Quick look at the Farmers Insurance Open
Two courses. Two different putting surfaces. Welcome to the new Torrey Pines.
January 25, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Hometown favorite Phil Mickelson will try to shake his recent record at Torrey Pines. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Among the changes made to the renovated Torrey Pines North course is a putting surface switch to a bentgrass blend known as Tyee 007. The previous surface, poa annua, remains on the South course greens.
Consequently, players at the Farmers Insurance Open will be putting on two different kinds of surfaces in the first two rounds this week. How quickly they can make the transition could be a factor in determining the contenders entering the weekend.
“You’ve just got to somehow adapt,” said world No. 1 Jason Day, the 2015 Farmers champ. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to beat everyone and shoot the lowest score. It’s going to be interesting.”
Tom Weiskopf, who oversaw the redesign, said that players will “figure it out real quick.” Even so, there is a learning curve involved, as Tyee 007 is a relatively new blend perfected in California in recent years. In fact, Weiskopf was not even aware of the grass until he worked on the Torrey Pines project.
“The more important thing is the speed,” Weiskopf said. “It will probably be a little bit of a challenge this year because they haven't played enough rounds on this golf course, but after a couple years of playing here, they'll figure out how to play each hole real easy. The breaks will be a little less severe. “So my advice is if you see some break, play less break.”
Tennessee native Brandt Snedeker did not grow up playing poa annua greens, but he’s obviously quite comfortable on them, having won twice at Farmers, including last year. Given his success at Torrey Pines, he had mixed feelings about the switch, especially because he had a good read on the old greens, which offered more slope.
“The greens on the North course are perfect,” he said. “They’re absolutely rolling pristine and I’m kind of disappointed because I wanted it to be poa. I was used to the old ones and now – you hit ‘em where you’re looking, they’re gonna go in.”
The differences in grasses could cause Day to adjust the lie and loft in his putter between rounds – something he usually only does between tournaments.
“There has to be a balance between putting on a bent and putting on a poa annua because obviously as the day goes on, poa annua grows and it starts to become a lot more bouncy,” Day explained. “… You’ve got to be a lot more committed on poa annua greens.”
He’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I typically like putting on bent greens,” Day said. “I’ve had success here on poa annua as well, but I think the guys will work it out pretty quick.”
A closer look at one of Torrey Pines South’s most famous holes, the 200-yard par-3 third that seems to rub shoulders with the Pacific Ocean. Look out for the hang gliders!
Torrey Pines South Course - Hole No. 3
THE LANDING ZONE
The 504-yard 12th hole at Torrey Pines South is among the longest par 4s played regularly on the PGA TOUR. It was the South’s most difficult hole last year, playing to a stroke average of 4.508, yielding just 10 birdies against 132 bogeys and 15 doubles. Here is where all tee shots landed last year.
Whoever sang "it never rains in Southern California" would be right this week. No precipitation expected, with temps nice and cool (perhaps a bit too chilly?). Best news? Wind shouldn’t be a factor.
TEMPS: In mid-50s for the first three days, climbing into the 60s for the final round.
RAIN: None expected.
WINDS: Friday might offer the toughest winds, and of course you always have to be cognizant of the breezes coming off the ocean. Still, nothing like last year is expected.
For the latest weather news from San Diego, California, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKThis place obviously seems to like me because I got two kind of off-the-ballpark wins.
ODDS AND ENDS
1.TIGER AND NO. 1. In the first 29 rounds he played at Torrey Pines South, Tiger Woods played the par-4 opening hole at a scoring average of 3.79. But in his last 15 rounds, that average increased to 4.33. He has four double bogeys on the hole – three coming during the 2008 U.S. Open.
2.BEEF’S BACK. Unable to play last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge after coming with what he describes as a “man flu” – it’s Beef, so roll with it! – Andrew “Beef” Johnston makes his first start this week since acquiring his TOUR card last year. “Not too many expectations,” Beef said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”
3.NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. Since 2011, just one player has made the cut on the number and went on to win the TOUR event that week – Brandt Snedeker, who did it last year at the Farmers Insurance Open. He was tied for 90th after the first round, tied for 57th after the second round and then entered the final round tied for 27th, six strokes back, before shooting a 69 in tough conditions. His final round bettered the field average that day by nearly nine strokes.
4.TOUGH FAIRWAYS. In the last eight seasons, Torrey Pines South has ranked in the top 10 each year in toughest fairways to hit. Just two other courses can make that claim – Quail Hollow (which hosts the PGA Championship this year) and Trump National Doral (which is not hosting a TOUR event this year).
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