The Farmers Insurance Open Predictions
Dates: February 5th-8th
Course: Torrey Pines GC South San Diego, CA
TV: CBS/The Golf Channel
by Evergreen, Pro Golf Bettor, Predictem.com
There are precious few weeks on the sports calendar that do not belong to the NFL, MLB or NBA but this week is one of the them and that lets the PGA Tour take a little more of the center stage. That spotlight is a bit brighter when the top golfers in the world tee it up and The Farmers Insurance Open has a lot of big names with big storylines attached. Tiger Woods, an eight-time Torrey Pines champ, plays again and looks to erase his horrific showing last week that included a second round 82. Phil Mickelson, also a cut victim last week, is out to prove he can still be relevant on Tour and Dustin Johnson will be making his first start since taking personal leave last summer. Johnson is a new father and has apparently put many personal demons behind him. None of those three golfers are really expected to do much on the course given their recent Tour histories but they are certainly noteworthy participants this week. Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day highlight a very strong field and all are looking to get up and running with the Masters just a few months away.
Torrey Pines has a rich history with the PGA Tour dating back to the days of the San Diego Open. The South Course at Torrey was famously the host of the 2008 U.S. Open that saw Tiger take on Rocco Mediate in a playoff and the Open returns to this venue in 2021. Woods has all but owned this course over the last decade with the occasional journeyman pro sneaking in a win here and there. The South Course is a typical sea-side layout that measures 7,600 yards and play at par-72. As with any ocean course, the winds, both prevailing and daily, will play a large part in shaping the course of the event. Players will need both skill and imagination to negotiate changes that will come from day to day and perhaps hour to hour. Scores are often moderate to low with a single digit under par winning total as the most likely outcome. A solid short game is in order this week as well as many of the green complexes feature tough up and down challenges and the par-5s are long enough to require three shots from the majority of the field.
Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight the players that we think are good bets to win. We make some picks for the outright victory and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any online betting site. We got on the board in a big way last week by correctly selecting Brooks Koepka (40 to 1) to win the Phoenix Open. Here are our picks for the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open.
Jason Day (14 to 1 odds to win)
Day will be teeing it up for the first time since the Hawaii events where he went T3 and T17. He ran T2 here last year and leads the Tour with 77% greens hit in the early going. Day finished last year in the top-20 in distance and can finish things off on the greens with the 18thbest total putting stat. Remarkably, Day did not miss a putt under 3-feet all last season and while he will certainly see that streak come to an end at some point, it suggests that he has his nerves in order. Despite a pedestrian birdie average Jason turned in the 8thbest scoring average last year and he routinely makes the most out of his rounds. Torrey South punishes mistakes so you want a guy that can limit the damage.
Bill Haas (28 to 1)
Haas is the winner of the first Cali event this season after his stellar play at the Humana just a few weeks ago. He could see another win in the early going as he has been close here before with three straight T14 or better finishes entering the week. Haas is a grinder with a top-15 greens hit percentage and standout scrambling stats. He putted well enough last year to net the 7thmost birdies overall and there isnt much that this even-keel pro hasnt seen. Like Day, Haas is good at making the most of his scoring and should be hanging around the front page come Sunday.
Chris Kirk (40 to 1)
Tiger and Phil have won 12 times in the last two decades so it is a bit hard to determine what type of player does well here but stats show that steady players with good putters fare better than boom and bust golfers. Kirk has made the cut in all five of his starts this year with three top-20 finishes and has made the cut in both of his career Farmers starts. He finished 2014 as the 22ndranked putter in terms of strokes gained and is inside the top-15 in both one-putt percentage and putts per round.He is a solid but unspectacular player overall and that is exactly what you want with a course that will test every facet of a golfers game over four days. Koepka brought a nice 40 to 1 payday last week, lets see if we can make it two in a row.
Nick Watney (66 to 1)
It is always nice to see a former champion when looking for that longshot bet and that is exactly what Watney is. Nick won the 2009 Buick at Torrey Pines and despite missing the cut, he has two more top-10 finishes here since his win. Watney is a strong ballstriker, finishing 15thin that category last year, combining top-30 marks in both driving and greens hit.Nick is a streaky putter but he has nice finishes at the Humana and McGladreys already so the putter is at least trending in the right direction.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win matches are based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Justin Rose v. Rickie Fowler (pick to win: Rose)
Fowler couldnt keep his hot streak going from last year and scuffled to a T46 last week. That makes him ripe for the picking against a very steady Rose. A small but short backslide for Rickie seems reasonable given how tremendous he played to finish the season so it makes sense to bet against Fowler while it appears that he is finding his groove. Rose has advantages in greens hit and scoring average despite fewer birdies per round than Fowler. Again, Torrey South is demanding, so you want to go with the more consistent player and that is Rose for now.
Phil Mickelson v. Brooks Koepka (pick to win: Koepka)
If you are just tuning in, we have been telling you that Phil is a bad bet against literally everyone and we havent been wrong. His missed cut last week paid on 11 of the 12 advertised head to heads I could find involving Lefty and he was spared the goose egg by another player missing the cut for a pushed bet. This happened to Vijay Singh a few years ago and this is honestly the best bet in golf right now. Mickelson will continue to be put up against golfers with big names simply because of past accolades, not his current ones. The books have gotten it a little more correctly with a Koepka pairing this week but Brooks has gone T8, T4, win in his last three starts to move even with Phil in the world rank. The stats round out about even for Torrey but is there any indication that Phil is going to get it moving in the right direction this week? I cant see that. Keep betting against Phil until he proves you wrong.
Check back weekly for my previews and picks of all major PGA tournaments! Good luck and good golf!