Steve Bamford

Steve Bamford's Farmers Insurance Open Tips 2023

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This week is the ‘real’ start of the PGA Tour in many fans’ eyes as we return to La Jolla, just North of San Diego, for the Farmers Insurance Open at the iconic Torrey Pines which starts on WEDNESDAY.

Despite not being an elevated event, a high-class field including Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Tony Finau, Max Homa, Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama and defending champion Luke List have been attracted to the classical Torrey Pines course on the Pacific coastline.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Farmers Insurance Open, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System at the start of each year. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,100 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Guide: The Farmers Insurance Open is played on the South and North courses at Torrey Pines. The freshly lengthened +7,765 yard (at sea-level) South Course, which was renovated in 2019 by Rees Jones prior to the 2021 U.S. Open, hosts 3 rounds in total with each entrant also playing 18 holes on the North Course on either Thursday or Friday.

The world-famous South Course, which runs above the Pacific Ocean, is a classical design that plays as the longest course on the PGA Tour. Penal rough, specialised Kikuyugrass fairways and green complex designs that repel approach shots makes scoring particularly difficult. The North Course, which received a Tom Weiskopf-inspired renovation prior to the 2017 renewal, is a relatively short Par 72 that continues to set up for low scoring and can prove pivotal in tournament play. To add to the complexity, the South Course features Poa Annua greens whereas the North features pure Bentgrass greens.

Torrey Pines South Course, San Diego, South California: Designer: Bell 1957, Rees Jones re-design 2001 and 2019; Course Type: Coastal, Classical, Long; Par: 72; Length: 7,765 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 1; Fairways: Bermudagrass overseeded with Ryegrass; Rough: Kikuyugrass with Ryegrass 3.5″; Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring Poa Annua; Tournament Stimp: 11.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 72.36 (+0.36), Difficulty Rank 21 of 49 courses. 2013: 72.66 (+0.66), Difficulty Rank 16 of 43 courses. 2014: 73.80 (+1.80), Rank 6 of 52 courses. 2015: 73.52 (+1.52), Rank 6 of 52 courses, 2016: 74.50 (+2.50), Rank 2 of 50 courses. 2017: 72.77 (+0.77), Rank 14 of 50 courses. 2018: 72.81 (+0.81), Rank 8 of 51 courses. 2019: 71.73 (-0.27), Rank 18 of 49 courses. 2020: 72.53 (+0.53), Rank 7 of 41 courses. 2021: 73.34 (+1.34), Rank 4 of 51 courses. 2022: 72.35 (+0.35), Rank 15 of 50 courses.

Torrey Pines North Course: Designer: 1957, Tom Weiskopf re-design 2016; Course Type: Coastal, Resort; Par: 72; Length: 7,258 yards; Holes with Water Hazards: 1; Fairways Bermudagrass overseeded with Ryegrass; Rough: Kikuyugrass with Ryegrass 3.5″; Greens:6,000 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass; Tournament Stimp: 10.5ft; Course Scoring Average 2012: 69.55 (-2.45), Difficulty Rank 47 of 49 courses. 2013: 70.67 (-1.33), Difficulty Rank 35 of 43 courses. 2014: 70.24 (-1.76), Rank 44 of 48 courses. 2015: 70.23 (-1.77), Rank 46 of 52 courses. 2016: 70.93 (-1.07), Rank 38 of 50 courses. Re-Design 2017: 71.28 (-0.72), Rank 32 of 50 courses. 2018: 71.41 (-0.59), Rank 28 of 51 courses. 2019: 69.84 (-2.16), Rank 45 of 49 courses. 2020: 70.58 (-1.42), Rank 33 of 41 courses. 2021: 70.13 (-1.87), Rank 44 of 51 courses. 2022: 68.77 (-3.23), Rank 48 of 50 courses.

Course Designer Links: For research purposes, other Rees Jones and Tom Weiskopf designs include:

Rees Jones

  • Aronimink GC – 2010,2011 A&T National + 2018 BMW Championship
  • Baltusrol – 2016 PGA Championship
  • Bellerive CC – 2018 PGA Championship
  • Bethpage Black – 2009 U.S Open, 2019 PGA Championship + 2012/2016 The Barclays
  • Blue Course, Congressional CC – 2011 U.S. Open + 2012-2014 & 2016 National
  • Blue Course, Royal Montreal GC – 2014 RBC Canadian Open
  • Dubsdread, Cog Hill GCC – 2009,2010,2011 BMW Championship
  • East Lake GC – Tour Championship
  • GC of Houston – Houston Open
  • Hazeltine – 2009 PGA Championship
  • Highlands Course, Atlanta Athletic Club – 2011 PGA Championship
  • Medinah Number 3 – 2019 BMW Championship

Tom Weiskopf

  • Stadium Course, TPC Scottsdale – Waste Management Phoenix Open

Torrey Pines South Fairway Widths (yards): Below are the fairway widths for  Torrey Pines South (Host Course) and how they compare to recent courses that we’ve seen on Tour:

  • Torrey Pines South: 250 yards from the tee: 26 yards wide; 275:27; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.
  • Pete Dye Stadium: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:27; 300:26; 325:26; 350:24.
  • Waialae: 250 yards from the tee: 34 yards wide; 275:32; 300:34; 325:37; 350:34.
  • Plantation Course: 250 yards from the tee: 59 yards wide; 275:61; 300:65; 325:60; 350:62.
  • Seaside Course: 250 yards from the tee: 42 yards wide; 275:40; 300:34; 325:31; 350:23.
  • TPC Summerlin: 250 yards from the tee: 35 yards wide; 275:37; 300:33; 325:30; 350:31.
  • CC of Jackson: 250 yards from the tee: 29 yards wide; 275:28; 300:29; 325:28; 350:25.
  • Silverado: 250 yards from the tee: 27 yards wide; 275:26; 300:24; 325:25; 350:24.
  • East Lake: 250 yards from the tee: 28 yards wide; 275:26; 300:25; 325:24; 350:23.

