I've taken the "safe" route with the Power Ranking this week, favoring class above all else with a tilt towards current form. Most of the elite players in the field are RBC brand ambassadors, meaning they essentially have to play. The other top-tier players on TOUR use this as a week off between The Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. That creates a pretty large gap between the top of the field and the rest.
Here's how it all shakes out:
- Jim Furyk - While there have been plenty of can't-miss players at certain events that have missed this season, Furyk lines up as the ultimate "safe" option. Not only did Furyk get a taste of Royal Montreal in 2007, he's in spectacular form entering this week off his fourth-place finish at Hoylake and has three other top-five finishes on the season. With him in your lineup, you have a shot.
- Dustin Johnson - Contended all week at The Open Championship before eventually settling into a T12. The biggest question is probably how he comes down from the high of a major championship. As an example, he followed his T4 at the U.S. Open with a T31 at the Travelers.
- Graeme McDowell - When you factor in his form on the European Tour of late, he's on fire. His T9 at The Open Championship last week was tasty, and he was also spared the pressure of any final-group tee times on the weekend. Leads the PGA TOUR in SGP.
- Matt Kuchar - While he certainly isn't as hot as he was back in the late Spring, he's among the class of this field and is similar to Furyk in that it's hard to see him striking out this week. It's hard to imagine that his last top 10 was a T7 at the HP Byron Nelson back in May.
- Charl Schwartzel - The South African is hard to figure out on a week-to-week basis, but he's in good enough form to crack the top five. He tied for seventh at Hoylake with a pair of 5-under-par 67s.
- Brandt Snedeker - It's always a risk to invest in a defending champion, but that the event is at a different venue adds all sorts of complexities. Will he feel a little bit like he isn't defending since the venue is different? While Sneds hasn't had a great season, he was on a decent run until a disappointing T58 at The Open last week. It seems like his putter is coming around after a rocky run early in the season.
- Luke Donald - Tends to play well when "RBC" is in the title of an event, but he isn't in top form. That said, he followed up a missed cut at the Masters with a runner-up in the RBC Heritage confirming that his class demands this level of respect. It is a concern that he's 140th in Par 4 Scoring Average.
- Charley Hoffman - He might be a little too low, tying for third at Congressional before a little break and a T67 at Hoylake. Ranks inside the top 10 in GIR, Par Breakers and Par 4 Scoring Average.
- Hunter Mahan - Famously withdrew just before the third round of last year's RBC Canadian to fly home for the birth of his first child. With the lead! His last top 10 on TOUR was a T9 at Doral, and he ranks a mere 68th in the FedExCup standings. Perhaps most alarming, he missed the cut at the Travelers Championship last month in an event he has traditionally owned. Still, he has the potential and the firepower to contend if he plays to his ability.
- Jerry Kelly - Coming in off a T3 at the John Deere Classic where he has traditionally been strong over the years. Ranks inside the top 60 in Driving Accuracy, GIR, SGP and Par Breakers, setting him up well for almost any course.
- William McGirt - I get that his T2s in each of the last two RBC Canadian Opens came at different courses, but there's something to be said for this event ranking as a fit. It could be that the field is weaker, the time of year is right, or numerous other reasons. His last three PGA TOUR starts went T31-MC-T23, so his form is good enough to think the third time could be the charm.
- Graham DeLaet - This one scares me. Everyone else in the top 12 has their PGA TOUR status for 2014-15 in the bag, as does DeLaet, but none of them are competing in their national championship. That means all of the other top players will play with much less pressure on their shoulders. On paper, he is one of the better players in the field so we won't deny him his due.
Next 5 (alphabetical): Scott Brown, Tim Clark, Ben Crane, David Hearn and Troy Merritt
Continuing to shake up the schedule this week, we will tackle the one-and-done and the Yahoo! starters on Wednesday. This is not meant to be a permanent schedule, as travel forced the change.
Best of luck to all!