Tiger at Torrey Time: Full 2020 Farmers Insurance Open Preview
Welcome to Torrey Pines, the unofficial beginning of the 2020 PGA Tour season. Why do I say this? Well, Tiger has begun every real season here since 2006. He’s won professionally on this golf course 8 times. He won the Farmers Insurance in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013. He won the U.S. Open here in 2008, on one leg, beating Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff.
He forced that playoff with this putt.
Tiger likes this place. A lot. He’s been winning here since he was a kid and, well, objectively, he just looks majestic here.
Listen to this sound!
The event began here in 1952 as the San Diego Open. It’s taken on a few different title sponsors until, in 2010, it became the Farmers Insurance Open. Beyond Tiger, Phil’s won here 3 times and many of the greats — Arnie, Jack, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller — have all won the Farmers Insurance.
It’s a historic stop and a staple event of the PGA Tour. Big names play and big names win here.
In 2017, Jon Rahm — currently one of the hottest players in the game — notched his maiden victory here in heroic fashion.
Rham’s the second favorite this week, going off at +750.
Justin Rose is the defending champ and Jason Day won in 2018. Again, big names win here a lot.
There’s a North and a South Course and both will both be in play this week. For the first 36 holes, players split between the two. For the final 36, they play the South Course so that’ll be our focus here.
The North Course went through a $12M renovation a few years ago, but The South is the tougher of the two. The South actually underwent some renovations last summer in preparation for hosting next year’s U.S. Open.
Here’s some insight into those changes via San Diego 10 News (lol):
Respected course designer Rees Jones, who helmed the last major renovation to Torrey Pines in 2001, examined advanced analytical data from the 2019 tournament, studying where the pros are hitting their shots. Jones used that information to recommend changes, moving several bunkers to locations that will force players to make a difficult strategic decision on how to approach the hole. Jones also worked to bring Torrey Pines’ cliffs and canyons closer to the action, bringing them more into play.
The South Course now stretches to nearly 7,700 yards. Three par-3s are over 200 yards, seven par-4s are over 450 yards, and two par-5s are over 600 yards. Yessir. It’s LONG with THICK rough. It’s a U.S. Open track.
3rd, 201 yards, par 3
13th, 621 yards, par 5
This one’s a beast but it’s very dependent on the wind. If it’s into, few guys will get home in two. If down, we’ll see some eagle looks.
Phil famously posted a niner in the third round of the ’08 Open.
Tiger, that same day, did this.
17th, 443 yards, par 4
Snagged this screenshot from our very good friend Geoff Shackelford breaking down some of the changes. They move the fairway left towards the canyon to bring in more trouble and make the players think a bit. Should be a little more interesting down the stretch.
18th, 570 yards, par 5
The 18th brings the drama, from Rahm in 2017 to Phil asking his caddie Bones to tend the flag from 100 yards out…
To Tiger canning eagles to take 54-hole leads…
I gotta get to southern California man.
Rory too makes his 2020 debut here. Some big names are Tiger, Rory, Phil, Rahm, Xander, Rose, Rickie, Gary Woodland, Finau, Jordan Spieth.
Here are your betting odds.
I mean come on. What do you think we’re doing here? What do you think this is? Tiger Woods has won here professionally 8 times. His last 3 showings he won the Zozo, held the back-nine lead at the Hero, and went 3-0 while captaining the winning American Presidents Cup team at Royal Melbourne.
Winner, Tiger Woods (11/1).
Three of the last six winners have finished single-digits under par here, but Rose went nuts and posted 21-under last year. With the renovations, I don’t think that’ll happen again.
Winning score, -14.
Tony Finau is 27/1. I don’t know that that’s necessarily a hardcore dark horse pick but he bombs the ball and he flirted last week after posting a 10-under par second round.
Dark horse, Tony Finau (27/1).
The Steven Bowditch / Smylie Kaufman Memorial DFL Award
Let us please take a look at Martin Trainer’s last 4 months.
DFL, Martin Trainer (1,000/1). Hope I’m wrong.
Thursday & Friday, Golf Channel, 3-7pm EST
Saturday & Sunday, Golf Channel, 1-2:45pm EST
Saturday & Sunday, CBS, 3-6:30pm EST
The real coverage.
Enjoy Torrey. Go Tigah.