RBC Canadian Open – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario
7,253 yards – Par 72 – Bentgrass Greens
Jack Nicklaus Design
Course Recently used in 2016, 2015, 2013, 2009, and 2008 editions

Tournament Stimpmeter: 11.5 to 12 ft. … Average or slightly above average green speeds
Green Sizes: 5,600 sq. feet .. Smaller Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: < 250 OWGR ... Weak Field Strength

Fairways Hit (Field Average): 49% … Tough-to-Hit Fairways
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): 61% … Average GIR Percentages
Driving Distance (Field Average): 298 yards … Driver-Heavy Course

Tournament Angles

#1 Hard-to-Hit Fairways
#2 Driver-Heavy Courses
#3 Bentgrass Greens
#4 Par 72 Courses
#5 Jack Nicklaus Design

Previous Winners

2016 (Glen Abbey): Jhonattan Vegas -12 over Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Martin Laird -11
2015 (Glen Abbey): Jason Day -17 over Bubba Watson -16
2014: Tim Clark -17 over Jim Furyk -16
2013 (Glen Abbey): Brandt Snedeker -16 over William McGirt, Dustin Johnson, Jason Bohn, Matt Kuchar
2012: Scott Piercy -17 over William McGirt, Robert Garrigus -16
2011: Sean O’Hair -4 over Kris Blanks in a playoff
2010: Carl Pettersson -14 over Dean Wilson -13

54-Hole Leaders

2016: Brandt Snedeker
2015: David Hearn -15
2014: Jim Furyk -15
2013: Brandt Snedeker -14
2012: Robert Garrigus -16
2011: Bo Van Pelt -5
2010: Dean Wilson -15

36-Hole Leaders

2016: Dustin Johnson, Luke List
2015: Chad Campbell -14
2014: Jim Furyk, Tim Petrovic -10
2013: John Merrick -11
2012: Scott Piercy, William McGirt -11
2011: Chad Campbell, Michael Thompson -4
2010: Dean Wilson, Tim Clark -10

Important Interview Quotes

Q. Have you ever seen the Abbey play like this before?
Yeah, last year was a little firm and fast. The thing about it is it’s really not a golf course designed for firm, fast greens. They are so shallow, and there’s a couple holes that it’s almost unplayable if you’re not in the fairway. I think this place is more for soft conditions where you can hit the ball high and land it, hold the green.

Obviously you can score because there’s guys doing it but it’s definitely tough if you’re not in the fairway. -2016

Q. 69 in the first round, with an eagle and four birdies, a really good start and yet still seemed as if at times the golf course confused you a bit. How did the golf course surprise you?
Yeah, it’s very dry out there. So the game plan for me has kind of changed a little bit, trying to hit driver as far as I can to get close to the green. If you try and lay up and hit it into the rough, there’s no chance of stopping it on the green with how firm everything is.

I’m just trying to get as close as I can to the greens. If I miss a fairway then I’ve got a wedge in my hand. Hopefully I can stop it with a wedge in my hand. But for the most part, I felt like played okay. I didn’t hit a ton of greens today but I kind of missed in the right spots. -2016

Q. In the past you led the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR in driving distance; how does that play into the way you approach this golf course? Is that an advantage for you?
I think so. With the par 5s, I was able to have a couple wedges into the par 5s and downwind, that’s obviously a great opportunity. Trying to use my length the right way. Just being in the fairway is important, but if you can get it relatively straight out here, the sand wedge isn’t too bad out of the rough. -2016

Q. From your perspective on this golf course, what is the key to scoring well? Is it driving from the tee or around the greens, what’s more important?
Well, certainly you need both. For how firm the greens are, you need to be in the fairway. You need to see the pin sheet obviously before you tee off to know what side of the fairway — if you miss fairway, what side of the rough you want to be on to at least have a chance.

But being able to hit the fairway is really important. If you can hit it long and have shorter irons in, you can spin it more, it’s a huge advantage. -2016

Q. How was your round there today?
Today’s round was good. I drove it really well. This course is in fantastic shape. Best shape I’ve seen. Always good with the firm conditions being in the fairway. If you’re in the rough, you’re going to have trouble getting the ball to stay on the green. -2015

Q. With the fairways the way they are, is it a little bit equaled out in terms of distance?
Yeah, I mean, if a long hitter, you hit it in the rough, the ball’s not going to go as far. So whoever hits it in the fairway, it’s going to run. -2015

Q. You’re driving the ball really well and yourself in great spots. You have to be pleased with that?
Yeah, I love this place. If you’re comfortable hitting driver, you can really take advantage of some of the shorter holes. So I think that’s probably my favorite part. -2015

Q. Your best finish in this event came at this golf course in 2008. What do you like so much about this course?
I don’t know if it’s the course or the time of the year. I generally play better in the summer, and I like this type of grass. I seem to read the greens well here. It’s nothing in particular that draws me to the golf course. I think it’s kind of a combination things. -2015

Q. What is your attitude about tomorrow? Are you going to try to do more of the same?
It’s the same. I mean, the course is going to play harder in the afternoon than it did this morning. I saw on the front you could basically land the ball a few feet short of the hole, and it would stay in the same place. Then in the afternoon it would be more rolling than that and more bouncing. -2015

The upcoming RBC Canadian Open will therefore be played on 10 poa annua greens and eight bentgrass surfaces. Gyba said he doesn’t expect that to be a problem for the PGA Tour, and that his efforts to maintain 18 greens of consistent firmness and ball speed will largely go unnoticed by the field.

