The PGA Tour travels down the Californian coast this week to Torrey Pines in San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open. Tiger Woods makes his 2011 debut while Ben Crane defends the title.
This tournament began life as the San Diego Open way back in 1927 and, until 2009, it was known as the Buick Invitational. In that guise it was won six times by Tiger Woods.
The tournament is contested over the two courses at Torrey Pines – North and South. Players will play one round on each on Thursday and Friday before those who make the cut go on to play the last two rounds over the South Course. Revamped for the 2002 Buick Invitational, the South Course at Torrey Pines was the venue for the 2008 US Open.
San Diego native Phil Mickelson will be making his 21st consecutive appearance in his tournament. He’s won on three occasions (1993, 2000 and 2001) and finished in the top-five seven times.
Last season Ben Crane held on for a narrow one-shot victory over Michael Sim, Brandt Snedeker and Marc Leishman.
Venue: Torrey Pines Golf Course, California
Date: Jan 27-30
Course stats: North Course – par 72, 6,874 yards; South Course – par 72, 7,569 yards
Purse: $5,800,000, Winner: $954,000
Defending Champion: Ben Crane (-13)
Thursday 27 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 28 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Sunday 30 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Tiger Woods – The former World Number 1 will make his 2011 debut in this event, expect him to come out firing. He’s won this tournament six times and he won the 2008 US Open over the South Course playing on a broken leg. It’s tough to look past him.
Rickie Fowler – He lives close by so will have a relaxed build up to the event. He was tied for fifth in his Torrey Pines debut last season and will look to better that this time out.
Martin Laird – The Scot played a poor final round last week at the Bob Hope having been in contention after 72 holes. He had recorded three straight top-5 finishes prior to that event.
Key hole: 12th. A monster par 4 of 504 yards, bunkers wait left and right for both drive and approach shot. When the wind blows hard against, some players will struggle to reach the putting surface in two shots. It ranked as the hardest hole on the course in 2010.
Skills required: Beating the locals. 10 of the last 14 tournaments have been won by South California natives.