The PGA Tour stays in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla. Seven-time winner Tiger Woods is the defending champion at the course where he claimed the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg.
Woods will start this week as favourite. Not only has he won this event seven times and taken the U.S. Open over the South Course, but he has also finished this tournament in the top-10 five further times, and has the South Course record of 62.
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, last season, Tiger added a seventh title to his CV. He finished four clear of Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater.
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.
San Diego’s Phil Mickelson will be making his 25th appearance in his tournament. He’s won on three occasions (1993, 2000 and 2001,) and will be hoping for more success having finished second in Abu Dhabi last week.
The weather should hold this week, although there’s a chance of morning fog.
Venue: Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California
Date: Jan 23-26
Course stats: South Course – par 72, 7,569 yards; North Course – par 72, 6,874 yards
Purse: $6,100,000 Winner: $1,098,000
Defending Champion: Tiger Woods (-14)
Thursday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 25 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Tiger and Phil will be big favourites this week, but who else might make a play for the title?
Brandt Snedeker – He won this event in 2012, has twice been runner-up (including last year) and third once.
Bill Haas – Another man with a great record at Torrey Pines, Haas has finished in the top-10 here on each of his last three starts. He was tied sixth last week in the Humana Challenge.
Brian Stuard – One of the PGA Tour’s form players, he’s had three straight top-six finishes. He could spring a surprise this week.
Key hole: 12th. A monster par 4 of 477 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 and Bubba Watson have also won.
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