LA JOLLA, Calif. -- The skies remain cloudy but the fog finally burned off as the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open got under way after a three-hour delay.
A light mist remains in the air but otherwise, conditions have improved considerably after roughly an inch of rain fell in the last 24 hours.
Tournament officials have decided to play the ball down in the third round. With the damp conditions, the South Course is sure to play longer than its normal 7,698 yards which puts six-time champion Tiger Woods even more in the driver's seat.
Woods, who takes a two-stroke lead into the final round, ranks first in driving distance this week and fourth in driving accuracy. He tees off No. 1 with Billy Horschel, who is second at 9 under, and Casey Wittenburg, who is another stroke behind, tied with eight others, at 3:40 p.m. ET (12:40 p.m. PT).
Sunset is expected at 8:15 p.m. ET (5:15 pm. PT).
LA JOLLA, calif. -- The South Course at Torrey Pines was the longest course on the PGA TOUR last year. So imagine what it will be like today after absorbing nearly an inch of rain over the last 24 hours.
The wet stuff is still falling intermittently on Saturday morning as fog delays the start of the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open. There have been six 30-minute delays, so the earliest competition would now begin is 1:20 p.m. ET. (10:20 a.m. PT).
There's a lot of play on tap, too, with 87 players making the cut. They'll be paired in threesomes off both tees at the South, which averaged 73.117 in the second round.
The forecast calls for the fog to lift by mid-morning and the possibility of some sunshine in the afternoon. There is a chance of rain through the first half of the day and the high will struggle into the low 60s.
Sunday's forecast is marginally better with mostly cloudy skies and a 40 percent chance of rain. The temperature will top out in the upper 50s.
Reminder: Because 87 players made the cut, there will be a secondary cut after 54 holes.
Watch online: Exclusive LIVE@ coverage begins at 11 a.m. ET, with a live stream of CBS' broadcast at 3 p.m. ET.
Rickie Fowler wore his OSU orange in the third round at Torrey in 2012. (Dunn/Getty Images)
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Saturday may have dawned dreary at Torrey Pines but look for bursts of color from players and fans alike during "University Day" at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Farmers Insurance will contribute $500 to the college funds of every player who wears his school colors during the third round. The player who shoots the low round will earn $15,000 for his college golf team while the player who has the second lowest round earns $10,000.
After the round is over, Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State), Charley Hoffman (UNLV), Ben Crane (Oregon) and Camilo Villegas (Florida) -- along with their school's respective mascots -- will participate in the University Day Challenge. The players and their mascots will try to raise money for their college golf teams by breaking a panel of glass panes adorned with the decals of their school. The team with the last pane standing will win $10,000 for its university.
Fans can get into the act, too. The first 10,000 through the gates at Torrey Pines wearing their school colors receive a free gift. Another giveaway for participating fans can be found at the Farmers Mobile Claims Center bus near the 17th fairway.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- At least the introductions have already been made.
Billy Horschel, who had just graduated from the University of Florida, made it a point to go up and thank Tiger Woods that day after the man who was then the world's No. 1 player had given him a sponsor's exemption to play in the AT&T National.
"He said I know you've had a pretty good college career and you've done pretty well," Horschel recalled. "Just keep doing what you're doing. You'll be fine, and you'll be out here in no time. So I thought that was something cool at the time."
Saturday will be even cooler. Although the two have talked on several occasions since, Horschel will play with Woods for the first time in the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open -- in the day's final pairing, no less.
Woods owns the lead at 11 under while Horschel is second, trailing by two after a solid 69 on the South Course that will host the final two rounds. Also in the final pairing is Casey Wittenberg, who has played with Woods three times, all in majors, and is among six players tied for third at 8 under.
Horschel knows the crowd following the final threesome will be huge. He's also heard that playing with Woods is easier than playing in front or behind him due to the way the fans scurry ahead to get a better view. He isn't worried one way or the other.
"It's nothing that I haven't dealt with before," Horschel said. "I've played the Walker Cup in 2007 over in Northern Ireland at Royal County Down and there was a guy I competed against three times called Rory McIlroy. So there may have been 10, 12,000 people following us, and only a couple thousand following the rest of the group. So I've dealt with crowds. ...
"He's one of the many golfers I've looked up to when I was a young kid, so I get to play with him. It's going to be nice."
The 28-year-old has been extremely steady over the first two rounds. Horschel ranks first in greens in regulation, hitting all but four, and second in fairways, finding 22 of 28. Granted, he took 31 putts on Friday but finished strong with three birdies over his last five holes.
The round of 69 was Horschel's 10 sub-par round in as many attempts this season. He had played 24 events combined on the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour last year, including q-school where he tied for fourth to get his card back. A week spent snowboarding -- "I'm sort of addicted," Horschel said with a smile -- then the holidays put him in a refreshed frame of mind.
Once Horschel did start practicing again several days before New Year's, he and his instructor, Todd Anderson, who also works with last year's Farmers Insurance Open champion, Brandt Snedeker, decided their primary area of emphasis would be on putting. He spent four hours on the practice green on Wednesday and it appears to be paying off.
