This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Farmers Insurance Open
- Torrey Pines South (7,765 yards, par 72) - Host Course
- Torrey Pines North (7,258 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,512,000 and 500 FedExCup points
In an effort to avoid any conflict with NFL championship Sunday, the PGA Tour decided to start the Farmers Insurance Open on Wednesday and get a Saturday evening finish. That will mean a quick turnaround for all the players in the field who played at The American Express, but also mean an extra day for a number of top ranked players to make the trip overseas for next week's highly controversial Saudi International.
Torrey Pines has played host to this event since 1968. We have seen a number of dramatic finishes over the years that come down to the risk/reward par-5 18th hole on Sunday. The last time we saw Torrey Pines, however, wasn't the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, it was Jon Rahm wrapping up his first major championship win at last summer's U.S. Open with some insanely clutch putts. Rahm will be back in the field this week as he looks to notch his second win in this event after breaking through for his first official PGA Tour win back in the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. It's not just World No. 1 in the field this week, joining him will be some star-studded talent that includes Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Brooks Koepka. San Diego natives Xander Schauffele and Phil Mickelson will no doubt get a lot of support from the home fans as well. The leader in the FedExCup race Hideki Matsuyama will look to pick up his third victory of the season.
Players will get a round at both the South Course and North Course before a 36-hole cut is made and those players take on the South Course for the final two rounds on Friday and Saturday. The North Course has undergone a lot of changes over the last handful of years to try to toughen it up for the professionals. While it isn't the pushover it was in the past, it will still be important for players to take advantage of their one round on the North Course to set themselves up for the rest of the week. The South Course is an absolute beasts and one of the most difficult regular PGA Tour stops on the schedule.
The weather forecast this week looks fantastic once again. Temperatures should top out in the upper 60's and the wind is not expected to be as big of a factor as we have seen in past years at this event. There should be plenty of sunshine, but an early morning fog delay should not come as a surprise to anyone.
2021 – Patrick Reed (-14)
2020 – Marc Leishman (-15)
2019 – Justin Rose (-21)
2018 – Jason Day (-10)
2017 – Jon Rahm (-13)
2016 – Brandt Snedeker (-6)
2015 – Jason Day (-9)
2014 – Scott Stallings (-9)
2013 – Tiger Woods (-14)
2012 – Brandt Snedeker (-16)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Off-the-Tee
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Approach
Torrey Pines is one of, if not the most demanding driving course on the PGA Tour. With the South Course approaching 7,800 yards and fairways that are well bunkered and lined with thick rough, length will be a massive advantage. There will be a lot of missed fairways regardless of your length, but if you can get it up there as far as possible it will give you a better chances to potentially hold these greens on approach. Even when you do hit the short grass, the approaches can be very challenging. A lot of the targets to particular hole locations are very small and feature a steep penalty for a wayward shot. Putting on these poa annua greens is always very difficult, especially when we get late in the afternoon. Well struck putts are often at the mercy of the humps and bumps on these surfaces as to whether or not they fall. The biggest key is just going to be putting for birdies as many times as possible, rather than for par or worse. Players will have to stay patient on and around the greens, but be locked in with their ball striking if they want to have a chance to win come Saturday afternoon.
FanDuel Value Picks
Jon Rahm ($12,200)
Taking the best driver in the game at a course demands you to drive the ball well is just common sense. Rahm was unhappy with the setup at last week's American Express en route to a T14 finish because he thought it was too much of a putting contest. Well there will be no such putting contest at Torrey Pines this week. Rahm's record here is as good as anyone not named Tiger Woods with two wins, and a total of five top-7 finishes in six career starts at Torrey Pines, which includes the previously mentioned 2021 U.S. Open.
Bryson DeChambeau ($11,600)
When DeChambeau made the turn in the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open he was very much in the hunt for his second major of the season. Unfortunately, the back nine at Torrey Pines was one to forget, as he shot an eight-over 44 coming home and fell outside the top 25. Neverthless, because of DeChambeau's length he is just too enticing of an option to pass up around this particular setup with his improved iron play and continual steady putting.
Sam Burns ($11,200)
Burns is another long hitter who has struck the ball as good as anyone this season. He ranks eighth in SG: Approach, third in SG: Tee-to-Green, 19th in driving accuracy, 11th in GIR percentage, and third in total driving. Burns is also 13th in scrambling and seventh in birdie average. He is five-for-five in terms of top-20 finishes this season including his second PGA Tour win at the Sanderson Farms.
Tony Finau ($11,100)
Finau has played the Farmers Insurance Open seven times and has never finished outside the top 25. His run at Torrey Pines includes four top-6 finishes most recently in the form of a runner-up last January. Finau has struggled a bit this season after breaking through at the end of last season with a win at the Northern Trust. He still is as long as anyone off the tee and has always been a DFS favorite due to his ability to pile up birdies and eagles.
Longer Shots with Value
Keegan Bradley ($9,600)
Torrey Pines has been one of Bradley's better stops on the PGA Tour. He's gone 8-for-10 here with six top-25s and a pair of top-5 finishes. His success here given how great of a ball striker he has been over the years. In six starts this season, Bradley ranks 16th in SG: Tee-to-Green and fifth in proximity to the hole. He is coming off a T12 in his last start at Waialae.
Aaron Wise ($9,400)
Wise will be making his first start of 2022 after putting together a really strong fall portion of the schedule. He finished top-26 in all five starts, including a pair of top-10s at the Shriners Open and CJ Cup in Las Vegas. Wise is another great ball striker than ranks fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green, and he is also 15th in putts per GIR and 28th in scrambling.
Luke List ($9,100)
List picked up his fifth top-25 of the season last week in La Quinta. Now he will take on a course that should suit his skill set even better. List ranks fifth in SG: Off-the-Tee and 23rd in GIR percentage. The 37-year-old is also top-20 this season in both SG: Around-the-Green and scoring average. List owns top-12 finishes at Torrey Pines in two of his last four starts.
Henrik Norlander ($8,200)
Norlander's problem last season was how many cuts he missed, but he has started off this campaign by making seven-of-eight cuts. The Swede has ranked top-25 each of the last two seasons in driving accuracy and GIR percentage. Norlander scored a runner-up finish at Torrey Pines last season after ranking second in SG: Tee-to-Green and T6 in GIR percentage.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
After three straight weeks of players tearing up the courses to start 2022, we should see the best in the world have to work a little harder this week for their birdies. You can't fake it around Torrey Pines and expect to score well like you might have been able to at say Kapalua. Your ball striking will have to be very strong, which is why all the players I've featured in the value picks are known first and foremost to how solidly they can strike it and also get it out there a ways. I'd avoid guys like Jason Day or Brandt Snedeker, who do have really good records at Torrey Pines, but neither is hitting it well at all right now. If you're looking for some bargain bin options to potentially round out a lineup I might have a look at Adam Svensson ($7,900), J.J. Spaun ($7,700), and Matthew NeSmith ($7,500).