2023 Farmers Insurance Open Preview

Torrey Pines

January is almost over and it will go more quickly with golf starting WEDNESDAY of this week!

2023 Farmers Insurance Open

Torrey Pines Golf Club

South Course (host)

La Jolla, CA

Weekly Readers:

Horses for Courses – click here

Statistically Speaking – click here

Expert Picks – click here

By now pgatour.com/golfbet should be in your bookmarks or in your history so it just pops up. All of our stuff is there so if you haven’t, do it.

I always read Rob Bolton’s stuff after I post and suggest you do the same.

Pour One Out:

Pick ‘Em LIVE, KFT Power Rankings and PGA TOUR Champions Power Rankings have been shelved. Will they return? Great question. Stay tuned.

NOW PLAYING:

Golf.

No hit and giggles this week! And a winning score barely squeaking into double figures instead of pushing 30-under will also be a nice change.

Yes, these guys are good!

The South Course at Torrey is a brute and has an array of holes to test the entire bag. Half of the Par-5 holes sit at 600 yards plus. Might have a chance to pick up a shot or two on the Par-3 holes. The rough will be a factor as they have had a wet winter and it’s THICC.

Grinding out pars and taking chances when presented is the formula around here. Those with the bigger bats will have lesser clubs to find the Poa annua greens. Two putting every green in regulation won’t hurt this week either on these surfaces.

The North Course is where the fun can happen. It’s 500 yards shorter and its greens are perfect for holing putts from everywhere. Only get 18 holes so make the most of it! North Course does NOT use ShotLink either.

Host CourseSouth Course
Yards (per official scorecard):7,765
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:Poa annua; 5,000 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter:Pushing 13 feet.
Rough:Kikuyugrass over seeded with Rye pushing four inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards/In Play82/1/1
Architect(s):William P  Bell & William F Bell (1957).
Purse:$8.7 million ($1.56 winner) plus 500 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion:Luke List (-15; defeated Will Zalatoris in a playoff).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Jason Day (2015, 2018).
72 Hole Tournament Record: Current Rotation266; Tiger Woods (1999; not entered).
Course Record:62; Tiger Woods (1999).
Fact of the Week:Only three first-time winners on TOUR here, including List and Rahm, since 1992.
Fact of the Week II:21 winners have started on the South. 19 winners have started on the North.
  
North Course 
Yards (per official scorecard):7,258
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:Tyee 007 Bentgrass 6,000 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter:Pushing 12 feet.
Rough:Kikuyugrass over seeded with Rye at 3″.
Bunkers/Water Hazards:42/0/1
Architect(s):Tom Weiskopf Redesign (2017).
Course Record: (last)61; Brandt Snedeker (2007)

Notes:

  • Field of 156
  • Top 65 and ties after one round on each course
  • Top 65 and ties play the final round at the South Course.
  • Local connections include Xander Schauffele, Scott Piercy, Charley Hoffman, Rickie Fowler, JJ Spaun, Beau Hossler, and probably a few others if you count all of the Southland!

Mother Nature appears to be involved this week with cool morning temperatures, a possible Marine layer and winds before the weekend. Speaking of, WEDNESDAY THRU SATURDAY people!

Season Winners

2022-2023 Season Winners

EventWinner
Fortinet ChampionshipMax Homa
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipMackenzie Holmes
Shriners Children’s OpenTom Kim
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPKeegan Bradley
CJ CUP at CONGAREERory McIlroy
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power
Mayakoba ChampionshipRussell Henley
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTony Finau
The RSM ClassicAdam Svensson (first TOUR win)
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsJon Rahm
Sony Open in HawaiiSi Woo Kim
The AMERICAN EXPRESSJon Rahm (2)

Recent Event Winners

Italics – not entered this week

YearWinnerNotes
2022Luke List (-15)Closed with 66 and then beat Will Zalatoris in a playoff for his first win on TOUR.
2021Patrick Reed (-14)Won by five as he led the field SG: Around the Green. Shot 64 on the North.
2020Marc Leishman (-15)Led the field in SG: Putting as he won here in his 12th visit.
2019Justin Rose (-21)Perfect weather (warm, no wind) saw him miss tying the tournament record by a shot.
2018Jason Day (-10)Won for the second time and won for the second time in a playoff.
2017Jon Rahm (-13)Eagled the last to win for the first time on TOUR.

This Week – Farmers Insurance Open

There’s only one Jon Rahm but he’s won both of his events in 2023.

The big ballpark will reward those who can properly grind while taking advantage of the opportunities presented.

