This week, Torrey Pines hosts the Farmers Insurance Open, the first truly big event of the year on the PGA Tour. The field is strong, and the courses are difficult.
Both the South and North courses at Torrey Pines place a premium on ball-striking. The South, where this year’s U.S. Open will be held, is extremely demanding at 7,700 yards. This unusual length, along with narrow fairways and penal rough, will make driving distance immensely important. Everyone is going to miss fairways this week, but bombers will have a distinct advantage, as they will be able to reach most greens even from the rough.
Another key skill at the Farmers Insurance Open will be a deft touch around the greens. The greens-in-regulation rate here is among the lowest on tour, so players will be faced with a lot of situations where they need to get up and down for par. Those who handle the thick green-side rough well will have a huge leg up.
Here are some players with the right skill sets who would make good plays in your fantasy leagues this week:
Cameron Davis $7,900
I know this is getting repetitive; I almost feel like I don’t even need a description for Cameron Davis anymore. Every year, there seems to be one player I end up rostering at almost every event. Davis has been that guy for me over the past six months. He leads the field in birdie rate and is top 20 off the tee, in driving distance, and with his mid and long irons. He finished third last week at the American Express and has made the cut in all three of his appearances at the Farmers.
Gary Woodland $7,800
Over the past six months, Woodland has struggled with labrum issues in his hip. Last week, he said, was the first time he was able to play without pain. It showed: he finished 16th at PGA West. Now he heads to Torrey Pines, where he has finished 27th or better in six of his past eight starts. Woodland has the perfect combination of length off the tee, iron play, and putting. His high-apex ball flight and fade preference with the driver also help this week.
It doesn’t make much sense to burn Rory McIlroy or Jon Rahm at the Farmers Insurance Open because of the uncertainty regarding McIlroy’s form and Rahm’s health. Instead, consider one of the two options below.
Finau was once again in contention last week at the Amex, so he’s obviously hitting it well. At Torrey Pines, he has finished 24th or better in all six of his starts and sixth or better in three of those. Finau is top 10 in driving distance, approach, long irons, and long par-4 scoring.
Day has had five top-nine finishes in his past eight appearances at the Farmers, including two wins. Torrey is the perfect venue for him: he has length, a high ball flight, and an elite short game.