Farmers Insurance Open Preview

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Perhaps a laugh.

The Confidence Factor is include in here for one-stop shopping!

 

Farmers Insurance Open

 

Torrey Pines Golf Club

South Course (host)

North Course

La Jolla, California

 

South Course

Yards: 7,698 per the official scorecard

Par: 72 (36-36)

Greens: Poa annua running at 12′; average size of 5,850 square feet.

Rough: Perennial rye grass, Kikuyu grass and fescue at almost four inches.

Bunkers: 78

Water Hazard: 1

Course Architect(s): William P. Bell (1957); Rees Jones (2001).

 

North Course

Yards: 7,258 per the official scorecard

Par: 72 (36-36)

Greens: Tyee 007 blend of bent grass (no Poa annua) running at 11′; average size 6,000 square feet;

Rough: Perennial rye grass, Kikuyu and fescue at almost four inches.

Bunkers: 41

Water Hazards: 2

Course Architect(s): William P. Bell (1957); Henry and David Rainville (1975); Tom Weiskopf (2016).

 

Purse: $6.9 million

Winner’s Share: $1.242 million

FedExCup Points: 500 to the winner

Defending Champion:  Jon Rahm shot 65 on Sunday to win his first PGA TOUR event by three shots. C.T. Pan and Charles Howell III shared second.

 

Notes:

  • Full field event with 156 players.
  • Stroke play, 72 holes with each course used once to determine the cut line.
  • South Course will host the final two rounds.

 

History Lessons

2017-18 Winners

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
CJ CUP @ 9 BRIDGES Justin Thomas
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Classic Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook*
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
   
Total Events: 11 *- First-time winner

 

Previous Champions

Year Golfer Score (Par 72)
2017 Jon Rahm 273 (-13)
2016 Brandt Snedeker 282
2015 Jason Day 279*
2014 Scott Stallings 279
2013 Tiger Woods 274
2012 Brand Snedeker 272*
2011 Bubba Watson 272
2010 Ben Crane 275
*Playoff

 

Facts and Figures:

  • Tournament Record: George Burns (1987) and Tiger Woods (1999), 266.
  • Before last year’s podium, no players had posted double-figures under-par since 2013
  • South Course record: 62, Woods, 1999.
  • North Course record: 65, Justin Rose, 2017.
  • Jay Don Blake (1991) and Jon Rahm (2017) are the only winners to claim this event for their first TOUR win.
  • Rahm joins Arnold Palmer (1957) as the only maiden winners.
  • No rookie has ever won this event.
  • Only four internationals have won this event. Ever. Rahm joined Gary Player, Jose Maria Olazabal and Jason Day.
  • Tiger Woods (eight times) and Phil Mickelson (three) are the only players to win this event three times or more. #SoCalNatives.
  • Patrick Rodgers has had the 54-hole lead at Torrey South and Quail Hollow Club. I don’t know what this means except he hits it a ton.

Eyes Open

Player To Par since 2010
Brandt Snedeker -60
Charles Howell III -47
Marc Leishman -40
Bill Haas -33
Nick Watney -30

 

South Course Ratings

(Since Poa annua replaced bentgrass):

Year Ranking Over/Under Par
2017 14th-most difficult +0.766
2016 2nd-most difficult +2.498
2015 6th-most difficult +1.518
2014 4th-most difficult +1.797
2013 16th-most difficult +.0655
 

 

North Course

I wrote this last year and it carries over to year two on the North Course.

Tom Weiskopf redesigned the North Course with the objective to make it better for everyone, not just the pros that play it one week a year.

He’s widened the fairways, increased the square footage on the greens to add new hole placements, added SubAir systems and re-grassed all 18 greens with 100% Bentgrass so no more Poa annua. The greens have been firmed and Stimped to become more similar to the South Course.

The redesign also removed 50 to 60 trees were that were diseased and wiped out around 20 bunkers. The bunkers he kept were flattened and are now easier for escaping. He softened landing areas in front of greens and moved the hazards and penalty to the sides of the holes to penalize the crooked rather than short or long. He added five sets of tees and increased the yardage by just over 200 yards from the championship tees. The nines have also been flipped to add better aesthetics coming home.

The North Course was always the easier course but the new hole locations could temper scoring but I’ll take my chances here over the South Course.

The “new” North Course played 71.227 in 2017 versus 70.929 in 2016.

