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Michael Taylor 20th Jul 2010 - 19:53

Weir could be without a peer in Canadian Open

Mike Weir's glory days of the early twenty first century may seem a long way away after years in golfing wilderness but the proud Ontarian could be poised for a return to the winners' enclosure at this week's RBC Canadian Open.

Weir, the 2003 Masters Champion, has been nothing short of awful this year with just one top ten from fifteen starts ensuring his lowest FedEx Cup position this century.

Admittedly he's gone trophy less since 2007 but this year it seems nothing is falling into place for the usually silky Canadian, with the most alarming stat being the five missed cuts he's made - equating to a third of all events played.

He's never been long off the tee, however his accuracy, one of the staples of the left hander's game, is where all is being lost with less than 56% of fairways being hit in regulation (167th overall) and an abysmal percentage of 57.45 of greens in regulation made (187th overall).

Had it not been for one of the hottest putters in the game (2nd overall in putts per round) his chase for a Tour card could well have ended more than a few weeks ago.

The signs for this week may not be perfect, there are good reasons to grab a piece of his 40/1 price though (45/1 win only).

Firstly, with the return to the St George's Golf and Country Club, host of the RBC four times previously but not since 1968, Weir may just hold a slight psychological edge over his rivals.

Not only has he played the course many times, it could also be a prototype for his perfect course when every facet of his game is firing on all cylinders.

It tests accuracy above all else with a 2002 remodelling adding more bunkers around the already tough to hit greens while solid long iron play is a necessity with the five long par threes likely to be a make or break for most players through the week.

Fair enough Weir has enjoyed less accuracy than Tiger Woods and his driver this year but his followers know he still has it in his locker as he showed earlier in the year at the Bob Hope Classic and at times during May's Crowne Plaza.

If he can get back to hitting greens in regulation and providing the moments of genuine genius around the greens then there's no reason he can't enjoy a return to form on a course he'll know better than anybody else.

Much in a similar vein to Weir, Tim Clark could also be set for more success this week if this year's priors are to be judged on.

The little South African, who claimed his first PGA title in this year's PLAYERS, will feel confident that his brilliant accuracy with his irons will lead to a second title of the year and his stats suggest his confidence is well placed.

His accuracy off the tee ranks third overall, his putting seventh and his sand save ability, which will be tested to the max, a more than respectable fifteenth.

The big factor for me though has to be the similarities between St George's and TPC Sawgrass, host of the PLAYERS and a track that Clark, despite big nerves, conquered on the toughest day of all.

Again, despite the pluses in Clark's favour you can still get him at what looks a massive price at 25/1 (28/1 enhanced win only price).

Elsewhere further down the betting Matt Bettencourt may be worth a small punt after seeing off a weak field in last week's Reno-Tahoe.

The Open may have drawn the star talent away from Reno but Bettencourt would surely have proved a match for anybody if his final round of four under is to go on.

He was striking the ball beautifully all week (all bar a poor round of 75 on Saturday) and the way he held his nerve in closing out his first ever victory on the Tour makes his 100/1 price look enormous.


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