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Farmers Insurance Open: Expert Picks

Tony Finau is consistent at Torrey Pines

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Tournament Information

Farmers Insurance Open
Date: January 28th – 31st
Course: Torrey Pines Golf Course
Purse: $7.5MM ($1.4MM to winner)
2020 Winner: Marc Leishman (-15)
OWGR Points: 58


Torrey Pines — Created in 1957 by William F. Bell and redesigned by Rees Jones in 2001, this 7,600 yard long course (longest on PGA tour) runs right along the Pacific Ocean. They host canyons and thick grass along the perimeter and require a long shot off the tee. While they are fairly open for the more inaccurate tee shots, there are traps placed throughout to trip up the golfers not prepared. The greens can run into the ocean and it’s best to fall short. Players who can drive the ball far tend to thrive but the bunkers are punishing and the coastline provides out of bounds into the ocean.

Farmers Insurance Open - Final Round Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

My Starting 4

Tony Finau (first selection this year) — Finau has the best track here recently with four straight years of top 15 finishes. He’s made the cut on eight consecutive tournaments this year finishing in the top 10 four times. Given the length of this course his 27th longest average drive will bode well here.

Jon Rahm (second selection this year) — Immediately behind Finau is Rahm who finished in the top 30 each of the last four years (finishing in the top five three of those four years). He’s second in OWGR and comes here with three consecutive top 10 finishes. He’s 25th in drive distance this year.

Charles Howell III (first selection this year) — Howell finished in the top 20 here from 2017-2019. He did not participate here last year and now he returns in 2021 with six made cuts across eight tournaments (including top 25 finishes in two of his last three tournaments). He’s 104th in drive distance but he will thrive here off his putting (currently 11th in strokes gained on the tour).

Patrick Reed (third selection this year) — Reed keeps getting better here over the last few years. He was 23rd here in 2018, 13th in 2019 and sixth last year. He’s 11th in OWGR and started strong this season with four consecutive top 25 finishes before missing the cut last week at the American Express. His drive distance is below average but he’s third on the tour in strokes gained putting as well as fourth in birdie average and 36th in eagles, he makes up for the distance issue with excellent putting.

My Bench 2

Ryan Palmer (second selection this year) — Palmer has finished in the top 25 each of the last three years at Torrey Pines. He’s 50th in drive distance, he has top 10 finishes in three of his last four tournaments and he is 31st in total strokes gained.

Keegan Bradley (first selection this year) — Bradley likes Torrey Pines. He’s been in the top 20 in three of the last four years here, and he will need to generate that strong history as he’s missed the cut in six out of his 10 tournaments this season. He’s 100th in drive distance and 35th in drive accuracy. His putting has been atrocious so unlike Reed he will have to make up his shots tee to green (ninth in strokes gained) and lose ground on the greens.

Fun Fact: Tommy Bolt won here two of the first five years. He would go on to win the US Open in 1958 and was inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.

2020-2021 Stats (1st percent would be the top golfer picked every week)
Starting 4: avg finish 36th (29th percent)
Bench 2: avg finish 50th (40th percent)