ACE is still hunting his first win of the year but Henrik Stenson gave him a third place for the third week in a row at Abu Dhabi.
He's back with his top tips for this weekend and says: The Farmers Insurance Open is being played at Torrey Pines over the North and South Courses this week. I hate tournaments staged over more than one venue like last week’s CareerBuilders at La Quinta.
The South Course at Torrey Pines is a monstrous 7698 par 72 so you would like someone who hits a long ball with accuracy. The North Course on the other hand is more than 600 yards shorter, a 7052-yard par 72, with small putting surfaces so greens in regulation might come into play.
Bill Haas came back to a bit of form last week with a T9 finish and could be in contention again this week. He’s not the longest hitter (average 285 yards) but his driving accuracy is 76.74% (3rd) and GIR of 72.22%. In the last six years Haas has only failed to win on the PGA Tour in 2014 and I can see him challenging this weekend.
A man who has form here is former winner Brandt Snedeker. He won here in 2012 and has six top-10 finishes, four of which are top threes. He hits around 300 yards off the tee with GIR of around 74% and if he can get his putter going he’ll be around at the finish.
From Abu Dhabi the European Tour moves to Qatar as part of the Desert Swing for the Qatar Masters. Thomas Pieters had a good tournament in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship finishing second, one stroke behind winner Rickie Fowler.
As with Torrey Pines a long hitter and good GIR could be beneficial. Pieters hits a long ball (averaging 311 yards) and GIR of 69.4% so I’ll be having a small wager.
Chris Wood is another who interests me. He won his first tournament here in Qatar three years ago and has good memories of this course. This season he started off with a T3 at the Nedbank Classic in December. He hits on average over 285 yards and his GIR is 69.4% so looks a bet.
Farmers Insurance Open
1pt ew Bill Haas (35-1, 888sport)
1pt ew Chris Wood (28-1, Paddy Power, Coral)