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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Farmers Insurance Open (2023)


The PGA Tour turns its attention away from the birdie-fests that littered the schedule to start the season with a trip to one of the most storied championship golf courses in the United States in Torrey Pines.


The Farmers Insurance Open returns for another installment in San Diego as this event, although under various names, has been a part of the PGA Tour schedule since 1952.


Like what we saw last week, it’s another multi-venue affair, although we’ll see just two courses this week opposed to two.


Both courses, the North and South courses at Torrey Pines, will be played alternately across Wednesday and Thursday before the post 36-hole cut. The top 65-plus ties who make the cut will play the final two rounds at the South Course.


At this point, you’re wondering if I had a typo stating that this event begins on Wednesday. The answer to that is, it’s not a typo. With Championship Sunday happening in the NFL this week, the PGA Tour looks to not compete for viewership and instead will begin this week’s Farmers Insurance Open one day earlier than normal.


The Field

Although the first full-field Signature Event of the season takes place next week at Pebble Beach, the PGA’s stars are still showing up in San Diego.


As a full field event on the PGA Tour, the field will consist of 156 players.


Among them are 12 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) top-30.


Xander Schauffele, a San Diego native, headlines the field, coming in as the highest ranking golfer within the OWGR.


Joining him are names such as Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Max Homa, Tony Finau and Collin Morikawa.


Homa is the defending champion of this event and the California native returns this year in hopes to win back-to-back events.


Other former winners of this event in this week’s field include Lust List, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker and Scott Stallings.


The Course(s)

The South Course

The South Course annually plays as one of the longest courses on the PGA Tour, playing as a par 72 at roughly 7,785 yards.


Being one of the most storied championship golf courses in the United States, Torrey Pines South offers a major-like feel to it which will be welcome after seeing the birdie-fests to kick off this 2024 PGA Tour Season.


Off-the-tee, driving distance will of course be a factor with the length this course offers. Bombers will be encouraged to swing away to set up their second shots routinely across all four rounds.


However, the fairways here at the South Course are narrow and with the combination of golfers opting for driver due to its length, The South Course offers one of the highest missed fairway percentages on Tour.


Due to the course’s length, approach shots from 200-plus yards will be of the norm this week.


The greens featured this week are Pao greens. They’re both firm and small and due to this, the South Course also features one of the lowest greens in regulation percentages of the PGA Tour as well. This is also attributed to the long approach shots golfers will be taking into the greens.


Golfers will be forced to work around-the-greens often due to this and will need to bring their A-game in the scrambling department if they hope to claim victory.


These pao greens are also some of the most difficult greens to putt on each season as it is a grass type not often seen on Tour.


The South Course features a multitude of par fours that play over 450-yards. Golfers will need to take advantage of the par-fours this week however and get comfortable grinding out the par threes and par fives.


The North Course

The North Course is considerably easier than the South Course here at Torrey Pines.


It also plays as a par-72 but at just 7,258 yards.


It’ll be crucial that golfers take advantage of their one round at the North Course if they hope to win this week.


Historically speaking, failing to shoot in the 60’s on the North Course will essentially eliminate any golfer from the tournament. 


Since 2000, the winning score has reached -20 or better just once (Justin Rose in 2019) at this event. The average winning score has been -13.79 dating back to 2000. Homa won last year at -13.


The Weather

Weather can be a major factor here at Torrey Pines, more so on the South Course than the North Course. Being in San Diego, coastal winds can be a factor. As of the time of writing this, there is a zero percent chance of precipitation across Wednesday through Saturday. Additionally, temperatures are set at 62-degrees for Wednesday and Thursday before climbing to 67-degree on Friday and 69-degrees on Saturday. Winds too will be minimal as they are set at seven miles-per-hour for Wednesday and Thursday before peaking at nine miles-per-hour on Friday and falling to three miles-per-hour on Saturday. 


Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Average Driving Distance

  • Proximity to the Hole from 200-plus Yards

  • Hit Fairway Percentage

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Scrambling

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Par Four Scoring Average

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)

  • Par Five Scoring Average


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

With just a handful of options in this top price range, I’m going to offer one guy here and two guys in the remaining price ranges. First up we have Patrick Cantlay ($10,500.) With the likes of Xander Schaffuele, Collin Morikawa and Max Homa around him, It’s safe to say that Cantlay’s ownership will be limited. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t fit this course because he definitely does. He finished last season first on Tour in par five average scoring, third in par four average scoring, 16th in SG: APP, 21st in both GIR% and hit fairway percentage, 29th in scrambling, 37th in average driving distance, 47th in SG: PUTT, 57th in SG: ATG and 58th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards. He didn’t have the best of showings last week at The American Express but did place T12th at The Sentry Tournament of Champions. Those events were birdie-fests. This week’s venue suits his game much more. As of the time of writing this he’s +900 to win. Too slim for me. If he gets to +1100 or better, I will play three units on him. 


