The Farmers Insurance Open, a tournament that always seems to have big faces in it, a tournament where Tiger Woods has won 6 times and Phil Mickelson also has 3 wins to his name. The tournament is played at one of golfs favoured settings, Torrey Pines. Torrey Pines’ South Course was used as a major venue as recently as 2008 when it was the course of choice for the U.S Open, where Tiger Woods also won! Tiger won that U.S Open arguably on one leg. That year he had arthroscopic surgery, during the U.S Open itself woods was playing through a double stress fracture, and still managed to complete an 18 hole play-off with Rocco Mediate, to then go on and beat him on the sudden death 19th hole. So it’s fair to say Woods likes this course.
With all that in mind I’m not here to advise you to be on Tiger or Mickelson, both players have a strong record here but both also come in at short prices, Woods being the market leader at 7/1 and Mickelson 18/1 a price which probably doesn’t represent his current form. I am here to talk you through players who I believe on current form and past record form can beat these two to the title as the last time Tiger won here was 2008 and Mickelson’s last win came in 2001!
The course: Or should I say courses, The Farmers Insurance Open, similar to last weeks Humana Challenge is played on different courses, this time though only over two, North and South. Both courses are played at par 72, however the South Course is roughly 700 yards longer. The South Course stretches 7,569 yards, the North Course comes in at 6,874 yards.
Defending champion: Brandt Snedeker. Snedeker kicked off his fantastic 2012 season with a win here, at the tournament where he also jointly holds the course record (North Course) with a 61 in 2007. This is an event where he has enjoyed a nice run of form with his last three finishes being 1st, T9 and T2, all of those on top of his T2 in 2007 finishing second only to Tiger.
With all this taken into account I look this week to greatly improve on last weeks performance and help as many of you as I can make some profit. The unpredictability of the last two events can only lead to more excitement, as you don’t quite know where a winner can come from next, be it a rookie or a player who picked up their first win in three years. I hope that I can help find that player so here are my tips for the week ahead!
Nick Watney 25/1 (BlueSQ) 22/1 (SkyBet) 1pt e/w: Apart from a poor performance last year, Watney has shown great form at this tournament, winning it in 2009 Watney then followed that up with a T9 in 2010 and T6 in 2011. Watney sparked back into life at the tail end of last season winning The Barclays which kicks off the playoffs for the FedEX CUP and also weighed in with a win at the CIMB Classic. Apart from his wins, he posted a 8th place finish at Wells Fargo and a 10th place in the AT&T National. Watney likes to show up when surrounded by top players and this week certainly gives him that opportunity. He will be attempting to put the disappointment of not being involved in the Ryder Cup in Medinah and warm up nicely for the majors ahead.
Rickie Fowler 28/1 (General) 1pt e/w: For me Rickie Fowler is one of the most exciting players on tour and potentially one of the most talented. Getting his first win last season has lifted a big burden from him and he can now start to express himself and prove why he should be mentioned up there with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley. All of these guys have one thing in common, excitement. They all cause it wherever they go, they can all shoot incredibly low and this week I think it can be one of those weeks for Rickie. Towards the end of last season it came to light that Fowler had been nursing a bad back and eventually had to take some time off, which would be a major factor as to why he would not be chosen to represent U.S.A at the Ryder Cup. He has however seemingly moved on from that finishing off the year nicely at the World Challenge in a tie for 4th. Rickie has kicked off 2013 with a T6 at the Hyundai TOC back in Week 1 and will hope to build on that. Fowler has finished in the Top 20 in all of his last 3 attempts most notably his T5 in 2010. He also made the cut as an amateur here in his first ever major the 2008 US Open, so he’s not far away from fond memories.
John Rollins 50/1 (General) 1pt e/w: Rollins is a player that is overlooked, mainly due to the fact that he has not won on tour since 2009. Reading that you may ask yourself, “Why is he being tipped”. One word will describe this guy… Nearly. Rollins often comes close to winning and that is why he stays at a good price to win, offering solid e/w value. Apart from coming 3rd here last year, he has also finished 2nd to Watney in 2009 and T4 in 2006 so he clearly likes to play golf here! He went on from his 3rd here from last year to come T8 the following week in the Waste Management Phoenix and also two more impressive performances T7 in the Zurich Open and T4 in the Travelers Championship. Rollins has started the season fairly well comfortably making two cuts both in the top 25. He will be keen to finally get back in the winners circle and I cannot see a tournament better suited to him than this one!
Stewart Cink 100/1 (General) 1pt e/w: A man with a lot to prove. After winning The Open in 2009 Cink has definitely struggled but this is mainly down to a swing change he attempted. He believed, like many others do that since winning his major he had to improve even more, and to improve he felt he needed to add draw to his game. Swing changes have proved a problem for some great players in recent history, most notably Padraig Harrington and Martin Kaymer. Cink has admitted himself that he needs to go back to a simple approach after declining to as low as No. 333 in the World Rankings. Last weeks performance has proved that he has still got it, finishing -21 in a tie for 10th. He will be looking to gain confidence from that and further that here at a tournament where last year he finished in T13 and in 2008 posted his best result of T3. Cink has never been dominant in this tournament but with the signs from last week showing that he might get back to somewhere near his best 100/1 might be his biggest price for a while. He has a long way to go to get back to the form that has seen him finish in the top 3 of all four majors, but hopefully he can take another big step here this week.
Qatar Masters tips:
Victor Dubuisson: Top 10 Finish 7/1 1pt (William Hill)
Thorbjorn Olesen: 25/1 (General) 1pt e/w
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: 40/ (General) 1 pt e/w
Total points staked 13
Profit/Loss for 2013: -10
Good luck to all readers this week, I hope as always you have enjoyed reading and would love to hear any feedback or results from this week on my Twitter @TomJacobs8