Course Overview: I’ll talk about the classical and sometimes brutal Torrey Pines South Course which hosts 54 holes of action this weekend in a short while, but it’s worth recognising that the North Course received a Tom Weiskopf re-design which was played for the first time in 2017. The course was effectively lengthened, re-routed and now features pure Bentgrass green complexes. Those putting surfaces have undoubtedly settled down and rounds of -10/62 (Rahm/Palmer/Schenk/Smalley) and -9/63 (Ghim/Horschel/Redman/Rose/Thomas) have been seen over the past 4 renewals, 2022 included. If you want to win, you need to make a score on the North Course. Rose, Leishman and Reed shot 63, 68 and 64 respectively.

Rees Jones’ South Course is naturally the star of this tournament and in 2020 we saw a changed course as ‘Open Doctor’ Rees Jones oversaw a $14 million 2019 renovation with the 2021 U.S. Open in mind. Jones and assistant Greg Muirhead added some tees and shifted around bunkers to help the course defend itself even more. The most noticeable changes are at the par-5 9th, and the par-4 10th, 15th and 17th holes. A new cross-hole bunker 50 yards short of the 9th green will make players have to think more when going for the green in 2 shots.

The 10th was always a relatively easy drive and wedge start to the back-9, but with a new back tee box the visual of the hole has changed dramatically, with the left side of the fairway split with a bunker, while a right fairway bunker pinches the landing zone. The 15th has again been lengthened to now play at 480 yards. The 17th also features a new back tee box and a pinched fairway landing area. So the longest course on the PGA Tour schedule now plays even longer.

Torrey Pines South features seven 450+ yard par-4s, whilst all 4 of the par-5s are over 560 yards. The course features Poa Annua greens, the likes of which are only found on the west coast and north east of the United States plus Canada. Both courses also feature Kikuyugrass rough, the likes of which are only seen here, at Riviera, plus previously at the WGC held at Chapultepec in Mexico on the PGA Tour. Long and thick Kikuyugrass rough means that the South Course is now extremely difficult in terms of proximity to the hole from the rough.

It’s also imperative to note that the South Course’s Poa Annua greens are notoriously difficult to putt on, so look for those who have done well here previously, or at Pebble, Riviera, Bethpage Black, plus the recent U.S. Opens hosted at Oakmont (2016), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Winged Foot (2020) and of course here (2021).

farmers insurance open tips

Farmers Insurance Open Winners: 2022: Luke List (-15); 2021: Patrick Reed (-14); 2020: Marc Leishman (-15); 2019: Justin Rose (-21); 2018: Jason Day (-9); 2017: Jon Rahm (-13); 2016: Brandt Snedeker (-6); 2015: Jason Day (-9); 2014: Scott Stallings (-9); 2013: Tiger Woods (-15); 2012: Brandt Snedeker (-16); 2011: Bubba Watson (-16); 2010: Ben Crane (-13).

OWGR of Farmers Insurance Open Winners: 2022: List 151: 2021: Reed 11; 2020: Leishman 28; 2019: Rose 2; 2018: Day 13; 2017: Rahm 135.

Cut Line: 2022: -3; 2021: -1; 2020: -1; 2019: -3; 2018: -1; 2017: E.

Lead Score Progression:

  • 2022: Round 1 -9; Round 2 -13; Round 3 -14; Round -15.
  • 2021: Round 1 -8; Round 2 -9; Round 3 -10; Round 4 -14.
  • 2020: Round 1 -6; Round 2 -10; Round 3 -12; Round 4 -15.
  • 2019: Round 1 -10; Round 2 -15; Round 3 -18; Round 4 -21.
  • 2018: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -11; Round 3 -11; Round 4 -10.
  • 2017: Round 1 -7; Round 2 -8; Round 3 -9; Round 4 -13.

Tournament Stats: We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s event that are well worth a look. Naturally they’ll help to shape a view on players who could go well this week: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader | Combi Stats | SG Stats.

Published Predictor Model: Our published predictor is available here. You can build your own model using the variables listed on the left hand side. Top 10 of my published predictor are: Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, Collin Morikawa, Justin Rose, Max Homa and Sungjae Im.

Farmers Winners & Prices: 2022: List 90/1; 2021: Reed 25/1; 2020: Leishman 55/1; 2019: Rose 14/1; 2018: Day 22/1; 2017: Rahm 55/1; 2016: Snedeker 18/1; 2015: Day 14/1; 2014: Stallings 250/1; 2013: Woods 15/2; 2012: Snedeker 22/1; 2011: Watson 66/1; 2010: Crane 80/1. Past 9 Renewals Average: 60/1; Overall Average: 55/1.

For a full summary of winner’s odds on the PGA Tour since 2010 click here.

