The Farmers Insurance Open is played in San Diego, California and forms part of the early season West Coast Swing. Since 1968, both the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines have co-hosted the tournament.
Both courses were designed by Billy Bell Jr. and were opened in 1957. The South Course was extensively revamped in 2001 by the ‘Open Doctor’ Rees Jones and hosted the 2008 US Open. The South Course will play host to the US Open again this year in June.
The field will play the North Course in the first or second round before the South Course takes over for the final 36 holes.
The North Course underwent a $12.6 million revamp by Tom Weiskopf in 2016. The project included several infrastructure elements, including new irrigation and pumping systems. All the tee boxes and greens were replaced. The greens were enlarged by 20-30 percent, the number of bunkers reduced with many of them relocated or reconfigured. A new set of tees was added for the Par 72 course which now measures 7,258 yards for the pros.
Prior to last year’s tournament architect Rees Jones returned to tweak the South Course in preparation for this year’s US Open. The renovations included;
- Replacing the course’s irrigation system, changing pipework and installing more than 2,000 computer-operated sprinkler heads
- Fairway bunkers added throughout the course
- Some fairways narrowed to intimidate long hitters
- Some holes were lengthened increasing the overall course length to 7.765 yards
- Tightly mowed collection areas near greens were added or expanded
The lowest scoring averages belong to Torrey North which is over 450 yards shorter than the 7,700 yard South Course. Players must go low on the North Course if they want to contend. The South Course is all about course management and at nearly 7,700 yards, players will need to be dialed in with their long irons.
Torrey Pines is one of three venues, along with Bay Hill and Firestone, on which Tiger Woods has won eight times on Tour. Woods is a seven time winner of the Farmers Insurance Open (formerly known as the Buick Invitational) including four in a row from 2005 to 2008. He also claimed the 2008 US Open at Torrey defeating Rocco Mediate on the first hole of sudden-death, following an 18-hole playoff.
Winners of the Farmers Insurance Open tend to have a touch of class about them and are either multiple Tour winners or Major winners.
Last year, Marc Leishman birdied the final hole for a -7 (65) to win the Farmers Insurance Open. He edged out former champion, Jon Rahm, by one stroke finishing on a score of -15 (273) for the week.
”If I wasn’t to win, I didn’t want it to be because of me, I wanted it to be because someone made a run, which Jon did. I’m just lucky that he didn’t do it a hole earlier”Marc Leishman
The Aussie’s putting was the key to the victory. He topped the pile in the Strokes Gained Putting category which translated to a gain of just over 8 strokes on the field average. His approach play was also dialled in finishing 5th for Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green. Other stats for the week include T58 for Driving Accuracy, 34th for Driving Distance, T14 for GIR and T4 for Putts per GIR.
The 2019 champion, Justin Rose, overcame a shaky start to his final round with three bogeys in five holes to shoot a -3 (69). He held off a charging Adam Scott by two strokes, finishing on a total -21 (267) which is the lowest winning score in 20 years.
“When you’ve beat a class field on a great venue that satisfies you as a player. It’s a win and a half mentally”Justin Rose
It was JR’s 10th PGA Tour victory. From a European perspective on the PGA Tour, it put him on an equal footing in terms of wins with Sergio Garcia and one more than Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. Only Rory McIlroy has more victories (14 wins).
Tee-to-green and in particular on approach is where it all happened for the Englishman. He finished 2nd in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category gaining an impressive 9.342 strokes on the field average for the three rounds played at Torrey South. Other stats for the week include T8 for Driving Accuracy, 11th for Driving Distance, T2 for GIR and 28th in Strokes Gained Putting
In 2018, Jason Day emerged victorious after a tense 6-hole playoff battle with Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer which saw a Monday finish. It was the Australian’s 11th win on Tour and first since the 2016 Players Championship.
“It’s special because I worked very hard in the off-season to get back into this position. I’m very thankful for my whole team.”Jason Day
Over 50% of his strokes gained came from his play off the tee. He ranked 8th in the Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee and surprisingly had a negative gain in the Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green category. Day finished the week T26 for Driving Accuracy, 2nd for Driving Distance, T11 for GIR and 31st in Strokes Gained Putting.
In 2017, Jon Rahm made two eagles over the final six holes on his way to capturing his first PGA Tour victory. Rahm, who turned 22 the November previous, beat Phil Mickelson’s record as the youngest champion at the tournament.
Rahm delivered a ball-striking master-class on his way to victory topping the field for Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. For the three rounds played on the South Course he gained a mouth-watering 9.5 strokes on the field average. He finished the week T19 for Driving Accuracy, 16th for Driving Distance, T12 for GIR and a modest 37th in Strokes Gained Putting.
The 2016 champion, Brandt Snedeker, captured the title on a Monday finish due to horrendous weather conditions. He won with -6(282) which is the highest winning score at Torrey Pines in the recent past. To highlight the impact that the weather had, there were 23 scores in the 80s in the final round. Snedeker ranked 47th in Driving Distance, T57 in Driving Accuracy, T14 for GIR and 4th in Putts per GIR. He also finished the week T9 for Birdies shooting 16 in total.
In 2015 Jason Day prevailed in a playoff with J.B. Holmes, Harris English and Scott Stallings to win his third PGA Tour title. He finished the week 1st for Driving Distance and T8 for both GIR and Scrambling. He finished 34th in Strokes Gained Putting which highlights the fact that you don’t necessarily need a red-hot putter to get the job done around Torrey Pines.
Farmers Insurance Open Betting Tips
Tony Finau 18/1 (E/W) – has excellent form at Torrey Pines with his last five results reading T18-T4-T6-T13-T6. Has five Top 25’s from seven starts this season including a solo 4th in last week’s Desert Classic. A rock solid all-round game puts him comfortably inside the Top 10 in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 13th on Tour for Scoring Average. If he has a weakness it is his putter, but history has shown that you don’t necessarily need a red-hotter putter to get the job done this week. His ability to close-out when in contention still remains the main narrative around his game. The 54-hole joint leader last week was simply out gunned and his final round -4 (68) was nothing to be sniffed at. The 31 year old puts himself into contention on a regular basis and is simply too good a player not to add to his 2016 Peuto Rico Open title. Places in the Top 10 for each of the key performance categories of Event Form, Current Form and Stats Analysis. Hard to ignore
Ryan Palmer 55/1 (E/W) – lost in a playoff to Jason Day in the 2018 edition of the Farmers Insurance Open. Followed up the playoff loss with a T13 in 2019 and a T21 last year. A T41 in the Sony Open was preceded with a solo 4th in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The 44 year old places inside the Top 10 in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 19th on Tour for GIR and 2nd for Birdie Average. Has a good blend of distance off the tee and solid putting making him a great fit this week. This week’s tournament looks to be a very open contest making the Texan an attractive each way option. Ticks a lot of boxes to be in the mix come Sunday.
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