$9,000-$9,900

First up we have Ludvig Aberg ($9,700.) All of me wants to not play him this week due to his potential ownership but I simply can’t leave this week without him in my DFS lineups. He fits this course to a tee. He finished last season first on Tour in both par four and par five average scoring, third in GIR%, sixth in average driving distance, 27th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 28th in hit fairway percentage, 39th in SG: ATG, 42nd in SG: PUTT, 74th in scrambling and 107th in SG: APP. He started the season with a T47th at The Sentry Tournament of Champions and a T30th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Those results are what I’m hoping keeps his ownership numbers down. Of course his Fall Swing was one to remember as he went T2nd at the Sanderson Farms Championship, T13th at the Shriners Children’s Open, T10th at the World Wide Technology Championship and he won The RSM Classic. This was all on top of being on Team Europe who won the Ryder Cup. I’m also playing two units on Aberg at +1800. Also consider Tony Finau ($9,300.) Finau is another guy who is a bit of a fan favorite but recent form should keep his ownership down. He finished last season fifth on Tour in SG: APP, 12th in par five average scoring, 24th in par four average scoring, 25th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 40th in GIR%, 49th in SG: ATG, 66th in average driving distance, 69th in scrambling and 77th in hit fairway percentage. Of course, it all comes down to the putter for Finau as he ranked 125th in SG: PUTT. He did have an okay showing last week at The American Express going T25th and opened the season by going T38th at The Sentry Tournament of Champions. He also placed T9th here a year ago. I’m playing a unit on him at +2500.


$8,000-$8,900

I know I’ve focused on golfers who are long off the tee, but Justin Rose ($8,300) is a defending champion for a reason. He hasn’t been the best to start the season, going T40th at The Sentry Tournament of Champions and T57th at the Sony Open in Hawaii but like I said when highlighting Cantlay, this course and event fits Rose much better than past weeks. Rose also went T18th here last year. Rose finished last season 17th in SG: APP, 20th in SG: ATG, 26th in SG: PUTT, 41st in par five average scoring, 54th in scrambling, 61st in hit fairway percentage and 74th in par four average scoring. He did finish 136th in GIR% which this is a course and event where everyone will be missing the greens so I’m not too concerned there and he is 144th in average driving distance. Due to the length of the South Course, distance is important but it is not the end-all, especially for Rose as he is above average in hit fairway percentage. I’m playing a unit on him at +4500. Hideki Matsuyama ($8,500.) Matsuyama may be struggling as of late but what he is still elite in is approach play and around the green work. Both super important stats this week. He was all but last at The Sentry Tournament of Champions but bounced back a week later with a T30th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He also placed T9th here a season ago. The former Masters Champion finished last season 12th on Tour in SG: APP, 13th in SG: ATG, 23rd in scrambling, 56th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 69th in par five average scoring, 74th in par four average scoring, 83rd in hit fairway percentage, 106th in GIR%, 119th in SG: PUTT and 127th in average driving distance. I’m looking for a bit of a breakthrough tournament for Matsuyama to get back on track.


$7,000-$7,900

One of my favorite plays this week is Stephan Jaeger ($7,800.) Jaeger had a strong showing in Hawaii with a T18th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He made the cut last week at The American Express as well. He finished last season seventh on Tour in SG: ATG, 15th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 16th in both GIR% and par five average scoring, 24th in par four average scoring, 44th in scrambling, 50th in average driving distance, 62nd in SG: APP, 110th in SG: PUTT and 126th in hit fairway percentage. In other words, he’s elite around the green, finding greens in regulation and with his long irons. That checks a lot of the big boxes for me this week. I’m playing a unit on him at +8000 this week. Also consider Adam Svensson ($7,600.) Svensson has had an okay start to his 2024 PGA Tour season, placing T33rd at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T30th at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He finished last season 41st on Tour in both scrambling and par five average scoring, 44th in hit fairway percentage, 46th in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 50th in SG: APP, 52nd in par four average scoring, 59th in SG: PUTT, 74th in GIR%, 85th in SG: ATG and 134th in average driving distance. I’m playing a unit on him at +9000 as well.


$6,900-

My first play in this bottom price range is Doug Ghim ($6,800.) Ghim finished last season sixth on Tour in GIR%, 16th in hit fairway percentage, 23rd in par five average scoring, 26th in scrambling, 52nd in par four average scoring, 68th in proximity to the hole form 200-plus yards, 70th in SG: APP, 79th in SG: ATG and 119th in average driving distance. The problem, as always, with Ghim is the putter as he ranked 150th in SG: PUTT. He’s missed the cut at both the Sony Open in Hawaii and The American Express but did go T17th at the Fortinet Championship and T15th at the World Wide Technology Championship during the PGA Tour’s Fall Swing. He leaves a lot to be desired but does bring some good things to the table as well. Enough for me to play a unit at +27000 this week. Also consider Joseph Bramlett ($6,800.) Bramlett finished last season 18th on Tour in average driving distance, 37th in SG: APP, 41st in proximity to the hole from 200-plus yards, 54th in SG: ATG, 62nd in par five average scoring, 64th in GIR%, 74th in par four average scoring and 98th in scrambling. Of course, being in this price range, he offers some red flags. Namely a 160th placement in SG: PUTT and 177th in hit fairway percentage. If he can sacrifice a bit of distance this week to keep it a bit straighter and get a few putts to fall that he otherwise wouldn’t, he has a chance to make the cut. Let’s also not forget that he placed T13th here a year ago.


Betting Card

  • Ludvig Aberg (+1800) - 2u

  • Tony Finau (+2500) - 1u

  • Justin Rose (+4500) - 1u

  • Stephan Jaeger (+8000) - 1u

  • Adam Svensson (+9000) - 1u

  • J.J. Spaun (+11000) - 1u

  • Doug Ghim (+27000) - 1u

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