Look-ie Here!

Chalk

Jon Rahm: This spot is earned, not given. The defending champion and the winner last week is one in the same. If that’s not fantasy golf Nirvana, I’m not sure what is. Well, yes I am. Check is numbers in The Confidence Factor and get back to me. He’s setting new standards.

Rickie Fowler: The Southern California native has been nothing short of awful here the last four years. He’s MC three times and his only check was T61. When has he played better for a longer stretch? Never is the answer. I’m not getting off this train for any reason minus injury. Of his 23 world-wide starts last year, 12 went for top 10’s. He’s one-for-one in 2018 with T4 at Kapalua.

Tony Finau: He’ll have an advantage with his length this week and he’s proven to be a quick study on this track. The last three years he’s improved (T24, T-18 and T4 last year) and should be ready to take the final step.    

Justin Rose: His final round in the desert last week was bogey-free so his flight half-way around the world was a bit easier. The Englishman makes his eighth trip to Torrey Pines and will look to add to his top 10 collection here. It currently stands as one after he finally broke through last year. His 65 on the North Course didn’t hurt! The only weekly question with Rose will be how high to rank him!

Brian Harman: If I was lazy, I’d just cut-and-paste from last week. His streak of top 10’s ended with T20 in the Coachella Valley. If that’s deterring you from a birdie-fest last week, I’m not sure that’s the angle. Harman has played difficult courses better than easy courses recently and Torrey fits that angle. His T9 last year was also his first top 10.

Jason Day: Another week, another new caddy but I doubt it will matter. Since his T60 at THE PLAYERS he’s finished T27 or better in every event he’s made the cut. His three fall events saw him collect checks for T11, T11 and T5. This is the perfect resumption point as he won’t need to be perfect to contend. He doesn’t have to play with Woods either this year (MC last year) to open his new year on TOUR.

Gary Woodland: Length? Check. Course form? Check. He’s never missed in eight tries and enters on the back of a top 10 at Sony (T7) his last time out. He’s gone close here before and has some unfinished business to take care of come Sunday.

Marc Leishman: He’s made seven cuts in nine trips to Torrey and six of those are T27 or better. Speaking of players in the form of their lives, the Aussie qualifies. He’s backed up every recent crappy finish with a top four so I’m hardly concerned about his T47 at Sony. He shouldn’t get lost as he’s the No. 13 player in the OWGR. I’m not overlooking him and neither should you!

Charles Howell III: He’s 15-from-15 at this event with seven top 10’s. Go on then, fade him. I dare you!

Patrick Cantlay: With top 20 finishes in his last seven on TOUR, I’m not concerning myself with anything else. Add on that he’s from this part of the world and grew up on these grasses and I should probably nudge him up the list. He feasts tee-to-green and that’s a check in the right column this week.

Kyle Stanley: He’s laughing after reading my “unfinished business” comment in the Woodland piece above. Stanley threw away a three-shot lead on the final hole with two balls in the water here in 2012. He would eventually lose in a playoff to Brandt Snedeker. That week he made 25 birdies, an eagle and only had six bogeys. And lost.

Jhonattan Vegas: If you’re noticing a pattern here, you’re paying attention. Overpowering the course doesn’t happen at Torrey Pines with tight fairways and firm greens. Instead, I’m looking for guys who can distance themselves from the field over those 7,698 yards. The par-5 holes are difficult so I suggest guys who can get to the long, par-4 holes.

Optical Illusions or Inclusions?

Hideki Matsuyama: His best finish in four tries is T16 in 2014 when he was like 13. You would think a guy who hits it as well as he does would be right at home on a monster like this track. He hasn’t figured it out yet but I’ll have plenty of places to burn him down the road.

Brandt Snedeker: Just look at the chart above. He’s still finding his way back from a sternum injury that slowed him down last summer. He flashed signs of life in the desert last week with 67 but still didn’t make it to Sunday. This is a big ask for a guy who’s not dialed in yet but it’s impossible to ignore his recent form here.

Ollie Schniederjans: He’ll be on everyone’s board this week after his top 10 last year and it’s easy to see why. He’s a ball-striking machine and his only round above par in seven tries here is 81 during the WIND EVENT MONDAY in 2016. I get nervous when everyone piles on.

