Preview: 69th Farmers Insurance Open

It’s not the US Open, yet, but it’s close. Internationals have won the last the four so keep that in mind. Tiger is the landlord but he’s not in the field this week.

Nice…

69th Farmers Insurance Open

Torrey Pines Golf Club

South Course (host)

North Course

La Jolla, California

Yards (per official scorecard):7,765
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:Poa annua
Stimpmeter:12.5
Rough:Over-seeded Kikuyu grass (with Rye) at three inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards82/1
Architects:William P. Bell and William F. Bell (1957); Rees Jones (2001).
Course Record:South: 62; Tiger Woods (1999). New North: 62; Jon Rahm (2019), Ryan Palmer (2020). Old North: 61; Brandt Snedeker (2007).
Post-2016 Tournament Record:267; Justin Rose (2019).
Defending Champion:Marc Leishman (-15; 273).
Fact of the Week:The last four winners are internationals. Only five different internationals in 68 events.
Fact of the Week II:Tom Weiskopf redesigned the North Course prior to the 2017 event.

Notes:

  • Field of 156
  • One round on the North and South Thursday/Friday.
  • Top 65 and ties play the South Course Rounds 3 and 4.
  • South Course will host the 2021 US Open in June.
  • South Course hosted the 2008 US Open (Tiger Woods, playoff).

2020-2021  Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak*
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz*
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.

Previous Winners: *Playoff

YearWinner Comment
2020Marc Leishman-15Trailed by four entering Sunday, shot 65 and won by a shot over Jon Rahm.
2019Justin Rose-21Missed tying the all-time tournament record by a shot. PERFECT weather.
2018Jason Day*-10Picked up his second win in four years in a playoff (Alex Noren, Ryan Palmer). Both wins in a playoff.
2017Jon Rahm-14Made “that eagle putt” from 60-odd feet to win for the first time on TOUR.
2016Brandt Snedeker-6Backed up his 2012 in the most goofy of circumstances. Throw out everything else.

Facts and Figures:

Lowest Rounds – Last YearSouth Course: 65 – Marc Leishman, Charley Hoffman. North Course : 62 – Ryan Palmer.
Defending Champion(s) Event:Tiger Woods (2005-2008); Phil Mickelson (2000-2001).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Mickelson, Snedeker and Day.
Oldest  Winner: 
Youngest Winner:23; Jon Rahm (2017).
First Time – TOUR:Jay Don Blake (1991), Jon Rahm.
First Time – EventArnold Palmer (1957), Jon Rahm.
Odd Fact:South Course 7,765 was the longest track ever played in a TOUR event last year.
Odd Fact II:There’s only one water deal/penalty/hazard over the 36 holes: No. 18 on the South.

Quick Thoughts

Time for golf.

Length. Rough. Slick greens. Mini-major.

The South Course has some of the toughest fairways and greens to hit annually on TOUR so the entire bag will be inspected this week.

For the first time since Winged Foot, scores of 70 to 72 won’t knock guys out of the event.

Kikuyu grass will also be on the menu at Riviera so that’s not a terrible place to look for “answers”. Oddly, Woods never found it there but won eight times here.

Poa is back for three rounds. There are those who do. And there are those who don’t. Putts will wobble, bobble and get knocked off line. It happens. Make the next one.

Par 3 are long and strong. Par 5 are the same. Cool temps and no altitude will reward natural power.

Guys who stay disciplined and make plenty of pars will hang around.

That can be from tee to green or getting up and down. Make par, move on take advantage of the next one.

I’d expect something in the 10-under to 13-under range again this year. We’ve seen the Rose beat down and the Snedeker survival but those extremes don’t look to be on the cards weather-wise this week.

The North Course played almost two shots easier in “normal” conditions last year so load up when applicable.

My brain didn’t have enough time to wonder over to Quail Hollow this year but that’s another big ballpark where you can find some correlation. Or don’t. I really don’t care 🙂

Here’s a little treat from last year:

Lowest Rounds/Course
(players entered this year)
 
Round 1
66- Sebastian Cappelen SC
66- Keegan Bradley NC Bogey Free
 
 
 
Round 2
62- Ryan Palmer NC
65- Cameron Davis NC
66- Hossler, Wolff & Frittelli
 
 
Round 3
65- Jon Rahm
67- Rory McIlroy
67- Sung Kang Bogey Free
67 – Tom Hoge
 
Round 4
65- Marc Leishman
65- Charley Hoffman Bogey Free
67- Max Homa Bogey Free

Chalk – Betting favorites and my opinions on them

Jon Rahm (+650): Picking winners aint easy folks. I used this illustration last week with Cantlay who was +1200. There’s no value, especially with the names challenging him. His form justifies the price as he’s on fire. The surprise would be him not in the top five.

