Farmers Insurance Open

Farmers Insurance Open

Farmers Insurance Open

It was a disappointing week for us at the American Express as three of our six picks missed the cut while the other three just made two many mistakes to get in to serious contention.

Our best performer was Andrew Putnam who put in a strong overall week to finish 14th but again he just threw in too many bogeys alongside plenty of birdies.

The event as a whole was won by Hudson Swafford who in landing his second American Express title showed again that when in the hunt he can produce all the clutch shots that are needed to close out a win. That’s three tour titles now for the Georgia Bulldog and you would expect more to follow.

So, with the American Express behind us for another year we move on, and for its second week of the West Coast swing the PGA Tour heads about 80 miles South West in California from La Quinta to La Jolla, San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open.

The Farmers Insurance Open originally graced the PGA Tour as the San Diego Open way back in 1952.
In 1981 title sponsors were added to the tournament and after a succession of different sponsors Buick took over as lead sponsor in 1992. They then continued in this role until 2010 at which point Farmers took over.

After being held at a few different courses over the early years the event landed at Torrey Pines in 1968 and there it has remained to the present day.

In addition of course Torrey Pines also features on the US Open rota and the years second Major visited La Jolla last June.

The market is currently headed up by Jon Rahm who of course not only has one Farmers title to his name here but also the US Open. Rahm is then followed by Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama.



For the second week running we have a tournament which uses multiple courses with all players playing one round on the host course, the South Course, over the first two days, along with one round on the North Course.

Those making the cut then play their final two rounds on the South Course.

The North Course is a par 72 coming in at 7258 yds. Whilst the North Course had a redesign from Tom Weiskopf in 2016, which toughened it up slightly, it’s still by far the easier course of the two and the one to take advantage of over the first two days. The greens are bentgrass.

The South Course is pretty much the longest Par 72 course on tour stretching to over 7700 yds.

The greens are Poa Annua.

Whilst it’s not impossible for shorter hitters to compete here big hitters do have an advantage on the South Course.



Let’s start by taking a look at the last ten winners;

2021 P Reed
2020 M Leishman
2019 J Rose
2018 J Day
2017 J Rahm
2016 B Snedeker
2015 J Day
2014 S Stallings
2013 T Woods
2012 B Snedeker


The event was dominated by Tiger Woods through the early part of the 2000s with four consecutive wins coming from him from 2005 – 2008. The most recent of his 7 wins at the event came in 2013.

As we can see from the above list over the years this has been an event on the whole for the big names with only Scott Stallings being seen as shock winners in the past 10 years.

In addition to Tiger the other course specialist over recent years has been Brandt Snedeker who as well as having 2 wins to his name has 7 other top 10s in the last 14 editions.

Looking at the winners over the past ten years form in previous events in the calendar year coming in does not seem to be particularly significant.

This can be seen by the fact that only three of the winners since the turn of the decade had a top 10 finish to their name in the calendar year already.

These were Brandt Snedeker [twice] and Jason Day in 2015.

Up until 2018 though at least one previous start in the year to shake the rust of did seem to be important however that year Day won here on his first start of the year and Justin Rose managed a similar feat last year. Normal service has resumed on this front though over the past two years with Leishman and Reed.

Multiple winners are also common place in this event as following on from Tiger’s domination we have seen both Snedeker and Day win twice this decade.

One other striking point to note is that previous course form does appear to play a significant part here and if we look back at the past ten winners we will see that only two of them, Scott Stallings and Jon Rahm, did not have at least one previous top ten finish here, while three of the past ten winners, Woods, Snedeker and Day had actually triumphed here before.

This trend was rubber stamped once more over the past wo years with Leishman who triumphed here in 2020 having previously notched four top tens including two runner up finishes, while last years winner Patrick Reed again fitted the bill perfectly having finished sixth here the year before.

Allowing for Reeds sixth place in 2020 this means that he, Snedeker and Day when they gained there first wins here and Rose when he was victorious here, had all finished in the top ten the year before.

It should also be noted that not only does previous course form appear to be important but overall experience on the course certainly seems to hold value.