Historical Weather:

  • 2022: Wednesday: Sunny. High of 65. Wind W 6-12 mph. Thursday: Sunny. High of 66. Wind WNW 8-16 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 70. Wind NW 6-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. High of 67. Wind WNW 6-12 mph.
  • 2021: Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 59. Wind SSW 6-12 mph. Due to anticipated rain on Friday and the tournament using a two course format in the first two rounds, preferred lies were in use during the first round. Friday: After an estimated 0.90 inches of rain fell Thursday night, it was sunny early with rain and hail later in the day. High of 59. Wind WSW 12-18 mph, gusting to 25 mph. Preferred lies were in use during the second round. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 59. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Sunday: Partly cloudy. High of 62. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
  • 2020: Thursday: Sunny. High of 64. Wind NW 5-10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 63. Wind W 5-10 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High of 65. Wind W 5-10 mph. Due to fog, play was delayed two hours Sunday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 60. Wind WSW 6-12 mph.
  • 2019: Thursday: Sunny. High of 70. Wind NW 7-14 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 71. Wind NW 6-12 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 75. Wind NW 7-14 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 71. Wind WNW 6-12 mph.
  • 2018: Thursday: Mostly cloudy. High of 60. Wind W 10-15 mph. Friday: Sunny. High of 62. Wind NW 10 mph. Saturday: Sunny. High of 68. Wind NW 10 mph. Sunday: Sunny. High of 80. Wind NNE 12-18 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph. Monday: Sunny and 70. Wind light and variable.
  • 2017: Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high of 58. Wind NW 8-15 mph. Friday: Sunny, with a high of 61. Wind NW 8-15 mph, with gusts of 20 mph. Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 64. Wind NW 8-14 mph. Sunday: Sunny, with a high of 67. Wind NW 8-15 mph.
  • 2016: Thursday: Mostly sunny. High of 67. Wind WNW 7-12 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High of 66. Wind WNW 8-12 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 61 degrees. Wind WSW 12-15 mph. Sunday: Overcast, with heavy rains off and on throughout the day. Strong SW winds were sustained at 15-25 mph, with gusts to 45 mph. Play was again suspended at 1:57 p.m. A total of 49 players were left on the course. Monday: Partly cloudy, with a high of 60 degrees. NW wind sustained at 15-30 mph, with gusts to 35 mph.

Weather Forecast: The latest weather forecast for La Jolla, California is here.

Weather in the main looks fine for the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Temperatures will be 16-19 degrees Celsius which is pretty standard. Wind for 3 of the 4 days look light with nothing higher than 10 mph forecast. Thursday looks peaky though with gusting 30mph north-easterly winds making the South Course a strict test for those on it. 51mm of rain last week should make the course lush enough, but there is no further precipitation forecast. I’d expect lush rough and ideal course conditions.

Player Strokes Gained Rankings: These top 25 in the field rankings are based on an 8-tournament window that stretches back to the Bermuda Championship / Portugal Masters, which includes both PGA Tour and DP World Tour events, where recorded. Player rankings are based on performance relative to the rest of the field:

  • Top 25 SG Off The Tee: 1) Max Homa; 2) Kevin Yu; 3) Hayden Buckley; 4) Collin Morikawa; 5) Jon Rahm / Will Zalatoris; 7) Cameron Champ; 8) Dean Burmester; 9) Will Gordon; 10) Ben Griffin / Gary Woodland; 12) Trevor Cone; 13) J.J. Spaun; 14) Henrik Norlander / Adam Svensson; 16) Aaron Rai; 17) Kevin Tway; 18) Wyndham Clark; 19) Brendan Steele; 20) Sam Stevens; 21) Luke List; 22) Justin Thomas / Jhonattan Vegas; 24) Brent Grant / Sebastian Munoz.
  • Top 25 SG Approach: 1) Max Homa; 2) Collin Morikawa; 3) Tony Finau; 4) Jon Rahm; 5) Doug Ghim; 6) Justin Thomas; 7) Nick Hardy / Alex Smalley; 9) J.J. Spaun; 10) Ben Taylor; 11) Jhonattan Vegas; 12) Adam Svensson; 13) Adam Hadwin; 14) Xander Schauffele; 15) Matthew NeSmith / Robby Shelton; 17) Eric Cole / Brendan Steele / Will Zalatoris; 20) Danny Lee / Hideki Matsuyama; 22) Ben Griffin; 23) Kurt Kitayama / Sean O’Hair; 25) Ben Martin.
  • Top 25 SG Around The Green: 1) Justin Thomas; 2) Xander Schauffele; 3) Michael Block; 4) Hideki Matsuyama; 5) Jon Rahm; 6) Tano Goya; 7) Martin Laird; 8) Eric Cole; 9) Collin Morikawa; 10) Adam Hadwin / Satoshi Kodaira; 12) J.J. Spaun; 13) 13) Henrik Norlander; 14) Brendan Steele / Adam Svensson; 16) Will Gordon / James Hahn; 18) Nick Hardy; 19) Hayden Buckley / Callum Tarren; 21) Ben Griffin; 22) Brice Garnett / Kevin Yu; 24) Si Woo Kim; 25) Sean O’Hair.
  • Top 25 SG Tee to Green: 1) Jon Rahm; 2) Collin Morikawa / J.J. Spaun; 4) Tony Finau / Max Homa; 6) Adam Hadwin; 7) Jhonattan Vegas; 8) Alex Smalley / Ben Taylor; 10) Justin Thomas; 11) Xander Schauffele; 12) Hideki Matsuyama / Will Zalatoris; 14) Brendan Steele / Adam Svensson; 16) Will Gordon / James Hahn; 18) Nick Hardy; 19) Hayden Buckley / Callum Tarren; 21) Ben Griffin/ 22) Brice Garnett / Kevin Yu; 24) Si Woo Kim; 25) Sean O’Hair.
  • Top 25 SG Putting: 1) Collin Morikawa; 2) Max Homa; 3) Tony Finau; 4) Thomas Detry; 5) Maverick McNealy; 6) Doug Ghim; 7) Cole Hammer / Justin Thomas; 9) Martin Laird / Taylor Montgomery / Will Zalatoris; 12) Hayden Buckley; 13) Patrick Rodgers / Xander Schauffele; 15) Harry Hall / Trey Mullinax / Matti Schmid; 18) Aaron Baddeley / S.H. Kim; 20) Anders Albertson; 21) Harry Higgs; 22) Kelly Kraft / J.J. Spaun; 24) Sungjae Im / Sahith Theegala.
  • Top 25 SG Total: 1) Collin Morikawa / Jon Rahm; 3) Max Homa; 4) J.J. Spaun; 5) Maverick McNealy / Justin Thomas; 7) Xander Schauffele; 8) Tony Finau / Adam Hadwin; 10) Thomas Detry; 11) Jhonattan Vegas; 12) Alex Smalley / Will Zalatoris; 14) Si Woo Kim; 15) Taylor Montgomery; 16) Martin Laird; 17) Sean O’Hair; 18) Nick Hardy / Brendan Steele; 20) Ben Taylor; 21) Ben Griffin / Adam Svensson; 23) Satoshi Kodaira; 24) Patrick Rodgers; 25) Sungjae Im / Hideki Matsuyama.