Rory McIlroy (+800): Here we go again. Led after 54 in the Middle East last week and couldn’t close the door, again, on Sunday. Name the last time he won. Go on. 2019 WGC HSBC Champions. He’s here again after T5 and T3 and a week half a world away. I doubt he’s forgotten how to win.

Xander Schauffele (+1200): Red hot form meets ice cold course history. Something is going to give. I usually lean course history because MC in 4 of 5 and T25 in the other is plenty of evidence this price is overblown. We went through this with Rickie Fowler for five or six years also. It’s a home town even for both of them so of course they’re going to play.

Tony Finau (+1800): He keeps the books rich. Stick him in the top 10, again, and go collect. It should be the place where he breaks thru so stick a nibble on that but don’t be surprised when he doesn’t! Nothing worse than T13 his last four appearances and nothing worse than T24 career in six.

Harris English (+2200): Shit hot fire and lost in 4-man playoff to Day here in 2015 will catch the eye. Not mine but he should hit the top 20.

Patrick Reed (+2500): Wait, what? The harder the event, the more I like Reed. His last eight here are in the red. His last 11 of 12 are par or better. He’s trending as well. MC last week does nothing to dissuade.

Hideki Matsuyama (+2500): Great ball-striking and short game (chipping) will always catch our attention. I always prefer him when par is a decent score but this isn’t the place. His best result here (T3) was posted in the easiest conditions in almost 20 years. It’s his only top 10 in seven trips. Pass.

Viktor Hovland (+3000): First time in the event. First event in three weeks. He’ll be fine but Top 20 fine.

My Long Shots and Others 33-1 or worse

(If you don’t see your player on here, you’ve answered the question you were going to ask me)

Sungjae Im (+3300): Just when I start getting comfortable with him…BLAMMO MC. USUALLY doesn’t follow up week to week with big ones, minus Honda-API last year so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t fire this week.

Adam Scott (+3300): It’s obvious why he’s back. It’s also obvious he likes Southern California as he’ll defend in few weeks at Riviera. The rust should be off and I expect him to fire this week.

Marc Leishman (+3500): Defending doesn’t happen every day but he has the tools in the kit to make it happen. I thought, based on his recent run of form, he’d be in the Harris English neighborhood. Jump.

Jason Day (+3500): I’m not REGRETTING my decision to list him as my winner in expert picks but the more I think about new swing thoughts, I get nervous. Putting pen to paper at Torrey will help him for two reasons: No water and his past history here. Swing it and get up and down from everywhere, like usual.

Brooks Koepka (+3500): Maybe in June when it “counts”.

Si Woo Kim (+4000): Not even Rahm has done the AMEX-FIO double.

Bubba Watson (+4500): Started his season here last year with T6 in his first visit since 2014. Starting his season again here. When Bubba is comfy, I get comfy.

Ryan Palmer (+5000): He’ll feel like he’s owed one here. I don’t think he’s wrong per se but that a hefty group in front of him I like more. Top 20 money and cash.

Billy Horschel (+5000): Shoulda at Kapalua. Woulda at Sony. It’s not far. Maybe this week or next.

Gary Woodland (+5500): Another who maybe should have already picked up a win here, streak of 10 straight busted last year. Streak of four straight in the top 20 busted as well. Nibble on ew and easy top 20 money.

Cameron Smith (+5500): Of the three Cameron choices in this range, take the one with the full bag. Easy. Might sneak Cam Tringale in at +14000 for a top 20. Too bad Cam Cameron isn’t a TOUR pro or this would be BONKERS.

Jason Kokrak (+6000): Loved him at Winged Foot, love him here. Move him up and in.

Francesco Molinari (+7500): Almost a home game now since he moved the fam to LA. Flashed form in the last few months. Stick him in.

Charles Howell (+9000): Never MC in 17 tries. Top 20.

Max Homa (+11000): LA, last group last week, 67 on Sunday last year. Line up. Top 10/20. Quail dawg.

John Huh (+125000): Top 20 and enjoy any bonus on top.

Harry Higgs (+17500): Plenty of goods. Send it.

Patrick Rodgers (+17500): My annual play here. Top 10 twice in five. Quail connect.

Kyoung-Hun Lee (+22500): Excellent run of form should cash a top 20 ticket.

Sung Kang (+40000): Yeah, top 20. He’s done that the last two years.

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

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