Farmers Insurance Open
Dates: January 2730, 2011
Course: Torrey Pines (North and South) La Jolla, CA
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Betting Handicapper, Predictem.com
The PGA Tour season is nearly a month old, but it will seem like the opening event at this weeks Farmers Insurance Open as there will be no NFL Football to go up against and we will also see the 2011 debuts of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Yes, Tiger and Phil are set to tee it off at Torrey Pines and the duo owns nine championships from this event, formerly the Buick Invitational, with Tiger looking to regain the stranglehold he has had at Torrey Pines over the last decade. The Golf Channel will cover the early round action with CBS picking up the weekend finish.
The storyline will almost certainly focus on Woods attempt to re-establish himself as a winner on Tour and as the best golfer in the world. Tiger is now third in the Official World Golf Rankings and his hunt to return to the top spot will surely be chronicled all year. He picks a very familiar track to make his traditional debut and one that has historically had him in the winners circle more times than not.
Torrey Pines North and South will be used this week and each provides a different challenge to the players. The North is the easier of the two, ranking 44th out of the 52 courses in the 2010 rotation in terms of difficulty and is the significantly shorter track at 6,874 yards. The South ranked 16th in difficulty last year and measures over 7,500 yards with tougher greens and more sand. Still, scores can be had at the South with the course record of 62 coming in 1999 amidst one of Tigers wins. Those starting on the North will have to get off to a good start to avoid having to make up ground on the South and look for a lot of movement on the leaderboards in the opening rounds.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think have the goods to win it all. We give you a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a few head to head matches that youd likely find at any betting site. Here are our picks for the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open.
Short Favorite: Nick Watney (20 to 1 odds to win)
20 to 1 is about as high as we go for our short pick, but Tiger and Phil tend to skew the odds a bit and Watney is probably the 3rd to 5th shortest odds play this week overall. That makes him high on value as well with the 2009 champion adding a T9 last year to prove he can handle Torrey Pines. Nick is coming off a strong 2010 season that saw eight top-10 finishes and his game has no apparent holes as evidenced by a top-10 ranking in the all around stat. Watney finished the year 20th in driving distance and was one of the best finishers on Tour with the 4th best birdie average.
Middle of the Road: Rickie Fowler (22 to 1 odds to win)
A rookie of the year campaign that produced seven top-10s, including a T5 here, landed Fowler on the Ryder Cup team and on the map as one of the up and coming players on Tour. Rickie should continue his success and improve with experience, which can only mean more top-10s and likely the first wins of his career. Fowler is exceptional off the tee, ranking 24th in total driving and scored the 14th most birdies total in 2010 play. He is a strong ballstriker for his age, finishing the year ranked 13th and some overall seasoning should make him a consistent contender week in and week out.
Longshot: Brandt Snedeker (50 to 1 odds to win)
50 to 1 is a great value for the runner-up in 2010 and Brandt also has a third place finish in 2007 that included a North Course record round of 61. Snedeker did miss the cut last week at the Hope, but he did get it to 9-under at the scorefest, so it wasnt as if he was all over the place. Brandt s game is suited well for Torrey Pines with a top-25 ranks in total driving and greens hit along with the 10th best ballstriking stat from last year. The putter killed his scoring average last year but if he did the work in the offseason or just gets hot this week, the rest of the game should be there to produce a run at the leaders.
Head to Head Matches (all matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite offshore sportsbook for single round matches and proposition bets.)
Hunter Mahan (-115) v. Justin Rose (-115) Our pick: Mahan
You probably last saw Mahan chili dip away the Americans shot at the Ryder Cup, but that really shouldnt sway you from betting a player of his caliber. Mahan has the advantage over Rose off the tee and into the greens which should be enough to equalize Roses advantage on the greens. Torrey Pines rewards good shots and Mahan is almost 80 spots ahead of Rose in ballstriking.
Anthony Kim (-115) v. Ryuji Imada (-115) Our pick: Kim
Kim missed most of 2010 with a thumb injury and is likely still rounding into shape but he should have enough to be favored in this match. Both golfers have very similar ranks from 2010 play yet Kim managed to outscore Imada despite being the lesser putter and battling the injury. A full bounce-back will probably take at least a month or so for Kim, but hes a good bet here.