Bets, course info, the weather and my thoughts on the country of Canada

I like this tournament, I think, mostly due to the fact that it moves around.

This will be the second week in a row that a large chunk of the content will focus on a course rebuild/redesign/restoration of a really old, historical course. You can read up plenty on that in Ron’s preview article as well as any of our streams this week, but I think it’s going to be a similar fate as last week:

The course will look nicer and have some cool features, but it should still play similarly to how it always has.

Some efforts have been made to make it a tougher test this time around, and despite the length and Rory’s final score last time we played here, it’s not going to be super easy I don’t think.

We assumed the rough would be grown out, and I had hoped for some firm, fast greens, and it sounds like we’ll get both. Rory McIlroy, in his presser this morning:

“I think some greens are a lot slopier. A lot of green complexes have more runoffs. Even though the greens are quite big, they play maybe a little bit smaller than they actually are. I just think, I think the penalties for missing are just a little more penal. You've got that longer rough around the bunkers, the rough is very, very thick this week. Then, yeah, you miss the green slightly and those really fast runoffs, the ball can run 20, 30 yards off the green, obviously it will be a tough to get it down from some of those places. I think there's a little bit more precision needed with this redesign.”

I didn’t care for last year’s venue, which is funny since it was easily one of the most memorable non-Tiger moments in my golf-watching career. I complained and complained about how bad the closing stretch was and how much I hated the playoff, and then, boom, an instant classic that made me forget all about it.

It’ll be hard to replicate that magic, so hopefully, the course brings some heat, and the leaderboard is fun. A tight, star-filled top of the leaderboard can make up for a lot (see: Valhalla).

A look at the course from our preview article on Betspertsgolf.com:

Hamilton Golf & Country Club

Hamilton Golf and Country Club is a par 70 course that measures 7,084 yards. With over 100 yards of length added during the renovation, it now ranks as the 17th shortest course on Tour. The routing is creative with both nines being out-to-in setups with the midway point of each as the farthest from the clubhouse. The course sits on excellent terrain with dramatic elevation changes throughout several sections of the property. Six different tee shots are elevated and play downhill with the approach often playing back up into the green. Others play uphill. Distance control and proper yardage numbers will be vital for caddies this week.

In 2019, it played to an average of -0.32 per round. Whether it’s more difficult or easy after the renovation lacks consensus. It’s a very playable course for members, yet can be very testing for inaccurate ball-strikers with its thick rough, and strategically placed penal bunkers. While both par 5s are reachable in two shots, there are only two of them from which to score. The par 3s are challenging and lengthy, which includes the 249-yard sixth hole. Three diminutive par 4s (346, 380, 386) blend in with nine others that rank among the shortest group of par 4s on Tour.

Hamilton has six dogleg holes and 30-yard wide fairways surrounded by penal 3.5″ rough to challenge players off the tee. Back in 2019, players like Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson blasted driver on a majority of holes and played a “bomb and gauge” style. The eventual winner, McIlroy hit driver 73% of the time while Johnson (finished 20th) led the field with 86% driver usage. While that is a strategy that will likely see a higher rate this week, make no mistake, at its core, Hamilton is a “less than driver” positional track that only averaged 283 yards off the tee combined with 55% fairway accuracy and 59% driver usage in 2019. Only three players in the top-10 gained strokes OTT with distance, while 14 of the top 16 gained strokes with accuracy. Even with the massive tree removal, these fairways remain tight and lined with a variety of mature trees.

In 2019, 42% of approaches were from inside 150 yards. With added length, we can expect a few more mid-to-long irons in this year’s edition. The GIR rate in 2019 was a healthy 63.6% and greens have been enlarged from an average of 5,000 square feet to 6,000 for this year. Fairways slope and canter in different directions leading even slightly inaccurate drives to bound into the rough. “Distance From Edge of the Fairway” will again be a key stat this week. When analyzing the leaderboard from five years ago, every single one of the top 17 finishers was positive for the week on both approach and putting. The top 10 included numerous elite ball-strikers who are shorter off the tee and who trend hot with the flat stick like Webb Simpson, Shane Lowry, Matt Kuchar, Sungjae Im, Adam Hadwin, Henrik Stenson, and Brandt Snedeker.

With the greens being larger and even easier to hit, there have been other changes during the renovation to also make them more difficult. “Some greens here were steep, others were bland and the level of detail wasn’t as good as it should have been. We tried to introduce a lot more attractive movement. Run-offs add a lot. It becomes such a one-dimensional exercise when you have thick bluegrass around a green site,” Ebert said. A majority of greens are open in front and allow for creative links-style “bump and run” type shots.


Got back in the win column and really got me thinking about how different golf betting is from other sports.

While I had outright bets and other wagers going, Friday quickly turned into me closely following Taylor Moore and relishing every dropped shot during his second-round 75.

Nothing like cashing a 72-hole matchup after just 36.

Recap: Tom Kim > Taylor Moore -110 💰
YTD: 11-8-1, +2.26u

This Week: Akshay Bhatia > MacKenzie Hughes +100 (DK)

I have this line flipped (Hughes is -120 right now) mostly based on how strongly I think the iron play will matter here compared to the usual path for MacKenzie to succeed (gaining several strokes on the field putting).

Not only do I have Bhatia well ahead in my 2nd shot and GIR% splits, but he’s also been MUCH more accurate off the tee. Good tee shots have and will beget easier approach shots. I don’t see Hughes getting enough good looks on the greens to let his short game elevate him this week.

ICYMI: Noonan and I spent about an hour looking at the course, modeling out some key stats, and talking about some bets we made ⬇⬇⬇

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While Hamilton sits on Lake Ontario's shore, the course is quite a ways from the water and appears to have plenty of protection from the winds.

It looks like it’ll be a pleasant week in Canada after a mild winter and a bit of an early spring. A small amount of rain is possible over the weekend, but for the most part, the weather shouldn’t play a big role this year.

There may be a slight PM/AM wave advantage with some pretty nice Friday morning conditions and some sites (wind finder) calling for some heavier gusting to start the day on Thursday.

News and Notes

I can’t NOT post Scottie updates. It sounds like the charges are all going to be dropped and we’ll move on. But, it’s wild to me that we’re still getting new videos of the incident popping up.

Speaking of, some great crossover content here. Had almost forgotten about the aftermath of the walk-off eagle putt.

I can’t watch this and not think about how much worse the other guy’s lie is now. I don’t know the rules on this, but I don’t think he gets to move it back, right?

18th U.S. Open at age 29 will always break my brain.

As always, bet responsibly, have fun, and enjoy the hospitality of our neighbors to the North.