RBC Canadian Open 2013: Hottest, Coldest Golfers Heading into This Week's Event

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2013

RBC Canadian Open 2013: Hottest, Coldest Golfers Heading into This Week's Event

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    Coming the week after the British Open, the Canadian Open doesn't draw the most star-studded field. However, there is still plenty of talent. 

    Like our cover boy, Hunter Mahan. 

    While Mahan shot an underwhelming 75 on the final day of the British Open, he still mustered a ninth-place finish. Combine that with his recent play, and he's earned a spot on the hot list. 

    He is joined by five streaking golfers—two who are streaking in the right direction and three who have to be close to finding the snapping point of their clubs. 

    All stats via PGATour.com.

Cold No. 3: Graeme McDowell

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    Graeme McDowell is having a streaky season. Case in point, he won the RBC Heritage, and in his previous start he missed the cut at the Masters. 

    This isn't overly shocking. McDowell is an accurate, but not long, driver with a brilliant short game. This is going to suit him better at certain courses.

    However, he's been struggling lately, and it is about more than the courses he's been playing. 

    Since his win, McDowell missed two cuts and then was 58th at the British Open in his three PGA starts. 

    Most of this is due to losing his touch with the flat iron. McDowell typically is a solid putter, so I wouldn't expect this slump to last for long. But when looking for a winner of the Canadian Open, I wouldn't look McDowell's way. 

Hot No. 3: Brandt Snedeker

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    Until he was forced to take some time off with a rib injury, Brandt Snedeker was the hottest player on the planet. 

    He has not been able to return to the same level, but after serious inconsistency upon his return, he has settled into a nice groove. 

    Snedeker missed the cut at the St. Jude Classic. He's made three PGA starts since. He has a 17th at the U.S. Open, an eighth at the AT&T National and then an 11th at the British Open. 

    Snedeker is struggling with his accuracy off the tee still; he hasn't hit more than 57.1 percent of his fairways in any of his last three starts. However, he's doing a nice job of hitting greens in regulation, and he's making up strokes with his putter.

Cold No. 2: Billy Horschel

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    In his last three starts, Billy Horschel has finished 61st, 30th and then missed the cut at the British Open. This shouldn't be overly alarming. These are the kinds of struggles a golfer is supposed to face in his first full-time year on the PGA Tour. 

    However, Horschel had raised the bar for himself. 

    Through the first half of the season, Horschel had picked up a win while being one of the more consistent contenders on tour. That culminated with him making a run to the top of the leaderboard midway through the U.S. Open and winding up with a fourth-place finish

    That was his last start before his current poor stretch. 

    Horschel has been struggling with his accuracy off the tee. In two of his last three tournaments, he's hit 57.1 percent or fewer of his fairways. He's also been struggling with his putter. This is a deadly combo. 

Hot No. 2: Charl Schwartzel

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    The sweet-swinging Charl Schwartzel is turning in a nice year. He hasn't picked up a PGA win yet this year, but he's been in contention in numerous events. He is in a nice groove right now. 

    He finished third at the Byron Nelson Classic, then he missed the cut in his next start. That poor performance proved to be a blip on the radar. He has since rebounded to finish eighth at the Memorial, 14th at the U.S. Open and 15th at the British Open in his three PGA starts. 

    In this stretch, Schwartzel's ball-striking has been fantastic, and he's been solid with his putter. He appears to be on the verge of picking up his first PGA win of the season. 

Cold No. 1: Jim Furyk

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    While Jiim Furyk's 2012 will largely be remembered for the major chances he let slip away, he still turned in a phenomenal year. 

    He is not performing anywhere near that level this year. He got off to a slow start then looked like he was about to turn things around with a third at the Texas Open. However, things have gone the other direction. 

    He's played eight events since the Texas Open. His highest finish is a 21st in that stretch, and he's suffered three missed cuts in that same span. Two of those missed cuts came at the U.S. Open and the British Open. 

    At 43, it is time to start wondering if Furyk's days as a serious contender are behind him. 

Hot No. 1: Hunter Mahan

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    Hunter Mahan has had a chance to earn his first major championship entering the final day of the past two majors. He shot a 75 on both of those final days. 

    It's not like those performances were complete collapses. Both of the courses that housed the U.S. and British Opens were extremely difficult. However, Mahan was unable to seize the moment. 

    At some point, Mahan and his excellent ball-striking will have a major breakthrough. He's too talented not to. 

    He also has a good chance to win the Canadian Open. 

    After a midseason slump, Mahan has been in good form. While he did miss the cut at the AT&T National, his PGA start preceding the British, Mahan has been playing wonderfully. He was 16th at the Memorial, fourth at the U.S. Open, 24th at the Travelers Championship and then ninth at the British Open. 

    Mahan looks poised for a strong end to a solid year.