We’ve seen power players win here, short game magicians and Tiger/Phil.

When in doubt, find someone who can give it a knock!

Just eight of the top 20 OWGR land this week in San Diego.

Only five international winners but three in the last five years.

Remember, you get 100% back of what it cost you to read this if I’m wrong!

LET’S GO!

Chalk (via BetMGM)

Jon Rahm (+450): https://twitter.com/PGATOUR/status/1617689033194500098?s=20&t=4iVm09OkkfGKE538ILI7iA

Tony Finau (+1200): Easy second choice as his form has been steady and he’s no longer a liability when it comes to win tickets. Massive course horse but did MC last year. Won’t have to worry about Ball-Striking!

Xander Schauffele (+1200):  Only concern this week will be how his back adjusts to hacking balls out of the bushy Kikuyu/Rye rough. Oh, and it will be chilly in the morning! Local hasn’t had much success here with only one top 20 finish (five back T2 in 2021) and MC in four of seven trips. Too many moving parts for me.

Collin Morikawa (+1400): Still baffled he didn’t win Sentry but that won’t bother him. He didn’t close out Sentry because of his Ball-Striking so I’m not worried. West Coast dude on Poa should be a lovely landing spot.

Justin Thomas (+1600): Maybe the wedding was the distraction? That’s over as of last weekend so congratulations to the newlyweds! Now, back to golf. Only making his fourth start here but did post 63 (T20) on the North Course last year. No point shoving square pegs into round holes.

Will Zalatoris (+1600): Should feel like this place owes him one after not being able to close it out from the final group last year. Now with a win under his belt he won’t have that to worry about if he’s in the same spot again. Seems like the bigger and more difficult the course, the more his skill set shines.

Max Homa (+2200): Plays well everywhere these days! His part of the world, new dad, full bag, all the signs point this direction. Except that he’s 2-6 here and MC last time around. T9 2020, T18 2021 and missed by just a shot last year suggests he’s figured it out.

Sungjae Im (+2200): Good news is he’s back to playing every week after getting married in December. Never missed her in four starts and the best of the bunch was last year by nine shots.

Jason Day (+2500): If he’s healthy, which I don’t have any evidence to the contrary, this week should set up perfectly for him. He has the formula around here and his game is trending as well. No surprise if he’s in the mix again.

Taylor Montgomery (+2500): No more free lunch! Of his last nine starts eight have cashed T15 or better including solo fifth last week. Power? Yep. Putting? OOOOOOHBABY. T11 here last year on debut with 64 on the North and all three rounds on the South par or better. What’s not to like?

Top 10

JJ Spaun (+350): Local lad playing some of his best golf with T25 or better in six of his last seven.

Justin Rose (+350): Fits like a glove here. Top 10 in four of his last five visits including a win.

Patrick Rodgers (+650): Bit all or nothing here but can give it poke and excels in big ballparks.

Ryan Palmer (+650): Won’t mind a bit of wind and has gone close here before.

Robby Shelton (+750): T23 or better in four of his last seven but T6-MC-T10 in the last three. Never MC in two trips.

Danny Lee (+1400): The broomstick has brought life back to his game. Never was a problem tee to green. Won’t have to make as many this week to keep up.

First Round Leader

I said wait until Torrey Pines last week.

Well, here we are!

Easy formula comes with reduced odds as FRL is split between the two courses.

JJ Spaun on the North (+3000)

Austin Smotherman on the South (+6600)

OAD

I’m back for another year of punishment, longing and second guessing.

Oh, and I’m in Spotter’s One and Done league again!

Each week I’ll throw five names in here who should or SHOULD NOT be looked upon when making your weekly suggestion.

With only 30-odd events in 2023 it will streamline our decision making quite a bit. Not going to want to roll into the final week with 3 or 4 premium players sitting on the bench!

This week isn’t a DESGINATED event so there’s that.

Jon Rahm is also in the field, so there’s that as well.

Those who already rode him to victory at Sentry cashed a big prize. Those of you who had him last week received about half. There’s no guarantee he’s going to win on his favorite course this week but that’s one way to play this game.

Here’s my theory:

He’s beyond good enough to win this week and THEN WIN AGAIN. I never read or see anything that suggests he’s ever satisfied so I can wait for a bigger prize pool. IF he wins this week he’s not going to roll into Augusta or Oak Hill and put his feet up and mail it in. I can easily see him winning five or six times so I’m not going to panic on his heat.

