Farmers Insurance Open
Defending Champ: Tiger Woods
Technically we’re ten tournaments deep on the PGA’s season, but we all know none really matter until Tiger takes the course. And, as is becoming custom, that’s this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. Tiger Watch 2014 beings now!!! Phil’s back too – fresh off blundering away a win in Abu Dhabi. #PhilBogeys. Jason Day and Graham DeLaet will be lacing up the soft spikes for the first time this year as well. Rust doesn’t concern me; I’m taking three of the four of them.
Last week we had to deal with the multiple course problem in La Quinta, and we have comparable issues again. Just instead of the field playing at three separate venues, there are only two, and they couldn’t be more different. In toughness, that is. Esthetically they’re very similar: Ocean view, giant trees, Woodland Critters. Torrey Pines’ easier North Course plays just 7,042 yards while the South course, home of the 2008 U.S. Open, protects itself at lengthy 7,698 yards. The players alternate backdrops the first two days before complete migration to the South Course for the weekend. So Daily gamers especially, MAKE NOTE of who’s playing where on Thursday and Friday.
Outside of that, I suppose the thing to know is that Tiger’s won here eight times in his career – including the last time he hoisted a Major. A win this week will make Torrey Pines his most triumphant location, breaking a tie with Bay Hill. Phil’s no scrub here either. San Diego’s his hometown, he’s notched three wins himself (but none since 2001) and has the proper style of game to take advantage of the four protracted Par-5s at the South. But he’s Phil, and he’s just not as good as Tiger.
Paulina Gretzky, “can’t wait to see” her new TaylorMade commercial.
Jason Dufner’s playing this week. Not at Torrey Pines though, in Qatar; site of the 2022 World Cup, which I’ve heard will use the cover “Let’s Get Qatared” as its theme. Is this just Duff Man’s way of spreading his message to #BringObesityBack to an international audience? I dunno, probably. But it’s not just Dufner 13-time zones from San Diego, other top players like Thomas Bjorn, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Serigo Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawire, Henrik Stenson and JOHN DALY are all in the desert too.
The PGA held its DEMO DAY Tuesday.
How come Bubba Watson can putt on an airplane but not on actual greens?
Someone named Pablo Larrazabal (yes, you guessed correctly, he’s from Spain) conquered both Rory McIlroyand Phil Mickelson by a single stroke at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. How you ask? Well, posting a 14-under helped, but Hefty decided it would be a good idea to try and hit his ball from underneath a bush, RIGHT HANDED! Classic Phil. He ended up double-hitting the ball, taking a penalty and finishing with a triple bogey. #SMRTGolf. Rory too had something to complain about. He got screwed by Richardo Gonzalez’s caddy after taking an improper drop. I don’t know who this Richardo guy is, but doesn’t he sound like someone who tries to rook old women out of their money on daytime soaps?
Partick Reed cracked the world’s Top 50 with his win at the Humana last week, and now he’s pulled out of the Farmers with a rib injury. Presumably cracked.
It was Jack’s 74th birthday this week, proving again, you’re never too old to enjoy a delicious cube of cake.
Cake may have universal approval, but not cupcakes. Nick Faldo is no fan of cupcakes.
Brandt Snedeker & Tiger Woods – The most common Fantasy team you’ll see see this week is Tiger and Phil paired up in the “A” Pool, so going a teensy bit contrarian could pay off big time. Unless Phil wins, which would be awful on a lot of levels. Tiger’s history here (and ability to win a US Open) push him ahead of Phil, but strangely, it’s actually Snedeker that has played the best at Torrey Pines this decade. On top of winning in 2012, Sneds has two runner-ups and a T9 on his resume from the past four years.
Jason Day, Graham DeLaet, Hunter Mahan & Bill Haas – The ability to go deep off the tee is going to be a handy skill to possess on the South Course, so I’m frontloading well rounded players that can also BOMB it. Day, most of know, but many outside Canada are still fairly unfamiliar with DeLaet. Educate yourself foo’. The Canuck has played himself all the way up to No. 39 in the world rankings after a sizzling run during the FedEx Cup playoffs that ended up netting him $2.8m in Tour earnings with an extra $600,000 bonus for finishing eighth overall. And he did it all by leading the PGA in driving. His great plays carried over into 2014 too. So far this season, he’s already collected sixth and seventh place checks at the CIMB and WGC in China… Mahan always scores well here, placing 15th, T6, T6 the past three years… There’s always one terrific iron player that overcomes the length of the South Course. Last year that was Haas. And, after a strong T6 at the Humana, it’ll likely be him again.
Jimmy Walker & Victor Dubuisson – JIMMMMMAAAAYYYYY is officially on a roll. He’s won two of his past six starts (including the Sony two weeks ago) and added another sixth and T12 to the onslaught. Plus, he’s just been waiting to break through at Torrey Pines. Walker’s finished in a tie for fourth and eighth the past two seasons at the Farmers… Who is Victor Dubuisson you ask? Well, he’s French (gross), playing on a sponsor’s exemption and, shockingly, is the 31st ranked player in the world. Dubuisson’s making his PGA debut this week, having rocketed from No. 106 to No. 31 over his past five tournaments; never finishing lower than 30th, collecting three Top 5s and claiming victory at the Turkish Airlines Open. That probably doesn’t sound very impressive, but those other Top 5s? A third at the Euro Tour Championship in Dubai and a fifth at the Volvo Championships – both signature events across the pond.