It’s been a quiet couple of days, hasn’t it? You can only feel sorry for the Canadian Open, for the second year in a row they have been overshadowed by PGA/LIV debates and it is a competition that always delivers. The reigning champion is Rory McIlroy, winning both the 2022 and 2019 renewal (with 2020 and 2021 being cancelled due to COVID-19).
McIlroy once again leads the field with odds of 9/2 with world number 16 Tyrrell Hatton at 11/1 and reigning US Open Champion, Matt Fitzpatrick at 12/1 in what is a strong showing from the European contingent.
My pick for the week, however is a Canadian in the shape of Corey Conners who is 18/1 for the event. Conners is such a consistent performer on the tour who I believe does not get the credit he deserves for the class he portrays on the course. The Valero Texas Open champion was born in the host city Ontario and will have the backing from the crowd. I believe he will be able to use this to get over the line after a tie for 8th and tie for 12th in his last 2 starts on tour. Conners is just outside the top 10 on greens in regulation on the season and is 22nd on strokes gained off the tee, he would just need to improve on his putting where he is currently ranked 120th on the season. As I said on my previous piece about Scottie Scheffler, who was last in the field at Muirfield on putting but yet finished only one shot adrift, you can put yourself into contention simply with ball striking.
If you are looking for someone at a slightly larger price for the week, look no further than the impressive Pole, Adrian Meronk. Meronk is a player I am massively impressed by and a player I am predicting to play in the Ryder Cup in September. He will do himself no harm with a statement performance here at Oakdale. Meronk ranks 3rd on both greens in regulation and stroke average on the DP World Tour, having such a consistent season and is 4th in the Race to Dubai ranking.
You can find Meronk at 40/1 for this event and I think with that paying 8 places, I would not be shocked to find Meronk there or thereabouts come Sunday, my only concern would be the bright lights of the PGA Tour crowd for him to initially get over the line but a big performance would be invaluable experience for him.
With the current cloud over the event I would not be surprised to see some of the bigger names in the field become distracted by media questioning and questions about everything but their own game and the event in question. I would imagine this will happen to players such as Rory McIlroy and Sam Burns, both players who it has been confirmed turned down the initial move to the LIV tour, with the latter turning down a sum of around $100m dollars, so do not be surprised to see a few players at a bigger price in the reckoning come Sunday.
My top 5 for this week
- Corey Conners
- Adrian Meronk
- Keith Mitchell
- Adam Svensson
- Sahith Theegala