"We knew all along my putting was somewhere where I could improve greatly," Horschel said. "And there were just a couple of fundamentals and mechanical things that we worked on, and it's been something I've been really focusing on, spending more time on the putting green than on the driving range."
Horschel has also made it a point to stay focused on himself. He has quit reading golf magazines because the words tend to stay with him, and he uses Twitter sparingly. He tries not to look at leaderboards, too, so he can stay in the moment on the course.
"I need to be a little bit more selfish out here," Horschel said. "Not always talk a lot to everybody I see. I can talk your ear off for days and days. So whenever I see somebody, not going over there and talking 20 minutes while they're practicing and I'm not. So it's more or less just me focusing on what I need to do and taking care of my business and just go about it that way."
As he talked, Horschel's phone was vibrating as yet another text arrived. His task will more difficult on Friday night but the rewards could be great come Sunday.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Sure, Phil Mickelson wanted to play the final two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open.
But he wasn't going to be huddled around a computer waiting to see whether 1 under was enough to keep him around for the weekend in his hometown event.
As it turned out, Mickelson did make the cut on the number, one of a whopping 87 players who survived to do battle on the South Course on Saturday and Sunday. Regardless of whether it was in competition or on the range, though, Mickelson would have been working on his game.
"It's just a fraction off," the lefthander said after squeaking with a 71 in despite bogeys on his last two holes. "I just don't quite feel great. I've thrown a lot of shots away on the greens, and my iron play hasn't been as good as it has been heading into the start of the year. ... So I want to see if I can get it turned around and get it going."
Mickelson, who tied for 37th at the Humana Challenge in his 2013 debut last week, generally plays well on the West Coast where he's won 18 of his 40 PGA TOUR events. He's playing the next three weeks, too, including his title defense at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, so there is a sense of urgency.
On Friday, though, he hit just six of 14 fairways -- but that was up from two in the first round. Mickelson hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation for the second straight day and used 27 putts.
In 23 starts at the Farmers Insurance Open, Mickelson has three wins, two second-place finishes and one third. His low round on the South Course is a 64 and he'll need a couple of those to challenge with Tiger Woods setting the pace at 11 under.
That's why those two closing bogeys on Friday hurt so much. Mickelson, who went back to his old putter on Friday and played with all-weather gloves on both hands for traction, was 3 under for the tournament before that stumbling finish.
"I was trying to make one or two birdies to get within striking distance if I shot a low round tomorrow," Mickelson said. "So making bogey the last two holes kind of hurt and brought me back to where the cut line is a factor."
Scott Stallings shot a second-round 78 to miss the cut on Friday. (Gross/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Scott Stallings started the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open in what appeared to be relative safety. He was one shot off the lead.
After shooting a 78 on a dreary Friday on the South Course, though, Stallings won't be playing the final two rounds. The cut came at 1 under and included 87 players but Stallings was one shot in arrears.
"Torrey south 1 scott 0 wow that was rough. On to Phoenix," tweeted Stallings, who had bogeyed the 72nd hole on Sunday to miss the playoff at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
On the plus side of the ledger, though, was Mike Weir. The eight-time PGA TOUR champion shot 75 but he still managed to make the cut for the first time since the 2011 AT&T National, a span of 18 events.
Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old who was making his professional debut, wasn't as lucky. The former Texas standout received a sponsor's exemption on Monday and shot 72-73 to miss by one.
Ben Crane, who won the 2010 Farmers Insurance Open, missed the cut, as did former major champions Stewart Cink, John Daly, Angel Cabrera, Keegan Bradley and Geoff Ogilvy. Japan's Ryo Isikawa, who opened with a 64, followed with a 79 and is also headed home.
Like Stallings, J.B. Holmes took to Twitter after shooting 73-72 to miss the cut. "No matter how long I've played this game i am always learning. Most of the time that this game is freaking hard."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Did you really expect anything else?
Yes, that's Tiger Woods at the top of the leaderboard after two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open. The man who has won the tournament six times matched his second-lowest score ever on the North Course with a 65 and owns a two-stroke advantage at 11 under.
Billy Horschel is Woods' closet competitor after a round of 69 on the South Course. Casey Wittenberg, Brad Fritsch, Erik Compton, Steve Marino, Jimmy Walker and Josh Teater are another stroke further behind at 8 under.
And as the 87 players who made the cut prepare for their final two rounds on the South Course, which was the longest on the PGA TOUR last year, there is another stat worth considering. Woods has a 74-0 edge in wins over the seven players nearest his lead.
Woods has now played 49 rounds on these two scenic layouts that meander along the Pacific Ocean and broken par in 42 of them. Somewhat surpisingly, though, this is just Woods' second 36-hole lead at Torrey Pines -- and his first since 2000 when he led by four and ended up beating Ryuji Imada by twice that much.
