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Farmers Insurance Open Preview

What: Farmers Insurance Open
Where: Torrey Pines GC, San Diego, California. North and South courses used for first and second halves of the tournament.
When: January 25th – 28th
Defending Champion: Jon Rahm
FedEx Cup Points: 500

Two weeks ago, we were treated to a six-hole playoff between Patton Kizzire and James Hahn, and just this past week we saw Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry battle it out through four playoff holes. Jon Rahm took the victory with an incredible score of 22-under. He has now jumped to No. 2 in the world on the OWGR.

Last week’s picks

Top Picks:

Rahm: WIN
Kizzire: T42
Harman: T20

Second Tier:

Mickelson: CUT
Simpson: T36
Reed: CUT

Third Tier:

Reavie: T36
Dufner: T36
Cauley: T14


Hahn: T36
Lingmerth: T57
Streelman: T29

And here is where the bragging comes out for the first time this season. We had a top pick with a win and only two cuts missed out of 12 selections. Between the third tier and sleeper picks, all six golfers were in the top-60.

This week, we will see Tiger Woods return. This is the same tournament where Jon Rahm earned his first victory on TOUR last season. If Rahm were to pull out the victory this week, he would defend the championship for this tournament and notch victories in back-to-back weeks. He would also take over the top spot on the OWGR.

This event marks the biggest purse so far in 2018. At $6.9 million, it’s also the biggest purse on TOUR since the November 9th OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

Torrey Pines featured a new North Course design last year, so players who appeared in this tournament last year could be at a slight advantage. This course also features long and straight fairways with not-so-friendly rough. Long driver and iron hitters should be favored here, with important stats being strokes gained: off-the-tee, tee-to-green, and something that is important at every stop — strokes gained: putting. Seeing who can hit greens in regulation from specific yardage out should also be atop the leaderboard.

Top Picks

Jon Rahm – Rahm is on absolute fire. There is no way he isn’t at the top of your salary league selections this week. Doubts about his maturity and being able to perform on big stages are nearly all but gone; this guy does it all. Last week marked his third straight finish of second place or better. He won this event last year, his first ever tournament victory.

Justin RoseA win per month over the last three months around the world, Rose is coming off a T4 here last year. He had a run of 10 straight top-10s come to an end after he finished 22nd at the Abu Dhabi. A great all around golfer, he will look to start his 2018 on TOUR on the right foot.

Marc Leishman – Leishman has a runner-up finish here in 2010 and 2014. Through three rounds here last year, he was T5, but he ended up finishing T20. Leishman owns a win and another five top-10s around the world, plus a great long-iron game.

Second Tier

Rickie Fowler – Here’s what Fowler accomplished last fall: a T4 at Kapalua, a runner-up at Mayakoba, and that Hero World Challenge win. The fact that Fowler has made one cut here over the last four years is mind-boggling when you consider how good his driver is. He did have four top-20 finishes in his first four career appearances here, however. The fact that he didn’t make the trip to the Abu Dhabi this year should bode well for his chances this weekend.

Jason Day – From 2013-2005, Day has finished T9, T2, and recorded a victory at Torrey Pines. Day hasn’t finished outside of the top-25 at a tournament since last year’s British Open. He is coming off a fifth place finish in Australia back in November.

Hideki Matsuyama – Incredible ball-striking abilities with a hit-and-miss driver and putter makes Hideki one of the most up-and-down players on TOUR. However, he owns four top-5s in his last five starts and has finished T18 and T32 here in four starts with two cuts. Ranked seventh place in strokes gained: tee-to-green, Hideki is always a threat.

Third Tier

Tony Finau – One of the longest hitters off the tee on TOUR, Finau has a T18, T24, and a T4 in his three trips here. He has three top-20s this season already, an amazing 18 straight cuts made, and is currently ninth in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Finau is practically built for this course.

Gary Woodland – Woodland is a safety-blanket pick here, as he has never missed a cut at Torrey Pines in eight starts. He has three top-20s over the his last four appearances here, and he started off his 2018 well with a T7 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Brian Harman – This will be Harman’s sixth appearance at Torrey Pines. He is coming off a T9 last year, which is his best finish. He had a streak of five straight top-8s that ended with a T20 last week. He currently sits in 11th place on TOUR in strokes gained: putting.


Francesco Molinari – Molinari is not a long hitter, but he keeps the ball insanely straight. He had a T14 at Torrey Pines in 2017 and is coming off an eighth-place finish at the Hero World Challenge. Even without winning on TOUR in 2017, he had a very underrated campaign.

Patrick Cantlay – This is Cantlay’s first appearance here since being cut in 2013. Torrey Pines actually fits nicely into Cantlay’s game. He hasn’t finished below 20th in seven consecutive starts on TOUR and ranks seventh in strokes gained: off-the-tee. Cantlay has a victory and two other T15s so far this season.

Charles Howell III – The 2017 runner-up here who lost out to Rahm by three strokes also has runner-up finishes here in 2005 and 2007. Howell III has already put up four top-20s this season, with a T20 at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

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