For a summary of the Strokes Gained Performances from this week’s field here at the host Torrey Pines South Course since 2016 click here.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the Strokes Gained Stats of Farmers winners on the South Course since 2016 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:

  • 2022, Luke List (-15). SG Off the Tee: 21st, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 32nd, SG Tee to Green: 5th, SG Putting: 8th.
  • 2021, Patrick Reed (-14). SG Off the Tee: 31st, SG Approach: 39th, SG Around the Green: 1st, SG Tee to Green: 12th, SG Putting: 10th.
  • 2020, Marc Leishman (-15). SG Off the Tee: 48th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 56th, SG Tee to Green: 16th, SG Putting: 1st.
  • 2019, Justin Rose (-21). SG Off the Tee: 13th, SG Approach: 5th, SG Around the Green: 16th, SG Tee to Green: 2nd, SG Putting: 28th.
  • 2018, Jason Day (-9). SG Off the Tee: 8th, SG Approach: 50th, SG Around the Green: 23rd, SG Tee to Green: 24th, SG Putting: 31st.
  • 2017, Jon Rahm (-13). SG Off the Tee: 1st, SG Approach: 4th, SG Around the Green: 38th, SG Tee to Green: 1st, SG Putting: 37th.
  • 2016, Brandt Snedeker (-6). SG Off the Tee: 55th, SG Approach: 17th, SG Around the Green: 19th, SG Tee to Green: 26th, SG Putting: 30th.

Strokes Gained Tournament Skill Averages:

  • SG Off the Tee: 25th, SG Approach: 18th, SG Around the Green: 26th, SG Tee to Green: 12th, SG Putting: 21st.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors: Analysing the final stats of the Farmers since 2010 gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this classical test:

  • 2022, Luke List (-15). 314 yards (12th), 51.8% fairways (44th), 73.6% greens in regulation (11th), 30’0″ proximity to hole (4th), 79.0 % scrambling (6th), 1.72 putts per GIR (28th).
  • 2021, Patrick Reed (-14). 288 yards (52nd), 64.3% fairways (9th), 61.1% greens in regulation (63rd), 37’9″ proximity to hole (46th), 71.4 % scrambling (6th), 1.59 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2020, Marc Leishman (-15). 296 yards (34th), 48.2% fairways (58th), 72.2% greens in regulation (14th), 33’10” proximity to hole (17th), 75.0 % scrambling (4th), 1.67 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2019, Justin Rose (-21). 310 yards (11th), 62.5% fairways (8th), 77.8% greens in regulation (2nd), 32’11” proximity to hole (17th), 56.3 % scrambling (58th), 1.59 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 2018, Jason Day (-9). 319 yards (2nd), 53.6% fairways (26th), 68.1% greens in regulation (11th), 36’6″ proximity to hole (22nd), 65.2 % scrambling (17th), 1.63 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2017, Jon Rahm (-13). 297 yards (16th), 60.7% fairways (19th), 73.6% greens in regulation (12th), 28’11” proximity to hole (3rd), 68.4 % scrambling (10th), 1.72 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2016, Brandt Snedeker (-6). 289 yards (45th), 41.1% fairways (57th), 66.7% greens in regulation (14th), 32’9″ proximity to hole (4th), 62.5 % scrambling (5th), 1.70 putts per GIR (16th).
  • 2015, Jason Day (-9). 309 yards (1st), 46.4% fairways (49th), 70.8% greens in regulation (10th), 42’5″ proximity to hole (61st), 71.4 % scrambling (8th), 1.76 putts per GIR (33rd).
  • 2014, Scott Stallings (-9). 292 yards (24th), 50.0% fairways (45th), 66.7% greens in regulation (23rd), 42’0″ proximity to hole (64th), 62.5 % scrambling (24th), 1.69 putts per GIR (10th).
  • 2013, Tiger Woods (-15). 307 yards (2nd), 57.1% fairways (17th), 69.4% greens in regulation (34th), 38’0″ proximity to hole (45th), 59.1% scrambling (42nd), 1.66 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2012, Brandt Snedeker (-16). 285 yards (47th), 58.9% fairways (13th), 70.8% greens in regulation (33rd), 34’10” proximity to hole (27th), 71.4% scrambling (6th), 1.69 putts per GIR (8th).
  • 2011, Bubba Watson (-16). 317 yards (1st), 50.0% fairways (29th), 81.9% greens in regulation (1st), 25’10” proximity to hole (1st), 46.2% scrambling (54th), 1.73 putts per GIR (26th).
  • 2010, Ben Crane (-13). 273 yards (51st), 67.9% fairways (10th), 87.5% greens in regulation (1st), 30’8″ proximity to hole (6th), 44.4% scrambling (46th), 1.79 putts per GIR (42nd).

