PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open Preview

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Our golf expert previews the Farmers Insurance Open taking place at Torrey Pines between 24 and 27 January. 

The Farmers Insurance Open | 24 - 27 January | Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California

The West Coast Swing continues this week with a trip to San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open. The return of the Tiger always triggers a delirious response on the Tour that was- in many ways- created in his image. Originally known as the San Diego Open when it was first staged in 1952, this will be the 67th edition of the Farmers Insurance Open. It has been played at Torrey Pines since 1968. The players will play the North and South Course over the first two days before reverting to the South Course for the weekend. It’s not just Tiger Woods adding glitz this week, as a star-studded line-up give the impression that the US PGA Tour really starts this week.

Both of these courses were designed by Billy Bell Jr and were opened in 1957. The South Course was revamped in 2001 by Rees Jones and played host to the 2008 US Open while the North course underwent a huge renovation as recently as 2016. The South Course is extremely long and will offer a greater test then its counterpart. Both courses have Bentgrass greens and will run fairly fast, almost mimicking Augusta conditions. Players will need to be dialled in with their long-irons on courses that are amongst the most challenging on the tour all year.

Clearly, the Tiger carnival will be attraction number one. But you also have the presence of the European Tour’s Tiger equivalent: Rory McIlroy. You get the sense that this will be a crucial year for Rory, whose quest for a fifth Major has perhaps overshadowed the need to just play consistently. Justin Rose will look to bounce back after a disappointing showing last week while huge hitting Tony Finau should thrive in these conditions. Jon Rahm leads the market rather tenuously though he did get himself amongst it in the latter parts of last week’s event. Xander Schauffele is perhaps the hottest rising star in world golf while stars such as Ricky Fowler and Jason Day merely fill the bye-line this week.

Past Winners
2018: Jason Day (-10)*playoff
2017: Jon Rahm (-13)
2016: Brandt Snedeker (-6)
2015: Jason Day (-9)*playoff
2014: Scott Stallings (-9)

To Win Outright:
Jon Rahm 10/1 | Rory McIlroy 12/1 | Justin Rose 12/1 | Jason Day 16/1 | Tiger Woods 16/1

Value Bets 

Keegan Bradley- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
Obviously, Tiger is the man in this event, with his outrageous amount of wins perhaps indicating that a horses for courses approach may prove useful. Bradley enjoyed top 25 finishes here in 2011, 2012 and 2014. But recent form has been even more impressive, with a fourth in 2017 followed by a fifth last year. Bradley’s recent career resurrection was punctuated by that fabulous victory at the BMW Championship. He also had a top four in Canada and a tie for sixth at the WGC HSBC.

JB Holmes- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
Last year’s controversies tend to distract from Holmes’ brilliant form. He spent four minutes deliberating his second to the final hole, as he desperately needed an eagle to pip Jason Day to the title. The delay certainly affected playing partners Ryan Palmer and Alex Noren in their bid for the title. He has finishes of fourth, sixth and second in his last three starts in this event. This is his first start in more than two months, which is slightly concerning. But top 20’s at the Safeway Open and CIMB Classic in the Fall Series do indicate that Homes may not be far away from his best.

The Man to Beat- Gary Woodland- To Win 28/1, To Place 6/1
Woodland has been impressive of late and he returns to a course that he thrives on. He has top 20’s in each of his last three visits here. While he did miss the cut at the Sony Open, it was predated by four top 10’s in five starts. That included two runner-up finishes. He is currently 10th on tour for GIR and fourth for birdie average. He is just a player in exceptional form with no real weakness in his game. Should he land a few putts early on, watch out for Woodland.

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets. 

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