2019 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 years ago.

My picks last week at the Desert Classic were, well, let’s just say that I needed to knock a little rust off to start the New Year.  Enough about that.

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Howell III t-34th)

Rory McIlroy– I didn’t post picks for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but had I done so Rory would’ve been my LOCKZILLA.  He ended up forgetting how to putt on Sunday (a common theme of late for him), but still finished t-4th.  I love his commitment to play more on the PGA Tour early this season and despite never having teed it up at Torrey Pines before, I’m all over Rory again this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: List MC)

Charles Howell III-  Yep, going right back to the well this week with Chucky Three Sticks.  He was a popular pick last week and disappointed with a t-34th place finish in the Desert, but coming into Torrey Pines, a place where he’s never missed a cut in 16 tries, posted a whopping 8 top 10s and also 3 runner-ups.  Not sure he’s ready to win yet again, but contending wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Reavie t-28th)

Jordan Spieth–  A no-brainer Hosel-Rocket BUST this week.  Often saying those words will come back to bite you, but when you have the mental demons on the greens that Spieth is fighting at the moment, there’s simply no way that he can put 4 solid rounds together at the moment.  Can he go low in a round or 2 and seemingly be in contention?  Sure.  Can he finish t-24th this week?  Absolutely he can.  Is Torrey pines and its bumpy poa annua greens, a bomber’s paradise course where his best ever finish is t-19th going to be the site where he ends his winless drought?  Not a chance.  Stay on the fade train with Jordan for now and thank me later.


Patrick Rodgers– An extra dash of BOLD with this pick.  Lovin’ me some PRod this week.  What, you’re scared that he MC’d at the Sony?  Need I remind you that he did the same thing just two years ago (MC at the Sony) prior to his t-4th finish here?  He was runner-up at the RSM Classic, the final event of 2018.  It’s only a matter of time before he inevitably breaks through into the winner’s circle.  Could this be the week?


Joel Harrington

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