2018 Farmers Insurance Open Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

From the Palm Springs desert we go to the edge of the coast near La Jolla for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.  There are many courses that become recognizable to the masses over the years on the PGA Tour schedule, but Torrey is a cut above the rest.  Stunning Pacific Ocean views, a major championship-caliber course, para-sailors happily drifting around, an incredibly stacked field and boom, we’re in for a big week of PGA Tour action.

The Torrey Pines South Course is not only recognizable and memorable for its magnificent ocean views, but also for its extra-beefiness as it plays 11,892 yards from the tips.  Ha, ok yeah, a little sarcasm there, as it “only” plays 7,698 yards when fully tipped out, making it the longest course on Tour.  But, the PGA Tour honchos usually gives the guys a “break” on a couple tee boxes each round, making it play in the 7,450 yard range each day.  So yeah, at sea level, that’s still a whole gulp full of beefiness.  I just used “beefiness” twice in the same paragraph.  So yeah, we could be in for a wild week.

Note that the tourney is also played on the Torrey Pines North Course for one of the first two rounds, which used to be a mere pushover, but was renovated a couple of years ago by Tom Weiskopf and now checks in at 7,258 yards.  The routing was redone to route the course’s inward nine towards the ocean, so it’s a fabulous climax at the end of the round.  The North Course also now has bentgrass greens, which are notably different than the South’s poa surfaces.  Look for the scoring splits between tracks to be much closer than in recent years.

After a rock solid week of picks at the Sony Open the week prior, my picks last week at the CareerBuilder weren’t so hot, as other than my Semi-Flier on Charles Howell III posting a decent finish (t-20th), my Lockzilla pick on Phil Mickelson and BOLD play on Cameron Tringale failed to make the cut.  My Hosel-Rocket BUST play of the week Patton Kizzire did finish well back at t-42nd.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Phil MC)

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler
– Missed the last two cuts here, and 3 of the past 4, which likely will cause many to pass on the world #7 this week, but don’t be fooled– Rickie is the play this week.  First, it’s not like he can’t contend here, as prior to the past 4 he had 4 straight top 20s here, including a t-5th and t-6th.  Since then, he’s become a more consistent player overall and is poised for a huge 2018.  I equate him to Justin Rose here last year, an elite player whose recent Torrey track record wasn’t good, which Rose put to rest with a t-4th finish.  Also consider that this is the first time in the past 4 years where he hasn’t played the Euro Tour’s Abu Dhabi event the week prior to Torrey (hooray for no jet lag!) I’m all over Rickie this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Howell III t-20th)

Ollie Schniederjans
Ollie Schniederjans
– The hat-less wonder has loved him some Torrey Pines in his short Tour career, posting a t-9th here last year, which followed a solid debut performance here in 2016 where he opened with rounds of 69-72-72, only to balloon to a final round 81 en route to a t-49th finish (don’t let that fool you).  Finished t-7th at the Sony Open just two weeks ago and primed and ready for another solid performance this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Kizzire t-42nd)

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama
– While Hideki is a threat to win basically anytime he tees it up, I’m not digging him and his shaky putter on these bumpy greens this week.  Look back at prior Farmers results and you’ll see that at least 1 or 2 big names always miss the cut– Hideki is my big name pick to have the weekend off this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Tringale MC)

Richy Werenski
Richy Werenski
– The former Golf Channel Big Break winner has started to really amp up his game of late, securing his PGA Tour card again for this season after several big finishes in his Tour debut last year (including a t-2nd at the Barracuda in August).  One of those solid finishes was a t-20th last year at Torrey Pines, which included a highly stellar final round 66 on the brutal South Course.  Color me impressed.  Toss in that he finished t-29th last week at the CareerBuilder with steady rounds of 67-67-71-70 and look for another top 25 finish or better this week from the 26-year-old.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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