The PGA Tour finds itself in La Jolla California at Torrey Pines for the 2015 edition of the Farmers Insurance Open. The Farmers could arguably be the “real” beginning of the season as many of the world’s best will be debuting this week. 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 purse for this year’s event is set at $6.3M with the winner taking a nice $1.134 million check home to help get the New Year started right. Now who is going to come out on top during the second stop of the West Coast Swing?
Dates: February 5 – 8 2015
Course: Torrey Pines GC (North and South)
South Course – Par72, 7,569 yards
North Course – Par 72, 6,874 yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 3 – 7 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 3 – 7 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 1 – 2:30 PM EST, CBS 3 -6 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 1 – 2:30 PM EST, CBS 3 – 6:30 PM EST
Purse: $6.3 million total purse, $1.134 million winner share
Normally the swing holes section of this piece breaks down three to five holes that will decide a tournament. But the Farmers Insurance Open is a multi-course event. With two venues to look at we will check the finishing hole at both courses and one other hole that can cause dramatic change in the competitive swing.
The seventh hole on the North Course is a little piece of created anxiety. It is a Par-4 that plays 400 yards. Accuracy is the name of the game here with the canyon and pines left and dense trees and bunkers right. The reality here is just play the tee shot true and you should be faced with an uphill approach that demands an extra club. A large green protect by benign bunkers awaits the players. The challenge here is taking enough club to make sure you do not end up in the front bunker. Once safely on the green, players need to remember that this green breaks towards the ocean and unsurprisingly back-to-front. Par here each day is a great score.
The closing hole on the North Course bring almost every imaginable score into play. At 485 yards, this Par-5 affords players the opportunity to do pretty much what they want and can stomach. Left is the name of game here as long as players can keep a hook from double crossing them into the driving range. However, if the ball drifts right the only real penalty is a small bunker and a probable layup. A narrow opening will allow approach shots to run onto the green but if a player misses out-of-bounds, bunkers and other situations will raise their heads. Morale of the story is short and right if you have to miss. Eagles will be made here this week but so will at least one triple.
On the South Course, the 14th hole is a unique little hole. The 14th is s Par-4 measuring 435 yards which is not a yardage that scares any of the current PGA professionals. But, the canyon runs the entirety of the left side here. In fact, many players might choose a hybrid or three woods off this tee. The approach shots here MUST avoid going long. There is all matter of trouble behind this sloping green. If players can put up a four here in each round they will be in good shape.
Torrey Pines has it right. End a round with a Par-5. The 18th is 572 yards and what you see is what you get. A fairly straight hole that just tempts players to fire away. The fairway bunkering is well placed but if avoided and if the tee shot finds level ground, players can attack here and attempt to make three. Approach shots need to avoid the surrounding bunkers and the water shot which can bring triple-bogey into play. The tournament has been won and lost here in the past and will be again.
Farmers Insurance Open Top Picks
The Farmers Insurance Open tends to draw the strongest field of the early portion of the year. There is no change this year and picking or predicting a winner at the Farmers Insurance Open is quite the adventure. Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open. Normally it is suicide to back anyone other than Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines but this year things are a bit different.
|Tiger Woods||I am well aware of the 82 last week but his career has him make the list. Tiger has won this event seven times. He also won the epic 2008 United States Open at this venue. In his career at Torrey Pines, Tiger has 10 bogey free rounds which is good for the most all-time. Tiger has also led the field in total birdies three times and finished in the top-5 six times. . It is a pretty boring and simple equation for any event at Torrey Pines, you back Tiger Woods regardless of form. Will he win? Not probable but there is no way I leave him off the list at Torrey Pines.
|Jason Day||This year Jason Day has played in three official events and finished fifth at the Hero World Challenge, tied for third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Tie for 17th at the Sony. He returns this week and has success here in the past. He finished tied for ninth here in 2013 and tie for second here last. He is on form and playing where he knows how to score. That formula puts Jason on this weeks short list.|
|Jimmy Walker||It is almost hard to remember a tour struggling Jimmy Walker that really had not done much into his 30s but that is long gone. At the Farmers he finished eighth in 2012 and fourth in 2013. Last season he got going in a big way with three victories including the Sony Open and AT&T Pro Am. He picked up where he left off this year with three top-10s in five events including entering this week off a playoff loss at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a win at the Sony Open. Look out.|