TIGER WOODS returns to PGA Tour golf from back surgery to one of his favourite courses in Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open.
Whether he can compete for the four rounds is the question never mind coming out on top on Sunday.
Jon Rahm is returning as defending champion and the form he is in at the moment he is hard to overlook. Last year a stunning 60ft eagle putt at the last finished off a five-hole, minus six run to cement the win by three shots. Unfortunately the price might be too short.
It’s not a bad field with Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose in the mix and the Torrey Pines is a stunning layout.
Torrey Pines (South) 7698 yards, Par 72
The complex used to be an old World War II army base which was converted in 1957 by William Bell. The South Course staged its first Major in 2008 when the US Open came to town and was won by Tiger after a play-off with Rocco Mediate.
It looks like it will stage the Major again in 2021. It is rated as the the longest course on the PGA Tour and the rough can be penal, with Kikuyugrass fairways and greens that are difficult to keep the ball on. This course will be in use for three rounds with each player playing 18 holes on the North Course.
Torrey Pines (North): 7258 yards, Par 72
This course has had a Tom Weiskopf makeover and is a relatively short par 72 that will be set up for low scoring. To compete at the weekend a good score on the North is going to be important. Also the greens on both courses have different grass, the North has Bentgrass while the South is Poa Annua. So good putters on both grasses will be to the fore come Sunday.
Fowler has had a terrible record here since 2015 (T16-MC-MC) but had travelled from Abu Dhabi to take part in those years. This year as he didn’t play in Abu Dhabi he has no jetlag and is fresh from his T4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions a couple of weeks ago.
In December he finished second in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, his first tournament of the new season. Although he’s only 29 I think this has to be his year to be a Major winner. There are a lot of younger guys who are capable to winning their first Major so the competition is getting better and better each year. Hopefully he can get off to a good start this year and win here.
- Driving Accuracy: 69.83% (23rd)
- GIR: 75.69% (16th)
- Putts per GIR: 0.453 (39th)
Shot four great rounds to finish T7 at the Sony Open in Hawaii after a depressing missed cut in the RSM Classic in November. However, he was -2 so didn’t do too much wrong, just not enough birdies.
Made up for that in his next competition in Hawaii where he finished -14, including a 65 in the second round. In 2017, which was his first full year on Tour, he finished second in the Wyndham and T3 at the RBC Heritage.
The 24-year-old hasn’t won yet on the PGA Tour but like a few of his contemporaries big things are expected of him. His putting can sometimes be a bit iffy but if he can get that going it wouldn’t surprise me if he won soon and it wouldn’t surprise if he did it this week.
- Driving Accuracy: 51.89% (185th)
- GIR: 66.03% (86th)
- Putts per GIR: -0.019 (109th)
- 1.5pts ew Rickie Fowler (Coral 12-1)
- 1.5pts ew Ollie Schniederjans (Ladbrokes, 50-1)