diverse mix of courses throughout Canada. Glen Abbey, which hosted five of the last eight Canadian Opens, is most suitable to bombers, whereas the previous two venues (Hamilton G&CC and St. George’s G&CC) are more positional layouts.
But whether it be the fresh maple syrup or sounds of Drake and Justin Bieber echoing throughout town, there’s been some stickiness at this event with two repeat winners (Rory McIlroy and Jhonattan Vegas) since 2016.
Dating back to 2016, eight players from this field avoided missing the cut at the RBC Canadian Open (min. three appearances): Rory McIlroy, Brandt Snedeker, Mackenzie Hughes, Charley Hoffman, Seung-yul Noh, Kevin Tway, Mark Hubbard, and Cameron Percy.
Just five players finished in the top 20 multiple times over the last five Canadian Opens: McIlroy, Hughes, Shane Lowry, Matt Kuchar, and Ricky Barnes
On two different layouts, Rory has been a dominant force when traveling north of the U.S. border. He’s gained a staggering 20 total strokes on the field in each of the last two Canadian Open contests, winning handily in 2022 and 2019. To put that dominance into perspective, neither Jon Rahm nor Scottie Scheffler have gained more than 18 total strokes in an event over their entire careers.
After Rory, the rest of the top 10 in event history include: Snedeker, Lowry, Kuchar, Hughes, Hoffman, Barnes, Justin Rose, Sam Burns, and Webb Simpson. Personally, I don’t find a ton of value in weighting event history and will instead lean more heavily on comp course history.
The obvious – and maybe laziest – comp course to Oakdale would be St. George’s Golf & Country Club, host of last year’s RBC Canadian Open. Both are Thompson designs with the same agronomy (Bentgrass throughout with Bent and Poa-blended greens), sitting close to 7,200 yards on the scorecard. While the similarities are clear, I do expect Oakdale to play as a notably easier course than St. George’s, as the fairways are more generous and greenside hazards are less imposing at Oakdale. Don’t let Rory’s winning score of -19 last year fool you – the tournament field’s median score of -3 was the lowest mark in the last 10 years at the Canadian Open.
With easier scoring in mind, I lean to Sedgefield Country Club as my top overall comp course. Like Oakdale, Sedgefield offers continuous birdie opportunities for players with elite short irons and spike putting upside who can consistently keep the ball in the fairway. The winning score at the Wyndham Championship routinely pushed beyond the 20-under-par threshold, which I expect will need to be the case for the eventual 2023 RBC Canadian Open winner as well.
Less Strong But Still Useful
After Sedgefield CC and St. George’s, TPC River Highlands and Detroit Golf Club are the next set of comp courses that come to mind. Both share the same Bentgrass/Poa blended greens and feature overlapping leaderboard of players who excel on other short, positional courses.
Innisbrook Resort and Colonial CC are also good examples of short courses which feature penal rough and typically reward more accurate drivers off the tee. Factoring in more scoring in easy conditions, TPC Deere Run and TPC Boston appear to serve as relevant comps as well.
Wrap that all together, and the top 10 players in comp course history are: Sam Burns, Corey Conners, Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Cameron Young, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Kuchar, and Taylor Pendrith.
KEY STATS TO CONSIDER
- SG: APP / Prox <150
- SG: T2G (L12, Recent Form)
- Par 4: 450-500 / Par-4: <400
- Birdies or Better Gained / SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions)
- Driving Accuracy / SG: OTT (Short Courses)
- SG: ARG
- SG: Putting (L36, Bent, Northeast Poa)
- Comp Course History
I find myself taking a more broad strokes approach to the stat model profile in weeks where we haven’t seen the course in action before. Starting with a baseline of players with the best trending form leading in, the top 10 in terms of SG: T2G over the last 12 rounds are: Tyrrell Hatton, Byeong Hun An, Justin Rose, Alex Smalley, Eric Cole, Vincent Norrman, Rory McIlroy, Corey Conners, Tommy Fleetwood, and Akshay Bhatia.
A short course with seemingly generous fairways and small landing areas on the greens, this is the type of venue where elite approach players can separate themselves from the field. The top 10 in SG: APP over the last 36 rounds are: Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Corey Conners, Shane Lowry, Aaron Rai, Tyrrell Hatton, Eric Cole, Nate Lashley, Tommy Fleetwood, and Scott Piercy.
Without many long par-4s on the property, I’m expecting a premium on wedges and short irons. The top 10 players in Prox: 75-150 are: Russell Knox, Ben Martin, Davis Riley, Charley Hoffman, Corey Conners, David Lipsky, Ryan Armour, Aaron Baddeley, and Hank Lebioda.
