Canadian Open preview: Singh should win the battle of Tiger's victims, but can he beat Furyk?
The big question at the Canadian Open this week is how bruised and battered Vijay Singh and Stewart Cink are after their brutal encounters with Tiger Woods. Both had victory ripped from their grasp at the last, so how will that affect their mindset this week?
Between the two of them I’d go for Singh, because there were big positives from last week’s encounter which make him the stronger candidate. One compelling fact is that Vijay’s only win this season came at Westchester, New York, a course I am assured bears an uncanny resemblance to this week’s track.
Mind you, that makes him the exception that proves the rule. Just about every piece of advice I’ve seen steers us away from heavy hitters towards those with accuracy and good approach work high on their CVs.
That probably explains why the competition is often won by older players, and why there’s a strong body of opinion for Fred Funk, who is the ultimate Mr Accurate. His GIR stats are pretty impressive too. I think he may be getting a bit TOO old but at 80 (his price, not his age!)it might be worth finding out.
On paper, the man they’ve all got to beat is Jim Furyk. Only once in his last six outings has Furyk been outside the top four (29th in the PGA Championship). His game is well suited to the Hamilton course: on top all-round form, top for greens in regulation, and just outside the top 20 for accuracy off the tee.
Furyk’s price of 9 isn’t brilliant, especially for a second favourite, so it might be worth waiting to see how he opens. But he has to be in the mix come Sunday doesn’t he? What odds a Sunday putter-to-putter showdown with Singh?
I also harbour hopes for Zach Johnson. I know, his form has been going south recently, but this would be the perfect course to turn it around.
And what chance of a Canadian winning? There’s a lot of talk of this being Mike Weir’s year.He is desperate to win for his country, but I suspect this makes him try too hard and he is not on top form at the moment. His compatriot Stephen Ames might be more likely: he is a proven winner this season and wields a hot putter these days.
Two others I will be watching based on their current and Westchester form are Jeff Sluman and Brett Quigley. Their accuracy figures show a bit of a slide but Quigley finished third at Westchester while Sluman came fifth.
My caveat on all this is that we are now entering that dangerous period when some players are prepared to slit their grandmother’s throat to qualify for next year. So don’t rule out some wise-guy out in the 100s making everyone look stupid come Sunday. Last year’s winner Mark Calcavecchia was nearly 200 at the start.
My biggest difficulty is finding a reasonably priced candidate worth laying - where’s Adam Scott when you need him? I think Trevor Immelman’s my man. He’s got the game, but his recent form tells me he won’t be picking up the winner’s cheque.
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