Reed triumphed here on his sixth visit here, Leishman bagged the title on his twelfth visit here while Justin Rose, the 2019 Champion, bagged the trophy on his eighth start of the decade after finally cracking the top 10 in start number six.

Conversely the only first time PGA Tour winner in the event this century was Rahm in 2017 and obviously he was no ordinary ‘maiden’.

This year of course we do have the added factor of form from last June’s US Open at Torrey Pines to consider, an event, which was of course won by Jon Rahm. As was stated in the lead up to that event Torrey Pines in June was a very different beast to the course we see every January and from that point of view I would still be far more focused on the history from the Farmers than the years second Major. Having said that it is still the same golf course so it would be foolish to disregard anyone based on an affinity they might have picked up to the course last June.

One other trend that had clearly developed over recent years was the habit of the winner playing the South Course on Thursday and the North Course on Friday and this had been the case every year from 2011 to 2018.

Invariably what we had seen over this period is the eventual winner shoot somewhere around level par or even over par on day one leaving them way down the field before storming through in to contention with a strong round on the Friday.

However this trend has been bucked over the past three years as Reed opened with a 64 on the North Course last year before posting 72 at the South on Friday, Leishman with a 68 on the North Course in 2020 before posting again 72 on the South the next day while in 2019 Justin Rose stormed out of the gates with a 63 at the North Course before adding an impressive 66 at the South on Friday.

Finally, being a coastal event the wind can have a big impact on the winning score and who can forget Snedeker’s ‘round of the year’ 69 in the gales [certainly not me as I was on him!] in 2016 to pinch the trophy from nowhere, with all around him struggling to break 76.

In general though it is not uncommon for the winning score to be single figures under par and this has been the case in 3 of the last 7yrs, however in 2020 Leishman triumphed with -15 and the previous year Justin Rose won with a score of -21! Last year things, perhaps in the build up to the US Open played a bit tougher with only the winner Patrick Reed who landed a five shot victory, posting a double digits under par score at 14- under.


Temperatures look set to sit in the mid to 60s throughout the week with the possibility of a shower here or there.
The wind, which can often be an issue here could be a bit of a factor at times as well with gusts in the region of 15mph showing as a possibility in the forecast across all four days.
As I always say though this could all change!



I have gone with five players this week as follows;

TONY FINAU – 28/1 – 2pts E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED MC

The idea of backing Tony Finau at these sort of odds is not one I would have entertained this time last year however now that he has finally got the monkey off his back of that second tour title you have to think that the big man will push on this year and add more trophies to his cabinet.

With that in mind then Tony has to come in to serious consideration on any course, which fits his eye and on this front Torrey Pines must be pretty near the top of the list.

As we know course experience and past good form here is the key to success at Torrey and there is no one who has been more consistent in the field this week at this venue over the recent years than Finau.

This week will mark his eighth start at the venue and on four of those he has finished in the top six, including the past two years, and he has never finished worse than 24th here, an effort, which came on his debut.

Based on his record here I was expecting the Utah man to be fourth or fifth favourite this week, however the layers have been lured in to looking at prioritising more solid recent form of the likes of Berger, Dechambeau and Burns over the course form of Finau, which to me will always be more key here.

Having said that while Tony has not been knocking on the door of another tour title this season since his win at the Northern Trust in the play offs, his year opening effort at the Sentry, where he finished 19th was solid enough, while at the Amex he showed great spirit to rally and make the cut on Saturday on his way to a 40th place. Furthermore if we look at Tony’s stats for his weekend efforts at the Stadium Course last week he was ranked 12th off the tee, 13th in approach play and 16th in putting so it appeared that his game came around nicely over the final 36 holes.

Coming back to the profile of recent winners off this event and we have seen time and again here that a bank of starts here, six, seven, eight or more and a previous top ten is crucial and from that point of view Finau’s history here marks him down as a winner waiting to happen in this event and he is the stand out play to me this week from those at the top end of the market.


KEEGAN BRADLEY – 70-1 - 1pt E/W - 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED 65th

In a week where I will keep returning to past course experience next cab off the rank for us is another player who has built up a really steady bank of form here over the years, Keegan Bradley.

Like many players Bradley struggled to get to grips with Torrey Pines over his initial visits however over more recent years he has started to string some good solid performances together in the event, with his last four starts netting him finishes of 16 36 5 4.

