We are at Torrey Pines this week, arguably Tiger Woods’ favorite and best non-major golf course. Unfortunately, the seven-time winner of this tournament will not be in the field for the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open after going through a fifth back procedure. Though, we have a couple of multi-time winners including Phil Mickelson in the field this week, who has won three times, and two-time champions Brandt Snedeker and Jason Day.

While the winning scores are lower, we haven’t had many playoffs in recent editions. Out of the last eight Farmers Insurance Opens, only been three have been decided in a playoff, so don’t expect one this year.

Also, this won’t be the only time this season that we will see Torrey Pines. In June, the USGA will host the U.S. Open for just the second time in its history. The last time it was held at Torrey Pines, Tiger Woods won in an 18-hole Monday playoff with a torn ACL.

Television Coverage

Round One

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 12:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

Golf Channel: 3:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

Round Two

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 12:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

Golf Channel: 3:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

Round Three

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 10:30 AM EST

Golf Channel: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM EST

CBS: 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST

Round Four

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 10:30 AM EST

Golf Channel: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM EST

CBS: 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST

Players to Watch at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

These players are the top five favorites to win at Torrey Pines this week. (Odds are courtesy of MGM as of January 26th).

Jon Rahm (+650)

With only one start in 2021, the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open champion enters the week with three straight top 10 finishes at the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions, the 2020 Masters and the 2020 ZOZO Champions @ Sherwood. Rahm is the favorite this week and there is no question why. After his 2017 win, he finished tied for fifth in 2019 and solo second in the 2020 edition of the tournament. While it is difficult to take the favorite to win a golf tournament, I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a two-time champion.

Rory McIlroy (+900)

Rory McIlroy is making his 2021 PGA Tour debut this week after finishing tied fifth in his last start at the 2020 Masters. McIlroy finished tied fifth in 2019 and tied third in 2020, giving him confidence that he is able to win at this venue. He also finished with a disappointing third place finish last week on the European Tour after entering the final round with the lead but failing to finish with a win.

Xander Schauffele (+1200)

Despite Schauffele coming into the week with five straight top 25 finishes, including a tied fifth finish at the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Schauffele has been unable to find much success at Torrey Pines. Schauffele finished tied for twenty-fifth place in 2019 at this tournament but missed the cut in 2018 and 2020. Look for Schauffele to make it to the weekend this week, but I believe he is a longer shot to win than his odds seem.

Tony Finau (+1800)

Are we really doing this again? I like Tony Finau, but I don’t see him winning this week with such a strong field. If you think Finau will compete, take him to finish in the top 10 at +175 or, if you can find it, top 20 at -125. I’m more comfortable with these than him winning the tournament.

Harris English (+2200)

Harris English is on an under-the-radar hot streak. Since the start of the 2020-21 season, English has finished in the top 10 in five of his last eight starts in traditional tournaments, including a win at the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions. He also finished with a win at the QBE Shootout, but I did not count that in traditional starts as it was a team event with a smaller field. English can have a good week if his streak continues, but he has a mixed history at this tournament. In 2018, he finish tied eighth, missed the cut in 2019, and tied for 71st in 2020.

The Course

During tournament play, Torrey Pines will use both its North Course and South Course on Thursday and Friday. On the weekend, the South Course will be used as its championship course.

The North Course plays as a par-72 course and includes four par-fives, four par-threes, and the rest par-fours.

The South Course is also a par-72 course. It includes the same amount of par-threes, par-fours, and par-fives as the North Course. Though, because the South Course is used on Sunday, it includes some classic finishes on the par-five 18th hole.

With water in front of the green, players will need to decide to lay-up short of the water or go long and risk a difficult shot from behind the green.

The latter is one that Jon Rahm is familiar with and needed to address in the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open final round.

Weather

Picks and Predictions

Pick of the Week: Sungjae Im (+3300)

As I said earlier, it is difficult to predict the winner of a tournament, especially with such a strong field. Though, I like Sungjae Im to win his second career tournament this week; his first was the 2020 Honda Classic just prior to COVID pausing the season. After a tied second finish at the 2020 Masters and a tied fifth at the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Im had the lead heading into the weekend at the American Express but struggled on Saturday and ruined his chances. I like Im to somehow find his way to the winner’s circle this week.

Bet of the Week: Brandt Snedeker Top 10 Finish (+1200)

Here are his best finishes in this tournament’s recent history:

  • 2020: Tied Third
  • 2017: Tied Ninth
  • 2016: Win
  • 2015: Tied Nineteenth
  • 2013: Tied Second
  • 2012: Win
  • 2010: Tied Second

While 2018 and 2019 were not great finishes, he has a history of playing well at Torrey Pines.

Score Prediction: 17-Under Par

The last four winning scores for this tournament include 15, 21, 10, and 13-under par. There have been better scores and worse scores, but I expect the winner to go low this week. I guess we’ll find out.

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Hunter Brown
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Hunter Brown

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