Last year’s British Open champion Ernie Els, 2010 U.S. Open victor Graeme McDowell, and 2012 FedEx cup grand prize winner Brandt Snedeker are just a few of the 29 notables who left Muirfield last Sunday without a claret jug who hope to lift the RBC Canadian Open trophy this Sunday.
This week’s tilt in Oakville, Ont., has attracted a slew of A-listers, including sixth-ranked Matt Kuchar, big-hitting Dustin Johnson, and 2012 Masters titleholder Bubba Watson to Jack Nicklaus’ 7,253-yard, par-72 Glen Abbey Golf Club. Defending champ Scott Piercy, whose win north of the border in 2012 was his second on tour, hopes to join Jim Furyk (2006, 2007) as just the second player to go back-to-back in the tourney for the second time since 1951, according to PGATour.com’s Jeff Shain.
While several golfers, including McDowell, Snedeker, and octopus pants-wearing Billy Horschel, will each be vying for his second win of the season, the tourney holds special import for guys on the FedEx Cup bubble. Four weeks remain in the FedEx Cup portion of the season, which means several several golfers need strong finishes to make it into the top 125 and assure themselves of starts at The Barclays, the first of four playoff games.
With just five contests left for players to make it to the season-ending series that culminates with a $10 million payoff, bubble boys include Camilo Villegas at No. 110, Canadian citizen Stephen Ames (164th), and last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship winner Woody Austin (130th).
(Graphic: Courtesy of PGATour.com)
Here’s a snapshot of some of this week’s marquee groups:
Piercy, Ernie Els, Luke Donald: Els will try to put his disappointing T26 finish at Muirfield behind him, while Donald goes for his first tour win of the season.
Austin, McDowell, Furyk: After going six years without a victory, Austin, who beat Daniel Summerhays in a playoff, will try to notch his second straight tour win.
Kuchar, Snedeker, Watson: Kuchar seeks his third victory of the season, while Snedeker hopes to get back on the winning trail after posting his sole W at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.
Horschel, DJ, Hunter Mahan: Mahan went off in the final group at Muirfield with Lee Westwood but stumbled to a T9 finish after carding a 4-over 75 in Sunday’s finale.