Shane Lowry: Here’s another that had no problem on Oakmont as he carried the 54-hole lead into Sunday. He’s won at Firestone which is hardly considered a pitch-and-putt track. He finished the fall T12, T8, T12 and T2 and has made the cuts in all three tries here the last three years (T7, T13 and T33).

Lucas Glover: The Quail Hollow Club connection can be made here as well if you’re into those sorts of things. He’ll always get a look from me on big, mean courses because of his ball-striking. Making the weekend in 12-straight events doesn’t hurt either.

Phil Mickelson: I GIVE. IT’S OVER FOR ME. DONE. I CAN’T FIGURE HIM OUT. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. YES, I’M YELLING.

Francesco Molinari: The more difficult, the better for the Italian highlighted by his T2 at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.

Russell Knox: I’m looking to catch before he pops up and wins another one. He couldn’t back up his T10 from Waialae last week so I’m hoping gamers aren’t paying attention this week.

Peter Uihlein: Hopefully you all have stopped reading by now but I doubt it as I haven’t evaluated Woods yet. All of this guy’s finishes when making the cut are in the top 20. There were PLENTY of young bombers in the top 10 last year.

Brendan Steele: I have no problem sticking this SoCal ball-striker into my lineup this week. He’s made six from seven tries at Torrey and has racked up four consecutive top 30 performances in the new season.

Cameron Smith: In his third trip here last year he played the weekend 70-70. His form has been sizzling since last September.

 

Course Horses

Tiger Woods: Any arguments? Didn’t think so. Big test this week is actual rough and a non-resort course hit-and-giggle. I’m interested to see how he competes with a cut and the incessant questions. I know the vibes will be great but pro gamers will also remember this is the place where the “glutes didn’t activate”. His short game will have to be sharp if he’s not finding fairways and greens. It’s exciting to have him back but I’m not rushing to the front of the line in fantasy land to pick him up.

Keegan Bradley: Of his five weekends, four have gone for T25 or better including the best of the bunch, T4 last year.

Scott Stallings: Almost won two in a row here in 2014-15 but fell in the four-man playoff to Jason Day. His last three top 10’s have been on easy tracks. Caution.

J.B. Holmes: With his length it’s hardly surprising he’s made nine cuts in 12 tries. The last four years include a pair of top 10’s and nothing worse than T33. Don’t look at his current form though!

Jimmy Walker: A few years ago, the West Coast/Hawaii swing was an all-you-can-eat buffet with Walker. Now battling Lyme disease, I can’t load up my plate as he’s MC in five-straight events.

Martin Laird: He’s cashed in five straight and his streak of top-10 finishes was busted at two in a row with T74 last year. Quail Hollow Club connection as well.

Nick Watney: He is fifth on the all-time money list here. He’s from California. He’s busted a couple of low ones in his last two starts to get my attention. I’ll shove him in the backdoor in deeper games.

 

Off the Beaten Path

Long shots, cheeky picks, DFS last call, red herrings

Bud Cauley: He’s probably too high up the list but I’ll let him play his way down the ladder.

J.J. Spaun: San Diegan posted T9 here last year. I wildly swung and missed on him last week. I’m also a glutton for punishment.

Richy Werenski: Closed with 66 on South Course last year and is quietly humming along in 2018.

Michael Kim: San Diegan who has played this course a million times. He gave it a sniff in 2016 as he was two back before being blown away on Monday with 83.

Michael Thompson: He’s made five of six here including a pair of top-15 finishes in the last three years. Lovely flier in any exotics.

Norman Xiong: College student with two wins in the fall. San Diegan with a ton of rounds on these tracks. Make the cut, son!

Seamus Power: Have a poke, son. Smash it find it, smash it again.

Jonas Blixt: Plays here every year and has made five of six. His T20 last year backed his T6 from 2016. Interesting.

 

Fades

Injured, rusty or not the track this week

Charley Hoffman: 20 events and only three top 25’s.

Patrick Reed: If he wasn’t playing with Woods (like Hoffman), he might get a different look after closing with 67 last Sunday.

Bill Haas: I don’t break guys out of MC streaks. I don’t break guys out of MC streaks that have reached three.

Xander Schauffele: Changed his bag from Taylor Made to Callaway. I’ll let that settle in.

.

Next:

I’ll present my gaming angles for the week so keep your eyes peeled @MikeGlasscott for more information.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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