Keegan’s 2020/21 season was a pretty typical one for him in that he produced a smattering of strong finishes, predominantly in events, which rewarded his strong ball striking attributes, without getting over the line, however it all added up to a solid 39th place in the Fedex Cup standings. Notable in those efforts were a 10th place at Bay Hill and an 18th place at the Wells Fargo both of, which correlate nicely here.

This season the former PGA Champion has posted one top ten at the ZOZO Championship while a fortnight ago he opened up his 2022 two with a 12th place at the Sony Open.

Looking at Bradley’s performance that week at Waialae CC and after a slow opening round he hit the ball really nicely for the remaining three days finishing the week ranked second from tee to green.

Needless to say the club that held Bradley back in Honolulu was the putter, however even that club was, for him relatively steady from Friday onwards and allowing for the fact that he currently ranks 174th on the greens this season that should have offered him encouragement.

Looking at this elephant in the room, Keegan’s putter, and we have seen for the past two weeks with Matsuyama and Swafford what can happen when a poor putter suddenly finds their putting boots and one would hope that he, like we, can take some encouragement from those vastly improved putting displays, that he can produce something similar.

To sum up, Bradley as we know does not win often but when he does he tends to win big events and he is certainly more than capable of winning in this company if the mood takes him. From that point of view allowing for his really strong ball striking week at the Sony I am happy to take a chance that he can produce a similar tee to green week alongside an improved putting display, which if so would surely see him in contention.

BRANDT SNEDEKER – 100/1 - 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED MC

Next up this week the odds on course specialist Brandt Snedeker being dangled are just too big for me to ignore.
With the exception of Tiger Woods of course Snedeker’s record at Torrey Pines is as good as anyone’s and over the past ten years he has two victories and three other top tens to his name.

Over the past couple of years Sneds’ star has started to wane and in what is now more and more a young mans game one had to wonder if his time had passed and he would fade quietly in to the background.

Encouraged I’m sure though by the success of the likes of Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover of late Brandt appears to have knuckled down and at still only 41yrs old he is starting to show signs that he has plenty more to offer.

If Sneds is to return to the winners enclosure this year history tells us that there is every chance that it will be in this early season foray on the West Coast as four of his nine PGA Tour wins have come in this stretch of events, including the two here of course.

So, with no doubt in mind that Brandt loves Torrey Pines what of his recent uptick in form? Well firstly he opened up 2022 with a solid 36th place in Honolulu at the Sony Open before following this up with an eye catching 14th place at the American Express.

Most encouragingly at the Amex for his measured rounds at the weekend at the Stadium Course Sneds’ main work was done off the tee as he ranked fifth in this area, while leading the field in Driving Accuracy, while his putter, historically his most reliable asset was ranked a solid 24th.

Moving on to this week then and with Brandt’s long game seemingly coming round he must be licking his lips at the thought of getting back on to the poa annua greens that have served him so well over the years. Last season he arrived in San Diego on the back of two missed cuts and still managed a solid 32nd place before missing his next two cuts, while the previous year his third place finish here was by far his best effort of 2020.

This year then with some really positive shown signs last week in particular I find the odds on offer for the course specialist just too big to ignore.


PATRICK RODGERS – 150/1 - 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED 62nd

Finally this week I will chance my arm at longer odds with two players who I risked in this event last year and I feel warrant siding with again, this first of which is Patrick Rodgers.

As long suffering readers will know I have sided with Rodgers on several occasions over the last couple of seasons in the belief that he will finally pop up at big odds and justify his undoubted talent, something which to be fair he nearly did when rewarding our 150/1 each way play at the Fortinet Championship in the fall.

As has been well documented now Patrick came close to losing his PGA Tour card last season before producing a gutsy performance down the stretch in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship to clinch a spot in the top 25 of the Korn Ferry finals.

Buoyed by that performance and with the pressure now off Rodgers has started his 21/22 campaign far more strongly and two top six finishes all ready, including the one at the Fortinet, which courtesy of the likes of Gooch, Homa, Leishman, Stallings and CT Pan from last years leaderboard, links really well here, see him in good shape heading in to 2022.