Tournament Skill Averages:

  • Driving Distance: 19th, Driving Accuracy: 30th, Greens in Regulation: 18th, Proximity to Hole: 24th, Scrambling: 22nd, Putting Average 14th.

Let’s take a view from players as to how the Farmers Insurance tournament sets up and what skill sets the course favours:

Luke List (2022): South Course: “Yeah, I got off to a good start on the front nine with those four birdies. I was kind of talking to my coach before the round about how the dynamic of this tour and the game has changed with people being so aggressive and making a ton of birdies each week now. so I kind of knew to have any sort of chance I needed a good round and to go out and get off to a good start really helped, and to kind of keep plugging, I made that one bogey on 17, but other than that I played really solid all day, so I was happy with that finish on 18.

What was your club in on the playoff hole? “It was a wedge. He pulled a great number there, too. We were talking about it, I was 135 but it cooled off. Obviously out there when the sun goes down and living out in California I know that very well, so I drew back on some experience there. It was a good 12 yards of cool air and hurt off the left. We even played a 150-shot from 135 and it turned out perfectly.”

Patrick Reed (2021): North Course: “You know, kind of put myself in position today where I had to go out knowing that we’re going to get pretty good conditions, go out and try to make as many birdies as possible to be able to kind of weather the storm tomorrow. I was able to kind of get off to a hot start and just kind of ride momentum going on through the rest of the round and continue attacking that golf course since that’s the one you’re able to attack.

South Course: “You know, the back, the back was tough I mean, just in general. I step up, I made that long putt on 10 for par and really get to 11, it’s a hybrid on a par-3, plug it, plug it in the bunker. And then on 12 I hit a soft 3-wood into 12 today from the fairway. So the golf course is playing tough.

“Seemed like on the front nine the balls were hanging in on the edges of fairways or turning into the fairway and on the back nine it seemed like the balls were starting where they wanted to, it just seemed to keep on falling in the wrong direction and end up just in the rough. When you’re playing out of the rough, especially on this back nine, it’s a grind. I got on the wrong side of that where I was in the rough seemed like the whole time, putting it in the wrong spots. And the greens got a little bumpy there towards the end, missed a shorty on the par 5, which was a bad putt, a three-putt and a short one on 17.”

“And then really it was the decision on 15. I’m setting up there and had an okay lie in the left rough where Kessler and I were actually considering hitting hybrid and try to squeeze it near the tree and try to get it up there. To sit there and go, you know what, no, I’m just going to hit 7-iron out there to about 50, 55 yards and allow my wedges to do the work. To be able to not only make a quality golf swing with the 7-iron and then to hit the wedge shot in there to basically a foot and a half, two feet was I felt like a big turning point that allowed me to feel comfortable with how the game is and really my thought process around this golf course.”

Marc Leishman (2020): “So it was funny because I drove it really well early in the week and then clearly I didn’t drive it well today. But my iron game was really good and then the putter. I holed some really good par saves there on the whole back nine really. Yeah, a bit of extra practice early in the week on the putting green get used to the Poa Annua. Kind of had a good feeling, but you never know what your week’s going to be like. So found something on the putting green early in the week and run with that. I said to Matty, when I had the putter in my hand, feels like it did in Malaysia a couple years ago when I won there, which it’s nice when it happens like that occasionally. I wish it could be like that every week.

I grew up on this grass, I grew up on kikuyu fairways, poa greens. It’s very, I mean, it’s hit and miss, you either putt great on it or you putt terribly, so I’m just glad it was a great. You saw some of the places I hit it, it wasn’t the most impressive stuff off the tee today, but if you miss it in the right spots and your putter’s hot, you can shoot anything. I proved that today. It’s nice to be able to do that and this feels pretty sweet.”

Justin Rose (2019): North Course: “I put the driver in as well, drove it unbelievably well today, drove it long. I was able to take advantage of the par 5s out there and putted it good enough today to obviously shoot 9 under. The North greens are still so good. Obviously they’re a couple years old, but they’re still rolling pure. It’s the kind of golf course that you want to make the most of on a day like today. Obviously the greens are so good that if you’re in trouble, you can save pars, and obviously if you’re hitting a lot of greens like I did today, you feel like you should be making putts on those surfaces. Took advantage of the par 5s for the most part, probably played them in 4 under, I think. Eagled my first hole of the day, which got things up and running.”

South Course: “Yeah, I think it’s one of my favorite places, one of my favorite stops on Tour obviously. The South course is – I’m looking forward to getting some momentum on that one. We get to play it three days in a row, so it’s nice to get the North out of the way, shoot a good score, just what you have to do. Now I can focus on the South course. Obviously a different type of green, you go from the bent to the poa annua, but just the views out there, I think the design of the South course is one of my favorites. So yeah, anytime you enjoy playing a course, it tends to suit your eye. The South Course, I think second shot-wise this is a really key golf course. It’s well bunkered, you’ve got those little sort of tongues where they can stick the pins. You have to be smart with your iron play. The greens (inaudible) strategizing the second shot, trying to leave the ball – there are certain times you can use the slope and other times you want to be putting up the hill.”

Jason Day (2018): “I don’t know, it’s really bunched up there. It’s weird. Yeah, I remember looking up and I was tied for the lead at 10-under I think, and like you said, there were six guys. It’s one of those courses where it’s really hard to extend the lead. You can’t really run away with a lead here because it is so tough. I mean, driving, it’s so demanding on the driver, you have to get yourself in position. If you’re not and with how the greens are starting to bounce, it’s very difficult to get yourself back into position leaving yourself in the right spot to get up and down. Adds a little bit with how the greens – obviously with poa annua, it adds a little bit more, I guess, a nervous feeling when you hit certain putts. I think with a course like this it’s always tough. We’ve had a lot of history here with leads being really bunched up like we have had, and I think if you can get anywhere between 10 and 13 tomorrow, you’ve got a good chance at winning the tournament.

