THE FIRST LOOK
The TOUR returns to Torrey Pines
Storylines from the Farmers Insurance Open
January 22, 2016
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day survived a playoff against J.B. Holmes, Harris English and Scott Stallings to win the event last year. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
• FIELD: Click here for the full field.
• COURSE: Torrey Pines GC (South), 7,698 yards, par 72. Laid out along cliffs fronting the Pacific Ocean, the 1957 William Bell creation has been home to the PGA TOUR’s annual San Diego visit since 1968. A 2001 upgrade by Rees Jones helped Torrey Pines land the 2008 U.S. Open, eventually won by Tiger Woods in an epic playoff over Rocco Mediate, and it remains the longest layout ever to stage a major championship. This week’s format also calls for entrants to play one of the first two rounds on Torrey Pines’ North course (7,052/72).
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: The Century Club of San Diego, which administers the Champions for Youth program to deliver primary support to 12 organizations helping at-risk and underserved youth in San Diego. Additional funds also have been targeted for some 60 other local charities.
• FIELD WATCH: Defending champion Jason Day makes his second start after sitting out all fall, joined by No. 6 Rickie Fowler and 10 other players from among the top 30 in the current Official World Golf Ranking. … San Diego native Phil Mickelson returns for his 20th appearance, hoping his hometown course might allow him to end a dry spell that reaches back to the 2013 Open Championship. … Touted Australian teenager Ryan Ruffels, just 17, will make his professional debut at the event. Six months ago, Ruffels opened the RBC Canadian Open with a 66 before rounds of 75-76 led to a Saturday MDF.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 266, George Burns (1987), Tiger Woods (1999).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Mark Brooks (2nd round, 1990) and Brandt Snedeker (1st round, 2007) at Torrey Pines North. South course record: 62, Tiger Woods (3rd round, 1999).
• LAST YEAR: Day showed what he could do when fully healthy – and provided a glimpse into what awaited later in 2015 – by outlasting J.B. Holmes and two others in a crowded playoff. The Aussie nearly didn’t make it to extra holes, grinding out a tough par on the 72nd hole after his chip from gnarly greenside rough ran off the green – but stopped at the yellow hazard line instead of going into Devlin’s Billabong. Day and Holmes each made birdie on a replay of No. 18 – eliminating Harris English and defending champion Scott Stallings – before Holmes missed the green at the par-3 16th that allowed Day’s 5-iron to 15 feet set up the win. It was Day’s third PGA TOUR win and first since the 2014 WGC Match Play, after which he missed the better part of three months with a thumb injury.
• STORYLINES: Day seeks to build on his finish at the calendar-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where a 69-65 weekend lifted him into the top 10. He would become the event’s fourth back-to-back champion, joining J.C. Snead (1975-76), Mickelson (2000-01) and Woods (four straight from 2005-08). … Fowler makes a quick transition after spending the previous week halfway around the world at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi stop. … Though Mickelson is a three-time champion in his hometown, his last victory came in 2001. His best finish since then was runner-up in 2010 behind Ben Crane. … Fabian Gomez, winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii, and fellow Argentine Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com Open) are among three entrants with a chance to become the season’s first two-time winner. Smylie Kaufman (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open) is the other.
• SHORT CHIPS: Just once in the past dozen years has the 54-hole leader at Torrey Pines closed the deal. That was Woods, who romped to an eight-shot win in 2008. Kyle Stanley came agonizingly close in 2012, but a triple bogey at No. 18 opened the door to Brandt Snedeker’s playoff win. … The Farmers Insurance Open has its own anthem, teaming with veteran songwriter Gary Hyde and Pacific Records to unveil “Momentum,” now being used as part of the tournament’s radio and TV promotions. … Barring a late WD, Alex Cejka will become the only man to play in all four events since the calendar turned.
• PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 1-3 p.m. ET (Featured Groups), 3-7 p.m. (Featured Holes)
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. ET. Sunday, 2-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM).