The PGA Tour heads for San Diego this week where Jason Day defends the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines GC. Abu Dhabi champ Rickie Fowler also starts.
This tournament began life as the San Diego Open way back in 1927 and from 1996 to 2009, it was known as the Buick Invitational. In that guise it was won six times by Tiger Woods. Since 2010, Farmers Insurance has been the title sponsor and Tiger won again here in 2013. Woods also won the U.S. Open over the South Course at Torrey Pines, playing on a broken leg in 2008. Woods is currently out indefinitely with injury so won’t be a factor at Torrey Pines this year.
San Diego’s Phil Mickelson will be. He’s making his 26th appearance in this tournament. He’s won on three occasions (1993, 2000 and 2001) and will be hoping to build on a strong tied third place finish at La Quinta last week.
In last year’s tournament Jason Day came through a four-man playoff to win. The Australian saw off J.B. Holmes, Scott Stallings and Harris English.
Jason Day defends the Farmers Insurance Open this week and is hoping to become the fourth back-to-back winner in the history of the event – the others being J.C. Snead, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
Day will face strong competition from the likes of Rickie Fowler, who won in Abu Dhabi last week and Brandt Snedeker, who lost a playoff for the Sony Open in Hawaii two weeks ago.
Rickie Fowler slow-mo swings:
Other likely contenders include Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Dustin Johnson of the USA and Ireland’s Shane Lowry.
The tournament is contested over the two courses at Torrey Pines – North and South. The pros 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.
The weather forecast looks reasonable for the first three days in San Diego but things could take a turn for the worse on Sunday. There’s a good chance of rain and high winds – it could be one for the battlers.
Venue: Torrey Pines GC (South), San Diego, California
Date: Jan 27-30
Course stats: South – par 72, 7,698 yards; North – par 72, 7,052 yards
Purse: $6,500,000 Winner: $1,170,000
Defending Champion: Jason Day (-9)
Thursday 28 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 30 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 31 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
All eyes will be on Jason, Rickie, Phil and DJ this week. Who might fly in under the radar?
Marc Leishman – The Australian has twice been tied second in this event. He hasn’t started 2016 brilliantly, but this event could provide the springboard he needs.
Jamie Lovemark – He’s a powerful player and that’s a big bonus at Torrey Pines. He’s on great form with three top-10 finishes in his last three starts.
Scott Stallings – A long shot give current form, but he loves this venue. He was the champion in 2014 and then lost in a playoff for the event last year: A real horse for this course.
Key hole: 12th (South.) A monster par 4 of 504 yards, bunkers wait left and right for both drive and approach shot. If the wind blows hard against, some players will struggle to reach the putting surface in two shots.
Skills required: Power hitting. Over the years it’s been the Tour’s longest hitters who have enjoyed success at Torrey Pines – Tiger’s won seven times and Mickelson three. Nick Watney, John Daly, Bubba Watson and Jason Day have also won here.