-2015, TurfAndRec.com

Whether any tweaking was required to be done in compliance with the Tour standards set for Glen Abbey in 2013 had yet to be determined at the time Gyba was interviewed for this story, but he expected things would essentially be a “carbon copy” from two years ago.

-2015, TurfAndRec.com

On the day of the final practice round (Wednesday, prior to Thursday’s tournament start), the rough will be cut at three inches and will be left to grow out through the remainder of the Open where it could push towards four inches by the Sunday finale.

“The days of six-inch rough are gone at this tournament.”

-2015, TurfAndRec.com

Work to “rip up” the last of the poa greens is slated to begin in October, Gyba said. Additionally, Glen Abbey’s bunkers will undergo a complete renovation, beginning in September. -2015, TurfAndRec.com

Q. You’ve now had your three best Canadian Open finishes here at Glen Abbey. What is it about this course that fits your game so well?
The greens here are right up my alley. They’re small greens, but they’re a Bent and Poa mixture. I love Poa Annua greens, in San Diego I played really well. On the west coast Pebble, I played really well. So I love Poa Annua greens. I know if I get putting well on Poa Annua greens, I’m going to have a chance. -2013

Q. You basically laid, took a wedge, and that worked.
Yeah, but I definitely wouldn’t say it’s favors me because I’m not one of the long guys. A guy like Dustin is going to have a mid to short iron into those three holes. I would much rather be hitting it where Dustin is hitting it from. But that being said, there is still a lot of trouble. Even though you have a 6-iron to that green, if you miss it you can hit it in the water. -2013

Q. Give me your impressions of this golf course and playing in this wonderful old championship here in Canada.
Yeah, you know, it’s very scorable. You know, if you hit it quite a ways off the tee, most of these par-5s are really par-4s to be honest with you. You’re hitting mid-irons, sometimes even short irons into them. It played kind of soft today, but the greens were rolling good speed. It’s a lot of wedges into par 5s and is pretty scorable, so you can go low for sure. -2013

Q. Can you just comment about Hunter leaving? (Referencing Hunter Mahan withdrawing despite holding the 36-hole lead)
Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s his first child, so he wanted to be there. I didn’t even know his wife was pregnant. All the best to him for sure. -2013

Q. Par 5s are gettable. How do you pick your spots outside of the par 5s on this golf course?
There are a lot of holes where I can hit driver and bomb it down there. But the problem is with as small as these greens are, you have to play smart, so I hit a couple irons off the tee today. I hit my driver pretty well for the most part.
So I’ve got to pick my spots, like you’re saying. I want to do it where it’s smart, where I know I can attack a pin from the fairway or the rough. So that’s what I have to do. Just look at the pin sheet and see where the pin is and how tough it really is. -2013

Q. The one thing you were mentioning is you’re used to playing in Canada. You played PGA TOUR Canada. Talk about what it’s like being back up here?
Yeah, I love being up here. I played in ’06 and ’07 on PGA TOUR Canada now. And really, got me ready to play the Nationwide Tour which I played in ’08, ’09 and ’10. It was a great progression in my life. I had a great time up here. Made a lot of friends and spent two summers traveling the country and really enjoyed my time. -2013

Q. You put yourself in contention for the weekend on the golf course. You said it doesn’t fit your style, so with that how have you been able to score so well on this golf course here at Glen Abbey?
You know, I haven’t been in too much trouble. When I hit it in the rough I have a decent lie or miss it in the right spot so I can hit the green in regulation. I missed three greens in two days, so I’m just hitting my irons well, playing smart golf, and then I made a few putts. -2013

Q. This isn’t quite a home game for you, but you have some family here and stuff like that. Does it make it a little more fun to come up here?
Yeah, for sure. I’ve got a lot of family, a lot of friends here, so it’s nice to come here and play, especially this good weather, it’s always good, too. -2013

Q. This is Nicklaus’ first ever design by himself. Just curious, how have you done on Nicklaus courses in the past, and do they set up well for your game?
Gosh, you know, I’m not really sure exactly what courses I’ve played that are Nicklaus. I feel like the ones that he designs, there’s always cuts off the tee. He likes to work it left to right. I forgot how good of a driving course this is. It kind of looks open off the tee but it’s kind of deceiving. You really need to drive your ball straight. In some of the areas where the ball lands, there’s only 20, 30 yards wide there. But it’s a great course. It’s demanding off the tee, and there’s a lot of slope on the greens, too. -2013

Q. Is the driver more important here, or is the approach shot more important here relative to the small greens?
Yeah, I think they’re both very important. Yeah, the rough is high enough this week to where if you’re hitting it in there you’re not going to play well just because you can’t really get close to the pin placements. I think driving is a premium this week, definitely. -2013

Q. Talk a little bit about the differences between a place like Riviera and Glen Abbey.
Yeah, I think they’re different golf courses, different grass. You’ve got kikuyu grass out there at Riviera. But I think they both demand great driving, great iron play, and they’re both pretty tricky greens. I think they’re a little similar in that sense. -2013

Quotes found at ASAPsports.com unless otherwise noted.

Tournament Notes

2015: Eight greens were damaged in the winter of 2013, forcing them to plant temporary bentgrass greens, while the others remained poa annua. For the 2015 edition, 10 holes were still poa annua, while the other eight were bentgrass. The full transition to new T1 creeping bentgrass was completed after the tournament and the bunkers were also renovated during the fall. Existing bunker sand was replaced by a newer silica variety.

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