Tony Finau will carry the freight for me this week. Comfortably in the shadows of Rahm’s scorched earth policy, the big hitter can and will go about his business on a track he also enjoys, minus a victory.

Will Zalatoris should be in the conversation but he’s also proven he cannot be ignored in the majors when healthy. This was a tough lay down for me so I’ll congratulate Will on his victory now. Only made three bogeys here last year.

Jason Day can also be used at Pebble Beach next week (if he enters) as his short game magic works there as well.

Max Homa/Collin Morikawa should run well but with Riviera  around the corner and the US Open at LACC I’m going to bide my time.

Taylor Montgomery has done nothing to be knocked off this list and needs to be considered.

Just missed: Justin Rose, Ryan Palmer, Hayden Buckley, Luke List (tough to defend the first one),

Long Shots

Sahith Theegala (+5000)

Beau Hossler (+12500)

Nick Hardy (+12500)

Joseph Bramlett (+25000)

Lanto Griffin (+25000)

Caleb Surratt (+50000)

Kelly Kraft (+50000)

Last Week – The AMERICAN EXPRESS

There’s only one Jon Rahm but he’s won both of his events in 2023.

Davis Thompson reminded everyone of why he was highly regarded coming up thru the ranks and veterans Chris Kirk and JT Poston love a bit of Bermuda. Tom Kim only plays like shit when he’s my OAD so that’s good for the rest of you. I’ll have to remember that the South Africans like it here as well. It’s their summer, obviously and they play all December and should be in form.

I guess I need a Spring Training event or two as well to loosen up!

Remember, you get 100% back of what it cost you to read this if I’m wrong!

LET’S GO!

Chalk (via BetMGM)

Jon Rahm (+600): OK, remember the advice I gave at Kapalua, right? If you like him, get him in play when you’ll get better odds. This is probably going to be a copy/paste for the rest of eternity. There were 18 of the top 20 OWGR in his last event. There are 10 of 20 this time around so wait again. 2018 winner knows this is a putting contest and will be fired up to prove he can win one of these. Again. Yep, again. He’s 2-2 in 2023 and https://twitter.com/PGATOUR/status/1617689033194500098?s=20&t=4iVm09OkkfGKE538ILI7iA

Scottie Scheffler (+1000): Should have won here on debut in 2020 but couldn’t handle the smoke from Andrew Landry in the final group. Yeah, shootouts (and he had never won on TOUR). Sat T2 in Maui last time out after 54 before fading to T7. Posted 22-under and didn’t hit the top 10. Shootouts will do you like that! T11.

Patrick Cantlay (+1100): Check his record at TPC Summerlin in the Las Vegas desert. Check his record here. Has 61 at Stadium Course and 62 at La Quinta. Only thing missing is the trophy. Sign me up. Can’t post rounds in the 70s here and 71 in Round 3 killed any momentum. Closed with 65 on the Stadium Course for T26.

Tony Finau (+1400): Nothing wrong with his form entering as he was T7 in Maui and a winner in Houston. Impossible to ignore as he’s a GIR and Birdie machine.  Will not talk you out of him at any level. Circled 28 birdies last week and didn’t hit the top 15! T16.

Will Zalatoris (+2000): All of his top finishes last season were on big boy golf courses, minus this one. His 61 at NT set him up nicely but posted two rounds of 70 plus en route to T6. Rolls in off 24 birdies at Kapalua against just four bogeys. Not bad for his first action since August (T11). T36 with four rounds in the 60s as he’s steadily playing himself back into competitive shape after missing the entire fall.

Cameron Young (+2200): Only Rahm went lower at Kapalua in the final round with 63 as Young finally broke through with 64. Dude made THIRTY birdies BUT had nine bogeys and a double (T13). Sat three back of the 54 hole lead last year before blowing a tire for 77 in the final round. Add 26 more birdies but had seven bogeys and a double. VOLATILE AF. T26.

Sungjae Im (+2200): Never better than 10th or worse than T12. Wasn’t inspired by his two weeks in Hawaii (MC-T13) but you gotta do you. Adjusting to married life, maybe? Opened with 65 and never got any better. T22.

Tom Kim (+2200): Won in the Las Vegas desert in October on 24-under so this won’t be new territory. MC last week as the favorite. MC in his only visit in 2021. Conflicted. Gonna be REEL X EYE TIT to see his only BAD TOURNAMENT of the year is the week that I fired him in OAD. T6.

Xander Schauffele (+2200): WD in Maui with a back deal but he’s in the field so that should tell us what we need to know. First visit since 2017 is interesting. I’ll save him for when he’s played himself back into form on courses he prefers. And of course he closes with 62 for T3. Best part is any lingering doubts about his back seem to be on the shelf.

