The PGA Tour finds itself on familiar ground this week for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla California. This week is also the PGA Tour 2013 debut of Tiger Woods, you might have heard of him before. There will be more on Tiger later.
The format for the Farmer’s will have both the North and South courses in play. A full field of 156 players will play 18-holes on both the North and South layouts through Thursday and Friday. A cut will be made allowing the top 70 scores and ties to advance to weekend play on the South Course.
The North course plays to a par of 72 at 6,874 yards. The South course plays to a par of 72 at 7,569 yards. The South course saw a complete retrofit in preparation for the 2002 Buick which was a key to hosting the 2008 US Open.
The purse for this year’s event is set at $6.1M with the winner taking a nice $1,098,000 check home to help get the New Year started right. Tiger Woods is the all-time money leader at the Farmers banking over $5.7M in career winnings (not counting the 2008 US Open).
It is safe to say that having the 54-hole lead in this event is not a gold standard for victory. Only four players who slept on the lead going into Sunday hung on to taste victory since 2000. Phil Mickelson accomplished this in 2000, Tiger did it both in 2003 and 2008, and John Daly accomplished the feat in 2004. So when evaluating who might win this week taking a front runner is not necessarily a lock and if you placed a wager don’t cry Saturday night if you guy is a couple of shots out of the lead. There is still hope.
Now that we covered the course and a brief history let’s see who has a shot to take down Torrey Pines in 2013. There are obviously the hot new names that seem to be tearing things up at the beginning of 2013 edition of the PGA Tour season but excuse me if I do not wait for a more complete body of work before I back them. Below is a breakdown of who I feel has the best shot at Victory in La Jolla over the weekend.
Phil Mickelson: It is his home course and one he loves to play. He has won on this track on three separate occasions. He had a weekend assault on the Humana so appears rounded into form well enough to have a shot this weekend.
Tiger Woods: I know his debut in Abu Dhabi results in some pretty ugly shots, a 2-stroke penalty and a missed cut. But this is Torrey Pines; Tiger has won seven career tournaments here including an incredible performance in the 2008 US Open. Is he in peak form? Nope, but if you do not count the US Open then Tiger has 47 rounds on the two courses under his belt with a 68.82 stroke average and 44 of those rounds were at even par or better. It is impossible not to have him on the contender list regardless of form.
Dustin Johnson: You combine one of the longest hitters on tour with some of the longest par-5s on tour and you get advantage Johnson. He has already won at the weather shortened Tournament of Champions. I expect a big year from the youngster and this course will set up to take advantage of his length. Contender
Nick Watney: Nick has finished in the top-10 twice in his last three appearances at Torrey Pines including a win in 2009. He was 11th on tour in par-5 performance in 2012 and third in total eagles which play nicely into this event. He is coming off a top-15 in Hawaii to start the season and looking for redemption over this track form 2012. He should be focused and ready to go.
Brandt Snedeker: Plain and simple he loves it here. He has three top-10 finishes in his last three appearances over the Torrey Pines track including a tie for third in 2007, a second place finish in 2010 and a win in 2012. Brandt is also the defending Fed Ex Cup champion and in one start this year he has a third place finish in the Tournament of Champions. Looks like a live bet to win.
I tried to back Snedeker. Then I looked hard at Dustin Johnson. I spent a long time mulling over Phil on his home course. With all that in mind I just cannot pick against a man who has won seven times over this course (including the 2008 US Open). I cannot pick against a man that has only been over par three times in 47 career rounds and has an incredible stroke average at Torrey Pines. I know his form did not look sound to start out the year but come on, it’s Tiger and the man has bounced back to victory before. I expect Tiger to start out his 2013 PGA Tour season with a victory over 155 foes at a track that might as well be his second home. It might not be a stretch of a pick, I might not have reached out to find a “sleeper” to prevail but sometimes the obvious choice is the choice. That choice this week is Tiger.
Past results (2013):
Tournament of Champions
Prediction: Dustin Johnson
Winner: Dustin Johnson
The Sony Open
Prediction: Zach Johnson
Winner: Russell Henley
The Humana Challenge
Prediction: Matt Kuchar
Winner: Brian Gay
Who will win the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open?
- Tiger Woods (71%, 5 Votes)
- Other (29%, 2 Votes)
- Phil Mickelson (0%, 0 Votes)
- Nick Watney (0%, 0 Votes)
- Dustin Johnson (0%, 0 Votes)
- Brandt Snedeker (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 7