Primed For a Putting Contest
There’s no doubt the rough looks imposing at Oakdale. But without sheer length and plenty of options to lay back for accuracy off the tee, this looks like it could be a point-and-shoot second shot course for the some of the best players in the world. If that is the case, it may simply come down to who can convert the most birdie putts. The top 10 players in birdies or better gained are: Cameron Young, Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, Sahith Theegala, Akshay Bhatia, Ben Martin, Sam Burns, Corey Conners, Brandon Wu, and Justin Rose.
On a similar note, the top 10 players in SG: TOT in easy scoring conditions are: Rory McIlroy, Cameron Young, Maverick McNealy, Tyler Duncan, Matt Kuchar, Mark Hubbard, Tyrrell Hatton, Sam Burns, Alex Smalley, and Corey Conners.
Approach and Putting are the key pillars for any contender in a birdie-fest. Just nine players rank top-40 in SG: APP and weighted putting on Bent/Poa greens: Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Brendon Todd, Adam Svensson, Chesson Hadley, Seung-yul Noh, Aaron Baddeley, and Peter Malnati.
While not necessary an angular or positional course, it can be helpful to reference which players perform best OTT on moderate-to-short golf courses with long rough. The top 10 SG: OTT in these conditions are: Cameron Young, Luke List, Kramer Hickok, Matt Fitzpatrick, Corey Conners, Rory McIlroy, Brent Grant, Keith Mitchell, Austin Smotherman, and Cameron Champ.
With all these key stat categories in mind, the ideal player this week should rank above-average in SG: APP, Prox: 75-150, SG: P (L36, Bent/Poa), and Birdies or Better Gained. There are just six players in this week’s field who meet that criteria: Tyrrell Hatton, Sam Ryder, Brendon Todd, Webb Simpson, Seong-yul Noh, and… Justin Rose.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: JUSTIN ROSE
Rose Zhang has become one of the biggest stories in the world of golf this week. As I make my way over to Liberty National on Sunday afternoon to try and will her to a historical debut win, she’s not the only Rose who caught my attention. With what little we do know about Oakdale Country Club, all signs point towards an ideal set up for Justin Rose’s game.
He’s shown no signs of cooling off since his win in January at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with five top-25 finishes over his last six starts. And while Event History doesn’t count for too much in this rotating course set up, he should return to Canada with positive vibes after firing a final round 60 at the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, ultimately finishing T4.
If this week truly is as simple as approach and putting, then Rose is best equipped to capitalize. He ranks No. 2 in SG: APP over the last 36 rounds and No. 1 in SG: P on Bent/Poa blended greens. Those stats aren’t inflated by a few outlier weeks either, as Rose has gained strokes on approach in 10 consecutive starts and gained strokes putting over eight of those same events.
No. 4 in my model this week, Rose is the only player to rank top-10 in SG: APP, Comp Course History, Birdies or Better Gained, and SG: Putting. With some bigger names like McIlroy, Hatton, and Fitzpatrick ahead of him on the odds board, Rose will be a lock on my betting card at anything longer than 20-1 odds.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2023 RBC CANADIAN OPEN
This time last year, the Canadian Open ran head-to-head against LIV for the first time, with longtime RBC ambassador Dustin Johnson noticeably absent. Much has changed since then, but an electrified atmosphere for the PGA TOUR’s long awaited return to Canada did not disappoint. With a solid field in store for the week before a Major, I’m looking forward to seeing this brand new course come Thursday.
With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in 2023 RBC Canadian Open odds as well. I’ve broken the list down by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings.
2023 RBC Canadian Open Model Breakdown
In my model, I’m emphasizing SG: APP, Comp Course History and Birdies or Better Gained first and foremost, followed by a more balanced mix of SG: T2G (L12), SG: P (L36, Bent/Poa), SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), Prox: 75-150, SG: OTT (Short Courses), SG: ARG, and Fairways Gained.
It is not the two-time defending champion McIlroy who claims the top spot in my model. Instead, Tyrrell Hatton gets the honors, as he continues to look polished in all facets of his game and equipped to handle a putting contest, rating top-10 in both SG: APP and SG: P.
After Hatton, the rest of my model’s top 10 is rounded out by: Rory McIlroy, Corey Conners, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Matt Kuchar, Cameron Young, Brendon Todd, and Adam Svensson.
When 2023 RBC Canadian Open odds open Monday, I’ll look to Justin Rose, Eric Cole, and Adam Svensson as a starting point. Check back in later this week for more updates. Best of luck navigating 2023 RBC Canadian Open odds!
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