This week we are off to the Farmers Insurance Open being played at Torrey Pines in beautiful California. The players will be faced with the difficult task of playing both the North and South Course. Below is a little about each of these tracks.
The South Course
This is considered the tougher of the two golf courses and will be a difficult task for any golfer. It was changed just over 10 years ago and now is home to a Par 72 course that is just less than 7600 yards in distance. The South Course was home to the US open in 2008. Its course record is held by a guy who will be playing this week for the first time of the year, Tiger Woods (Shot 62 in 1999). Be sure to pay attention when the players are on holes 7 and 12. Both of these long Par 4’s have given the players fits over the years.
The North Course
This course is much shorter than The South Course but still poses challenges for the golfers. It is a Par 72 course that will be playing around 6900 yards for the players this week. The North Course is where many players will hope to go low but if the wind is gusting that idea may vanish quickly. Mark Brooks and Brandt Snedeker share The North Course record with a blistering 61. A fun hole for people to watch is the 172 yard Par 3 17th. Players will be faced with coastal winds and a pond short and to the left. The green is large but the 17th is still a daunting par 3 for the players.
This week includes a hometown hero in Phil Mickelson, six time champion at this event in Tiger Woods as well as plenty of up and coming stars. The players will gather in La Jolla, California, to bomb their way around the challenging courses. The largest news of the week though is that Tiger is teeing it up in 2011 for the first time. I think he may have picked this course for a reason too. Woods has won the Tournament the last 5 times he teed it up at Torrey pines (2005 to 2008, and again in 2008 at the US Open.)
To say Woods is not the favorite going in would be ridiculous. He can be found as low as a 2/1 favorite to win this week at Torrey Pines. He will also be out to reclaim his World number 2 ranking from Martin Kaymer.
Phil Mickelson will be coming home to a course he played all the time while going up. Phil has also won this tournament multiple times, capturing the title here in (1993, 2000, 2001). He will have the support of the crowd as he always does and should feel very comfortable.
Other players who will have plenty of eyes on them this week include Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, last week’s winner Jhonattan Vegas, and of course John Daly (how can you miss him in those pants.)
Steve’s Farmers Insurance Open Six Pack Picks:
This week I am putting a premium on player’s ability to drive the ball deep, be accurate with irons and one players putting ability. Each course gives abilities to make birdies but with lengthy par 4 the players must be accurate and long of the tee. We will be cheering against Tiger here as there is absolutely no value at 2/1 to pick him and he has yet to prove he is back to his winning ways. Without further ado, here are the 6 golf picks. (Ranked in my order of my favorite to least favorite)
1. Bubba Watson 45/1
This will be a common pick this year in the six pack as I feel he has the all-around game to rival anyone on tour. He hits the ball a mile yet has a very nice short game for such a long hitter. Without a great History here at Torrey Pines I look for him to make a statement this week and put himself in plenty of birdie opportunities.
2. Bill Haas 32/1
Bill Haas has been on fire. He carded a 62 in the 3rd round at the Bob Hope and after a tough first two days roared back to put himself in a playoff. Like Dustin Johnson his past has not been stellar here but one cannot ignore the way he played the final 3 days at the Bob Hope. Look for him to continue this excellent play this week in La Jolla. (Looking forwarded to Bill bringing us the dollar bills this week!)
3. Charles Howell III 25/1
Charles Howell III had a T9 last year at the Farmers insurance Open. The fact that he took advantage of the par 5s (-12) while playing the Par 4s and Par3s at a combined (+2) is why he has had good success on these two courses. He has two runner-up finishes at this event and you will see his name there on Sunday once again this year. (Hoping this year it’s your turn Charles!)
4. Nick Watney 25/1
Nick Watney is a player who is going to win a major soon. He has all the tools to play well on difficult courses. Here are some quick facts from last year that I like heading into Torrey Pines. He was tied for 10th on tour in Par 5 scoring average, 20th in driving distance and 4th in top 10 finishes. All those stats are nice but the fact of the matter is, he loves Torrey Pines. Three top 10`s in his last 4 starts here including the title in 2009. (Start 2011 off with a win Nick!)
5. Brandt Snedeker 60/1
Brandt Snedeker seems to go against my long hitter logic but cannot be overlooked. Though the 7600 yard South Course will be a long one for him no one on tour was a better putter last year than Brandt. He will rely on that smooth putting stroke to save his pars on the tough holes and make birdies on the easy ones. It also helps that he knows the greens here at Torrey Pines like the back of his hand. He utilized this knowledge to a T2 in 2010 here and is this week’s six pack long shot. (How about another 61 this year Brandt!)
6. Ben Crane 35/1
Though it is difficult to defend your title on the PGA Tour we are going to give Ben Crane an opportunity to do this. He seems to minimize his mistakes on these courses making only 5 bogeys all week last year. This title accompanied by his T7 here in 2009 and you can see why he has to be included in the six pack. Crane is also a player who does not let Sunday pressure get to him. He was 7th on tour last year with a scoring average below 70 on Sundays. (Bring it home for us this year too Ben!)
Hope everyone enjoys this week at Torrey Pines and good luck to our guys in the six pack!
Results for our Golfers .
Bubba Watson – Won
Brandt Snedeker – Tied for 9th
Bill Hass – Tied for 9th
Charles Howell III – Tied for 14th
Ben Crane – TIed for 14th