The key over the first two rounds has been the way Woods mastered the par 5s. He played them in 5 under on Friday and 4 under during the first round. He's made five birdies and two eagles to lead the field in scoring on those holes.
"That's basically where the round could be had," Woods explained. "On the North Course, drive the ball well here and you're going to probably have 4-iron shots into the par 5s. Just happened to have the wind turn into us on nine, so I ended up hitting 5-wood.
"But, you sprinkle that in with probably four or five wedge shots in there, a round of 6- or 7-under par is definitely conceivable."
Woods, whose scoring average on the North prior to Friday was an eye-popping 67.75, will be seeking to make the Farmers Insurance Open the third event on TOUR that he's won seven times. The others are the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Woods has been particularly steady off the tee -- hitting 12 of 14 fairways on Friday, an improvement of five over the first round. He's hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation each day and his putter has been solid, using 27 in the second round and 28 in the first.
"That's something that I needed to work on, and as you saw toward the end of last season, it started coming around," Woods said when asked about his short game. "Basically, I just continue doing what I've been doing with it, and I haven't had to hit as many golf balls, so I've been able to dedicate more time to (it) and consequently, it's better."
Woods got hot as he made the turn on Friday, making birdie at the 17th hole, eagle at No. 18 and adding two more birdies on Nos. 1 and 2. Woods said he "didn't really miss a shot through that stretch."
Woods last appearance at Torrey Pines was his least successful, resulting in a tie for 44th, his only finish outside the top 10, after rounds of 74-75 on the weekend. He was in the beginning stages of a swing change with Sean Foley that year, though, and Woods is much more sure of their work these days after last year's three-win season.
"It's not like something that you can do overnight and make changes and all of a sudden it's great," Woods said. "From where I came from to where I'm at now, it's a big change."
Woods said Friday's rain didn't bother him that much. He doesn't like rain gear and eshewed an unbrella -- "Once you're wet, you're wet," he said with a smile. "Deal with it."
But the course definitely felt the affects.
"It certainly softened it up," Woods said. "The greens became pretty soft, and they became pretty bumpy. ... I tried to hit every putt where it was just falling in and not having any putts coming back because they're a little testy from about two feet."
Brandt Snedeker will need to rebound this weekend to buck a nasty trend for first-round leaders. (Dunn/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
So many storylines: Tiger Woods trying to win for a seventh time at Torrey Pines (actually eighth, if you count his U.S. Open victory there); Charles Howell III off a third and second in his last two starts with 14 career runner-up finishes looming over him and in contention again; defending champion Brandt Snedeker trying to recover from a rocky second round.
More on that and what else to watch for in this week's Five For Friday to set you up for what should be a big boy weekend of golf.
1. This is Woods' 13th start in the Farmers Insurance Open. As mentioned, he's won six of them. The other six? He finished in the top 10 five times. He enters the weekend in contention again and that's where the story begins. Last year, Woods was second in scoring average before the cut. After it? He ranked 44th and 30th in third and fourth-round scoring, respectively. Will it be more of the same? The way he's hit the ball the first two days, it doesn't look like it.
2. One other thing to remember about Woods: He holds the South Course record, which he set in 1999 with a 62. That's a long time ago, but there's an awful lot to be said for horses for courses, especially when it comes to Woods, who has racked up multiple victories on the same course a handful of times.
3. Through the opening round, Brandt Snedeker had played 23 rounds at Torrey Pines in 52 under. He struggled Friday on Torrey's tougher South Course but he's been a regular near the top of the leaderboard there the last few years with three top 10s, including a win last year.
4. Last year, Mike Weir missed the cut in every one of his 14 starts. His road back from a tendon injury in his elbow has been a long one, but he's showing progress. After two more missed cuts to open this season, he'll finally be around for the rest of the weekend.
5. A little trivia (and some not-so-good history for Snedeker). Question: Who was the last first-round leader to win the Farmers Insurance Open? Answer: George Burns in 1987. He opened with a 63 and went on to win by four.
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- The rain is falling in earnest now as Tiger Woods signs for a 65 in the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Woods answered his lone bogey of the day, which came at the eighth hole, with a two-putt birdie at No. 9 to finish 36 holes in the lead at 11 under. Woods has played the par 5s in 9 under -- which leads the field -- with five birdies and two eagles.
In 12 previous rounds at the North Course, Woods' average is 67.75. He's a six-time champion of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Woods now owns a three-stroke advantage over Josh Teater, Ross Fisher and Billy Horschel. Teater has played 12 holes on the North while Fisher just misssed a 5-footer for par at No. 11 on the South and Horschel has played 10 holes.
One of Woods' playing partners, Ricky Fowler, matched his 65 -- a score that was 12 strokes better than what the23-year-old shot in the opening round and just may have kept Fowler around for the weekend. He's among 74 players tied at 2 under or better.
Phil Mickelson, who has won three times at Torrey Pines, has birdied three of his last five holes to get to 3 under for the day and the tournament. Mickelson, who is trying to avoid his second straight missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, is playing the South Course.