Last week Patrick knocked off the rust for 2022 at the American Express with a 40th place finish, where encouragingly his normal weak link his approach play was looking solid as he ranked 21st in this area for his measured rounds.

On to this week then and Patrick returns to a course where his record here of four MC’s a fourth and a ninth is in all honesty a good reflection of his career to date. Basically you never quite know what to expect and in all honesty none of those finishes this week would surprise me.

In addition with regards to form here it is worth noting that Patrick played solidly in last years US Open here and was on the fringes of contention at halfway before a poor day three saw him go on to finish 31st.

As well as his two strong efforts here the Stanford grad has popped up with big finishes at Quail Hollow, Muirfield Village and Bay Hill over the years, all of, which are the type of ‘big boy’ courses, which link well to Torrey Pines and with his strong start to the season I am happy to chance that this is a feast, rather than famine week for Patrick in San Diego.

KYLE STANLEY – 200/1 – 1pt E/W – 1/5 odds 1st 8 - FINISHED MC

Finally with the motto of ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ in my head as I have sided with Keegan Bradley I am going to put my lot in with another player known as one of the poorest putters on tour. Kyle Stanley.

When you side with Stanley you know of course what you are letting yourself in for, solid stuff from tee to green and a huge struggle on the dance floor and last year when we were on board we got pretty much that again as on his way to 18th place Kyle ranked ninth from tee to green, 11th in approach play and 58th in putting.

After that effort here last year Stanley was only able to better that finish twice when posting 14th and eighth place finishes in two of the Texas events and in the end he was no doubt relieved to hang on to his card with a 117th place finish in the Fedex Cup.

The 21/22 season hadn’t started much better for Kyle to be honest with four missed cuts in six events before Christmas however in his first outing of the new calendar year there were some really good signs for him to build on at the Sony Open where he finished 27th.

In that performance Stanley ranked fourth in approach play, tenth off the tee and fourth from tee to green, normal service with the long game in theory then, although it should be said his normally reliable numbers in these areas had been down before Christmas.

In addition though, and small acorns I know, after a typically poor efforts with the putter over the first three days Kyle actually gained strokes on the green on Sunday so something else to build on perhaps.

Returning to Torrey Pines then Stanley as longer term PGA Tour watchers will remember has ‘previous’ here having blown a big lead here back in 2012 before gifting the tournament to Brandt Snedeker after making a complete mess of the final hole and while he has never come close to repeating that effort here it is clear with further solid finishes over the years, including last year of course, that when his long game is on this is a track that suits his eye.

Eighth at the Wells Fargo when badly out of form in 2019 sits very nicely here from a course correlation point of view as does his second place at the Memorial in 2018 and also at Firestone the same year, all finishes, which came on the back of nothing spectacular in the run up.

To sum up Stanley to me is very much a ‘punters friend’ of a player as you know the sort of courses he can play well on time and again and if there are signs the long game is there you can catch him at big each way odds and on that basis I am happy to wrap things up this week by bringing him on side.





First up in this section this week is Joseph Bramlett.

Californian Bramlett was highly touted when he first came out on tour several years ago however after failing to initially fulfil his promise he was then derailed by a serious back injury.

Gradually though Bramlett has pieced things back together and a win at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship last autumn cemented his place in the big league for this season.

One of the longest hitters on tour Joseph has performed well in each of his last two visits to Torrey Pines finishing 18th here last year and arriving here this week on the back of a 20th and 33rd in first two starts of the year I would expect him to have another decent week here this time around.



For my second play I am going to take a bit of a chance down at $6200 on Trey Mullinax, something that will allow me to play some of the biggest names at the top of the pricing in the same line up.

Another prodigous hitter Mullinax returned to the PGA Tour after posting a win on the Korn Ferry last season and he has wasted little time in making an impact, posting a top five at the Sanderson Farms in the Fall.

Sixteenth in strokes-gained-off-the-tee so far this season Trey's game should suit Torrey Pines and this is something he has shown in making the cut in three of his four visits over the years.

Returning this time with the confidence gained from the win last year and the big finish at the Sandersons, and having made the cut last week at the Amex, I would expect Mullinax to be with us for all four days again this week.