Brandt Snedeker: “I love, what I love most about poa annua is you have to be aggressive and you have got to hit a putt almost perfect. You got to give it a chance to go in, you got to get it rolling hard on the green. And I think that’s what my stroke does best, because I hit them aggressive, get the ball rolling really fast. When you do that, the ball holds its line. If you miss a putt a little bit, or hit a weak putt, it’s going to bump off. And I love it because it eliminates half the guys, like Kevin Kisner. Because they don’t like it and they don’t want to be on it. So, it makes my putting even better. Because they don’t want to be a part of it and if they get a bad bounce they think the greens are awful, I’m never coming back here, whatever, which helps me.

Dustin Johnson: “The golf course I think sets up well. It sets up good to my eye. Just got to go out and execute. But around here, too, it’s all about where you leave your ball, controlling your ball, leaving yourself uphill putts so you can be aggressive with it. If you’re putting downhill all day, it’s hard to make putts, it just is. I don’t care how good a putter you are, it’s just tough. So controlling the golf ball, controlling your distance, and leaving yourself in the right spot is a big key.

Phil Mickelson: “I think the length is a challenge and the firmness of the greens is a challenge. I think that patience is going to be a big challenge, because when you tuck the pins here, every green repels from the outside to the centre. So, every ball’s working to the centre of the green and it’s very difficult to get it close to a lot of the tough pins. So, you have to be patient. You have to accept 30, 40 footers, that you just can’t knock it too close, and you have to make some putts. I think that patience will be the key.

Jimmy Walker: “Yeah, you said it, it’s tough. So any time you shoot under par out here is pretty good on the South Course. Even with light winds, it’s still really tough. They tuck the pins, greens have got a little firmness to them, so it’s tough to get it close. You want to throw the ball behind the hole and spin it, but it just won’t do it.

J.B. Holmes: “The rough probably plays worse than it did at the U.S. Open when they had it here in 2008. The Kikuyu rough was nasty, but you could also get it where it would set up on a tee. It would either drop down to the bottom and you couldn’t hit anything or it was up on the tee. So it was kind of 50/50. Where, this week, if you hit it in there, you just have a bad lie. So you’re not going to be able to hit it very far. Most of the ones I hit in the rough have been bad lies. I’ll get a decent one every now and then, but I wouldn’t say I really got a good lie in the rough this week yet.

Path to Victory: Below are the end of round positions for the last 13 Farmers Insurance Open winners:

  • 2022 – Luke List: Round 1: 9th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 19th.
  • 2021 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: 1st, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2020 – Marc Leishman: Round 1: 11th, Round 2: 17th, Round 3: 7th.
  • 2019 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2018 – Jason Day: Round 1: 113th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 5th.
  • 2017 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 77th, Round 2: 21st, Round 3: 13th.
  • 2016 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 90th, Round 2: 57th, Round 3: 27th.
  • 2015 – Jason Day: Round 1: 95th, Round 2: 6th, Round 3: 8th.
  • 2014 – Scott Stallings: Round 1: 63rd, Round 2: 11th, Round 3: 6th.
  • 2013 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 20th, Round 2: 1st, Round 3: 1st.
  • 2012 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 17th, Round 2: 2nd, Round 3: 6th.
  • 2011 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 54th, Round 2: 3rd, Round 3: 3rd
  • 2010 – Ben Crane: Round 1: 2nd, Round 2 5th, Round 3: 2nd.

Shots From the Lead: Below are the last 13 Farmers Insurance Open winners and where they were positioned in terms of shots from the lead during the tournament:

  • 2022 – Luke List: Round 1: 4 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 5 back.
  • 2021 – Patrick Reed: Round 1: level, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: level.
  • 2020 – Marc Leishman: Round 1: 2 back, Round 2: 6 back, Round 3: 4 back.
  • 2019 – Justin Rose: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 ahead, Round 3: 3 ahead.
  • 2018 – Jason Day: Round 1: 8 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2017 – Jon Rahm: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2016 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 8 back, Round 3: 6 back.
  • 2015 – Jason Day: Round 1: 9 back, Round 2: 4 back, Round 3: 2 back.
  • 2014 – Scott Stallings: Round 1: 8 back, Round 2: 5 back, Round 3: 3 back.
  • 2013 – Tiger Woods: Round 1: 3 back, Round 2: 2 ahead, Round 3: 4 ahead.
  • 2012 – Brandt Snedeker: Round 1: 5 back, Round 2: 1 back, Round 3: 7 back.
  • 2011 – Bubba Watson: Round 1: 7 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 1 back.
  • 2010 – Ben Crane: Round 1: 1 back, Round 2: 3 back, Round 3: 2 back.

