DraftKings preview: Farmers Insurance Open
January 20, 2020
By Reid Fowler, Special, PGATOUR.COM
- January 20, 2020
Daily Fantasy Preview for the Farmers Insurance Open
This week, the PGA TOUR travels to the beautiful coastal course of Torrey Pines in San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open. This will be in the tournament’s 52nd year at Torrey Pines. The South Course also famously hosted the 2008 U.S. Open, which Tiger Woods won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. This week will be Woods’ first regular-season start since winning THE ZOZO Championship to tie Sam Snead’s PGA TOUR wins record. Since that win, we saw Woods star as the playing captain for the United States’ victorious Presidents Cup team. Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Gary Woodland and defending champion Justin Rose, who finished two shots ahead of Adam Scott last year, also highlight this week’s field. Other winners here include Jason Day (twice), John Rahm, Brandt Snedeker (twice) and Bubba Watson.
Similar to last week, the tournament will be played over multiple courses, the South and North courses at Torrey Pines. Last season, the South course ranked as the 18th-toughest in scoring relative to par while the North ranked as the fifth-easiest. Both will be used in the opening two rounds, while the South Course will be used for the final 36 holes. The North course features fast bentgrass greens and measure 7,258 yards; the South will measures close to 450 yards longer at 7,698 yards and features fast Poa Annua greens. Both with play as a par 72.
Over an eight-year span from 2011 to 2018, all winners started on the South Course. Making a ton of birdies isn’t necessary to succeed this week, though. Winning scores have ranged between 6 under and 21 under over the past four years, meaning conditions will play a factor if the weather turns sour.
The South course will host the U.S. Open next year, and with the 2001 redesign by Rees Jones, we’ve seen what we’ve been accustomed to seeing with U.S. Open tracks — hard-to-hit fairways. The South course recorded 10 percent lower in fairways hit compared to the TOUR average, but missing them won’t be as penalizing as the U.S. Open with only average-length rough. Therefore, accuracy off the tee won’t be a factor this week, but driving distance will with the South Course measuring close to 7,700 yards. We should also be focusing on Strokes Gained: Approach-The-Green per usual, but also roster golfers who have a solid short game. With longer approach shots predominantly coming in from 200-plus yards out, golfers recorded a lower Greens In Regulation percentage here against TOUR average. Nothing new with focusing on par-5 scoring average when playing a par-72, but something new this week is focusing on golfers who regularly putt well on Poa Annua greens.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,900)
Matsuyama hasn’t had much success on the greens over the past few weeks, but his ball-striking has been elite, gaining close to six strokes tee-to-green over his past five tournaments. He travels to a familiar course and a tournament he’s played very well at, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Total here since 2015. His putting on Poa Annua hasn’t been great, ranking 32nd over his past 12 rounds, but he’s been fantastic with the flat stick at Torrey Pines, gaining just under nine strokes on the greens in his past three tournaments here.
Gary Woodland ($9,500)
Woodland, like Matsuyama, loves Torrey Pines with no worse than a T20 in his past four starts. With no missed cuts in 10 starts here, Woodland should be a solid play, especially for someone who’s gained the sixth-most strokes total here since 2015. Even though Woodland’s been struggling with his putter, losing strokes in two of his past three tournaments, he’s gained just under six strokes on the greens here over his past four starts. With no worse than a seventh-place in his past four tournaments, he’s been playing too well to fade, especially this week.
Cameron Smith ($8,700)
Driving distance will be important this week, but not the predominant statistic in order to play well here. We’ve seen Brandt Snedeker ($8,400) win here twice, whose game resembles Smith’s (or vice versa) quite well. Smith ranks inside the top five gaining strokes via his short game and putting. Don’t be surprised if we see him atop leaderboards again this week after he earned his first PGA TOUR win two weeks ago at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Bubba Watson ($7,500)
Watson’s been struggling of late and needs to get back to a course where he feels comfortable, which is Torrey Pines. Over the past 24 rounds at Torrey, he ranks first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Rory Sabbatini ($7,200)
Sabbatini raises his game when the competition is tough, which is what we’ll see this week at Torrey Pines. He’s made the cut in his past six starts and has hit his irons decently, ranking inside the top 40 during those starts. He’ll need to hit his irons a lot better if he wants to make the weekend, but if he can’t, he’ll need to rely on his short game a little more here where he ranks third in Strokes Gained: Putting and just outside the top 30 in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green in his last three tournaments at Torrey Pines.
J.B. Holmes ($6,900)
He may be a popular play this week with his success at this course, but it’s warranted ranking first in the field in Strokes Gained: Total over the past three tournaments. He’s got distance off the tee, but Holmes needs to hit his irons a lot better, losing strokes through approach in five straight tournaments. Holmes isn’t the best iron player, but it’s usually the putter that lets him down. He should have more success here ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting here over his last 12 rounds.
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