Sam Burns (+3500): He’s the next listed player after the guys at +2200. Last time there was this gap it was Max Homa at +3300 in Maui and he finished third. A pair of 64s for T11 as he hit great.

Top 10

Brian Harman (+320): T3 and T8 in his last two visits so I’ll tag along. Closed with 65 last week at Sony and will be playing for the third week running. Time to floor it! Gotta make the cut to hit the top 10…MC.

Taylor Montgomery (+333): Probably also needs a win ticket just in case. Las Vegas native should feel right at home in these surroundings. Super putter. Gave it run all week but fell just short. Solo Fifth.

Andrew Putnam (+375): Cashed in eight straight including T4 at Sony. Trending in his last four and has plenty of positive vibes in the California desert. Posted 16-under and never was a factor at T36.

David Lipsky (+600): T4/T10 in two of his last three so I won’t have to worry about him heating up! Solo 14th on debut last year will free him up this time around. Can’t open 71-70 here! MC.

Matthew NeSmith (+850): Rattled off three straight in the top 10 last fall that involved T2 at TPC Summerlin as the best of the bunch. GIR machine but will need the putter to follow suit. Opened with 75. Amazing that he was 8-under after 54. Not enough though. MC.

Kevin Yu (+1400): Always need a long shot, right? Former ASU Sun Devil won’t be bothered by the desert setting or making birdies. T21 last week with four rounds in the 60s to get his 2023 started. Kids…MC.

First Round Leader

The two best rounds last year to open were both at La Quinta and both were 10-under 62.

Now comes the tricky part!

Patrick Cantlay and rookie Lee Hodges posted these scores and that encapsulates the challenge this week.

Cantlay, yeah, got it, shot 60 as an am in 2011 at TPC River Highlands. Shot 61 to set the course record at the Stadium Course the year before, roger that.

Hughes was making his ninth start with a TOUR card.

Maybe we’ll revisit this NEXT week when we know it’s going to come from the North Course at Torrey Pines.

If I’m going to dabble this week, I’m heading to La Quinta. Taylor Montgomery has a very comfortable pairing with Las Vegas buddy Justin Suh. Speaking of, Cantlay and Schauffele are also paired at LQCC so if you like a bit of chalk…

Lowest round was Davis Thompson’s 62 on La Quinta! (Lee Hodges).

Taylor Montgomery shared the second lowest round at 64 with four others.

Xander Schauffele opened with 65 while Cantlay signed for 68.

OAD

I’m back for another year of punishment, longing and second guessing.

Oh, and I’m in Spotter’s One and Done league again!

Each week I’ll throw five names in here who should or SHOULD NOT be looked upon when making your weekly suggestion.

With only 30-odd events in 2023 it will streamline our decision making quite a bit. Not going to want to roll into the final week with 3 or 4 premium players sitting on the bench!

Can’t be any worse than last week! OR IS IT?

Tom Hoge – No more distractions, just golf. His all-or-nothingness here is EXCITING, yet maddening.  LET’S GOOOOOOOOO. Opened with 71 and I knew I was dead. Closing 66-68-66 was great but not with 71 on the front. T32 and another terrible selection.

Brian Harman – Veteran who won’t be bothered in the format and knows how to close a win. Too much good golf over the last year not to have a win. MC.

Adam Hadwin  – Always have a course horse in here! Never missed in seven tries and has four top six paydays.  T18 as he adds to his bounty at this event. It’s too many years in a row of T32 or better.

Andrew Putnam – 13 straight dating back to last year. Super putter runs into the desert off T4 last week. Wont’ have to worry about closing out for the first time on TOUR either.  The streak is now 14 straight but he made absolutely nothing after painting Fairways and GIR. Funny old game. T36.

Taylor Montgomery – Super putter. Plenty of birdies. Match made in heaven. Now go do it! Excuse me if I’m feeling a bit nauseous…5th.

David Lipsky – ERRBODY INDA CLUB GETTIN’ LIPSKY. Update. ERRBODY too Lipsky after MC.

Just missed: Cam Davis – MC, KH Lee (TPC Craig Ranch) – MC, Denny McCarthy – T50, Davis Riley – T65 and Ben Griffin – T32.

Long Shots

Carl Yuan (+20000) – MC

Michael Thompson (+20000) – WRONG THOMPSON, MC

David Lingmerth (+25000) – MC

Harry Hall (+30000) – T41

Augusto Nunez (+50000) – MC

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