Incoming Form of Farmers winners since 2010:

  • Luke List: 22nd Amex/10th RSM/11th Houston/MC WWTC Maya.
  • Patrick Reed: MC Amex/21st ToC/3rd DPWTC/10th Masters.
  • Marc Leishman: 28th Sony/10th Aus Open/69th ZOZO/43rd CJ Cup.
  • Justin Rose: 34th Amex/17th Indonesia/3rd World Challenge/1st Turkey.
  • Jason Day: 5th Aus Open/11th HSBC/11th CJ Cup/17th Tour.
  • Jon Rahm: 34th Amex/50th OHL Classic/15th Shriners/15th Fortinet.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 2nd Sony/3rd ToC/1st Shark Shoot/MC Aus PGA.
  • Jason Day: 17th Sony/3rd ToC/1st Shark Shoot/5th World Challenge.
  • Scott Stallings: 58th Amex/MC OHL Classic/MC McGladrey/47th CIMB.
  • Tiger Woods: MC Abu/4th World Challenge/4th CIMB/8th Tour.
  • Brandt Snedeker: 8th Amex/13th CIMB/32nd McGladrey/16th Tour.
  • Bubba Watson: MC Amex/25th ToC/10th Shark Shoot/14th World Challenge.
  • Ben Crane: 52nd Amex/24th Disney/13th Fry’s.com Open/19th Shriners.

For the record, here’s the breakdown of pure Poa Annua and Bentgrass/Poa Annua mix PGA Tour victors in the field since 2008:

  • 4 – Jason Day, Jon Rahm.
  • 3 – Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Jimmy Walker.
  • 2 – Scott Piercy, Brendan Steele, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland.
  • 1 – Aaron Baddeley, Keegan Bradley, Cameron Champ, Cam Davis, Jason Dufner, Harris English, Tony Finau, Emiliano Grillo, Bill Haas, James Hahn, J.B. Holmes, Luke List, Hideki Matsuyama, William McGirt, Sean O’Hair, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Scott Stallings, Justin Thomas, Kevin Tway, Richy Werenski.

We used to have a South Course / North Course draw bias of winners. Indeed from 2011 through 2018, all winners had played the South/North Course draw across the opening 36 holes. That trend then flipped over the next 3 years where Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed all started on the North Course on Thursday and never looked back (opening -9/63 from Rose; -4/68 from Leishman; -8/64 from Reed).  2022 saw Luke List shoot -5/67 then -4/68 across the South/North split. So effectively there is no real draw bias!

Torrey Pines is one of the most iconic and classical golf courses in the world and naturally its association with Tiger Woods across both this tournament and the U.S. Open adds kudos. The winners’ list since 2000 was exclusively made up of Major winners and previous PGA Tour winners until Jon Rahm’s dramatic victory here in 2017. Rahm of course went on to win his first Major here in 2021, capturing the U.S. Open in dramatic scenes as the 10/1 Favourite. Another non-winner broke his Tour maiden here last year in the form of Luke List, triumphing at a rather juicy 90/1, so selecting experienced PGA Tour winners is no longer the be-all and end-all.

American players dominate the Farmers champions list, but of late Jason Day (x2), Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Marc Leishman have added their names to an exclusive list of international winners which also includes Gary Player (1963) and Jose Maria Olazabal (2002). So if an international player is going to triumph again this week, they will likely be top-notch.

So what’s the right recipe for success this week? Well both the long bomber and shorter types with a great short game can contend around Torrey. 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2021 saw Ben Crane, Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Reed triumph, But Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods, Scott Stallings, Jason Day (twice), Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Luke List are all longer hitters. Marc Leishman fits in-between somewhere, but can get the ball out there when required. I have classified Patrick Reed as a short hitter, as over his recent years on the PGA Tour he became a sub-290 yard average driver. Indeed he won this 2 years ago with the shortest Average Driving Distance number – 288 yards – going back to Brandt Snedeker in 2012. And you have to say that Snedeker and Reed match-up nicely in terms of their short game magic and positive Poa Annua putting game shape. So it’s not all about bombers.

I’m thinking that ideally we need players this week with course experience (Rahm became the first player since 1957 to win on course debut here 6 years ago). I’m working on targeting players who played well on testing, old-style courses in 2022. As you can see, previous winners here have all recorded strong results on classical or technical tracks in the season prior to winning here:

  • Watson – 3rd Copperhead – 2nd Whistling Straits (PGA Championship).
  • Snedeker – 4th TPC San Antonio – 1st Harbour Town – 11th Congressional (US Open).
  • Woods – 2nd PGA National – 1st Muirfield Village – 1st Congressional.
  • Stallings – 4th Colonial – 4th Muirfield Village – 2nd TPC Southwind.
  • Day – 2nd Torrey Pines -4th Pinehurst -(U.S. Open) 2nd Ridgewood – 4th East Lake.
  • Snedeker – 1st Pebble Beach – 8th Chambers Bay (U.S. Open) – 2nd Colonial.
  • Rahm – 3rd Congressional – 2nd Glen Abbey.
  • Day – 5th Pebble Beach – 9th Quail Hollow (PGA Championship) – 6th Glen Oaks.
  • Rose – 8th Torrey Pines, 5th Copperhead, 3rd Bay Hill, 1st Colonial, 6th Muirfield Village, 2nd Carnoustie (Open Championship), 4th East Lake.
  • Leishman – 4th Riviera, 5th Muirfield Village, 3rd TPC Southwind.
  • Reed – 6th Torrey Pines, 7th Colonial, 10th Muirfield Village, 8th East Lake, 10th Augusta National.
  • List – 10th Torrey Pines, 6th Quail Hollow, 7th Narashino CC.

My Farmers Insurance Open tips are as follows:

Will Zalatoris 2.5pts EW 16/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Will Zalatoris must be looking for redemption at the Farmers Insurance Open. The 54-hole leader here 12 months ago, Zalatoris had an 8 foot putt on 18 to clinch the title, but couldn’t make it. We were on-board at 28/1 as “Willy Z” got beaten in a play-off by 90/1 chance Luke List (of all people) who shot a Sunday 66 to come from 5 shots back to take the title. The majesty of the South Course at Torrey Pines can produce these amazing finishes.

Zalatoris has always been the sort to thrill and ultimately disappoint in pretty equal measure and his 2022 was the perfect example, although you have to say it was mission accomplished as he won his first PGA Tour event – with us on-board at 28/1 – at the FedEx St Jude Championship played at TPC Southwind. He of course qualified for the President’s Cup and then disappointingly had to miss both that and the Tour Championship because of two herniated discs in his back, leading to 4 months off.

On his return to action in 2023 he’s played sweetly enough. 11th at Kapalua and 36th at PGA West are ok results, but as I’ve always stated birdie-fests aren’t Will’s thing, which can be a problem on the PGA Tour. Instead he comes to the fore on the best classical or technical golf courses in the United States. In essence, he’s a Major Championship performer. 6th at the 2020 U.S. Open, 2nd at the 2021 Masters, 8th at the 2021 PGA Championship, 6th at the 2022 Masters, 2nd at the 2022 PGA Championship and 2nd at the 2022 U.S. Open. That’s 3 runner-up and 3 top-8 finishes in his first 7 United States Major Championships.

Slightly under the radar this week, I love the chances of the San Francisco born 26 year-old who has finished 7th (2021) and 2nd (2022) in his only 2 appearances at the Farmers. RESULT: MC

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Max Homa 2pts EW 25/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

I tweeted recently that I’ve backed Max Homa ante-post for both The Masters and the U.S. Open. Now this wasn’t all my idea as Golf Betting System podcast pundit Barry O’Hanrahan highlighted that 66/1 and 50/1 for Augusta and Los Angeles Country Club respectively are odds that seem a little disrespectful for the World Number 16.

I grant you that Max is a slow starter when it comes to Major Championship golf, but the 32 year-old from California is undoubtedly maturing before our eyes into an elite golfer. Indeed it’s worth noting that Max captured 4 points from 4 matches, including a singles win over Tom Kim, at the President’s Cup played in September at the long, classical, Major Championship venue that is Quail Hollow.

And that’s the point with Homa this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s a classical golf course lover, who’s not afraid to win on the PGA Tour. A 5-time winner now, Max has won at Quail Hollow, Riviera Country Club, TPC Potomac and Silverado Country Club (twice). All of them are old-style classical courses, with 3 of his wins coming in California, all of which came on Poa Annua/Bentgrass mix putting surfaces.

Although continually underrated, Max has also finished 10th (2019) and 7th (2021) at Pebble Beach, 5th (2020) and 10th (2022) at Riviera on top of his victory, 6th at Copperhead (2021), plus 6th (2021) and 5th (2022) at Muirfield Village, so the testing, long, sparsely tree-lined nature of Torrey Pines should fit in my opinion. 9th (2020) and 18th (2021) here in 6 appearances, Max arrives off fresh form of 3rd at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and 4th when partnering Kevin Kisner at the QBE Shoot Out. RESULT: Winner

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Jason Day 2pts EW 28/1 (8EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Jason Day with Jon Rahm (who else at the moment) is tied for the most Poa Annua or Bentgrass Poa mix PGA Tour wins in this field since 2008 with 4 victories apiece. And as you would expect ‘Jay Day’ has a cracking record in the state of California. 1st (2015 & 2018), 2nd (2014), 3rd (2022) with 2 additional top-9 finishes here at Torrey Pines; Pebble Beach has seen Day finish 2nd (2018), 4th (2015, 2019 & 2020), 5th (2017) with 3 additional top-7 finishes. You can also throw 4th at the 2020 PGA Championship played at TPC Harding Park into the mix as well. Greens containing Poa Annua are undoubtedly the 34 year-old Australian’s friend and although I can’t promise the 2015 version of Jason this week at Torrey Pines, there have been signs that he’s playing well enough to get in the mix here in La Jolla.

41st in the FedEx Cup and upwardly mobile to 104th in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jason this season has finished 8th at TPC Summerlin, 11th at Palmetto, 21st at Mayakoba, 16th at Memorial Park and 18th last week at PGA West. 9th for Total Driving, 10th for Strokes Gained Approach and 22nd for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, the Columbus, Ohio resident has slowly but surely been re-building momentum over the last 3 months. Top 25 for both Off the Tee and Approach last week at a tricky Pete Dye Stadium Course, he also ranked 2nd for Putting and 7th for SG Total across his 36 holes there. RESULT: T7

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Justin Rose 1pt EW 50/1 (10EW, 1/5) with Ladbrokes

In Ryder Cup year, we saw 40 year old Francesco Molinari pop in Abu Dhabi last week, and if Justin Rose wants to get into Luke Donald’s thoughts for team selection for Rome then he needs to deliver results in 2023.

I’m also of the opinion that Rose is one to follow at an each-way price when the Tour visits stretching, testing golf courses. He won’t win The American Express as Jon Rahm did last week at -27/261, instead the 42 year-old can still compete on stretching, Major-like tests. 9th at the Houston Open played at Memorial Park last November is a prime example. Where only Tony Finau, Ben Taylor and Tyson Alexander broke into double-digits under par at the 7,412 yard, Par 70, Justin was competitive, sitting 3rd after 54 holes before finishing 9th.

4th (2017), 8th (2018), 1st (2019) and 6th (2022) here at Torrey Pines, Rose naturally has an exceptional record at some of the United States best classical courses having won at Muirfield Village, Cog Hill, Merion, Congressional, Colonial and here at Torrey Pines over the years. 6th (2016) and 3rd (2019 U.S. Open) up the California coast at Pebble Beach, Justin has also finished 4th (2017) at Riviera Country Club, which like here features the thick Kikuyugrass rough. Eye-catching Sunday -7/65 on the Pete Dye Stadium Course when 26th last week, where he drove the ball extremely well. RESULT: T18

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