Quick look at the Farmers Insurance Open
January 22, 2020
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
PGA TOUR – The CUT
Farmers Insurance Open Preview
Tiger at Torrey – always a nice mid-January gift for PGA TOUR fans. Tiger Woods has won the Famers Insurance Open seven times (and won another tournament at Torrey Pines South in the summer of 2008. You may have heard about it). If he wins Farmers for an eighth time this week, he’ll break his tie with Sam Snead and hold the record for most career wins in TOUR history at 83. Plenty of notables hope to spoil the party, of course.
THREE PLAYERS TO PONDER
The 570-yard par-5 18th was not the easiest hole, via stroke average, at Torrey Pines South last year. But it did yield the most birdies of any hole, and it has a habit of producing dramatic moments. It can also bite players if they’re not careful. In 1975, Bruce Devlin made a 10 after finding the water – now called “Devlin’s Billabong” in front of the green. In renovating the South course, Rees Jones regarded the slope to the water and also expanded the surface area in front of the green.
Torrey Pines South Course Hole Overview
Say hello to the second hardest hole on the PGA TOUR last season – the 505-yard par-4 12th at Torrey Pines South. A year ago, it played to a stroke average of 0.387 over par; the only hole more difficult was the par-4 ninth at Sheshan International, site of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, playing to a stroke average of 0.435 over par. At the 12th last year, nearly as many double bogeys (16) were made as birdies (22). Have to hit it straight; if you don’t find the fairway, you’re probably not going to make par on this brute of a hole.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Stewart Williams: “Can’t rule out some patchy fog Thursday morning. Otherwise, off-shore flow will return Thursday through Saturday, providing partly to mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s. On-shore flow will return Saturday evening into Sunday as a trough of low pressure approaches Southern California. This will provide cooler temperatures Sunday and maybe the chance for a few light showers late Sunday night into early Monday morning.”
For the latest weather news from San Diego, check out the PGA TOUR weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKIt always feels good to be back here. It's one of my favorite venues on TOUR, South course, one of my favorite golf courses in the world. And extra special I guess after playing so well last year, me being defending champion
BY THE NUMBERS
176 under – Total score to par by Tiger Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open. It’s his best combined score in relation to par at any event he’s played on the PGA TOUR.
16 – Consecutive cuts made by Collin Morikawa, tied for the second-longest active cuts made streak on TOUR. (Tommy Fleetwood has the active longest streak at 31.)
16 – Top-10 finishes by Rory McIlroy since the start of the 2018-19 season, most of any player.
30 – Starts, including this week, by Phil Mickelson at the Farmers Insurance Open. That’s the third most in tournament history.
604 under – Mickelson’s combined score to par in California, second-best of any player in the last 37 years.
7,765 – Scorecard yardage for the South course, which is 67 yards longer than 2019 when the course was listed as the longest on TOUR last season.
South changes: Rees Jones was brought in to lead the renovations made to the South Course, which will host the 2021 U.S. Open. Among the changes:
• Rebuilding all bunkers, leveling and re-grassing all tournament tees, and re-grassing approaches and green collars
• Modifying fairway bunkers on holes 1, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 17
• Hole 4 – Tee and fairway shifted towards the cliffs; size of front greenside bunker reduced
• Hole 9 – Bunker in second landing zone brought in to act as cross bunker; new collection area added behind the green
• Hole 10 – New tournament tee added to provide yardage flexibility; fairway bunkers moved inward to create options.
• Hole 13 – New bunkers added to beginning of fairway; approach extended down the hillside
• Hole 17 – New tournament tee added along the cliff north of the existing tee; fairway and fairway bunkers shifted closer to the cliff
• Hole 18 – Front of green expanded to recapture lost surface area.
Rose post-Farmers: After winning at Torrey Pines last year, Justin Rose took a month off. In his 23 worldwide starts since, he’s failed to get back in the winner’s circle, dropping from world No. 1 at the time of his Farmers win to currently 8th. “I got into bad habits last year. I swung the club poorly,” Rose said of his last 12 months. “I took a month off after this tournament and that was essentially my offseason. Didn't do a ton of work because it was my offseason. I felt like the decision behind that was to be fresh for the majors. It just didn't play out very well, it didn't work out very well. So I was kind of learning on the fly last year about how to approach the new schedule and it just didn't work, and kind of paid for it a little bit I felt like all season long.”
Day’s back: Two-time Farmers Insurance Open champion Jason Day is making his first start since having to withdraw from the Presidents Cup due to a sore back. It was a tough decision for the Australian -- who would’ve been a key player for the International Team – but a necessary one. “Obviously it was quite disappointing to not be able to play in the Presidents Cup, especially also playing the Australian Open,” Day said. “I was actually looking forward to going down there and playing there. Every time I would watch the Presidents Cup coverage, I was angry. I had to go up to the barn to kind of either ride or do some sort of exercise to get some frustration out because I really wanted to be there. But the rehab that I needed to do, I needed some time off.”