Johnny Vegas…hello world!! It was hard not rooting for this kid even though Bill Haas (one of my picks) was in a three way playoff which included Gary Woodland. Vegas pulled it out after nobody else seemed to want to win the tourney down the stretch. They all had their chances and mistakes. Congrats to Vegas…a heart warming story of rags to riches.
Meanwhile, half way around the world Martin Kaymer was laying an absolute beat down on the course and field at the Abu Dhabi Euro event. All four major winners from last year were present as well as current #1 in the world Westwood. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (RMac and Gmac) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively with RMac 8 shots off the lead. Mickelson finished 19 back and Westwood was 26 back. Martin passed Tiger Woods to move to #2 in the world with his win.
The Battle Royal for #1 begins! Kaymer seems ready to rumble. Tiger is playing this week at Torrey Pines in CA where he has a CRAZY good record! The question of the week…heck the past year…is he really back? Who knows? No better place to get back the mojo than at Torrey Pines for Tiger. Mickelson, who also has a great record there, will be in it as well so things are starting to heat up at the top.
What to look for this week? Look for California boys who are familiar with the poa annua greens. There are two courses played the first two days and then one course the last two. The South Course (played 3 times overall) totals over 7,500 yards and the North Course only 6,900…and is the easier of the two. You may consider alternating your starter and bench player on the first two days depending on who’s on the North Course. They are both relatively tight courses so ball striking (total driving + Greens in Reg) is important here. Of course putting is always important.
Farmers Insurance Open
January 27 – 30, 2011
Torrey Pines (South)
San Diego, Ca.
Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,698
Purse: $5.3 million with $954,000 going to the winner
Defending Champion: Ben Crane
(Picks each week are based on the free Yahoo/PGATour A, B, and C list tiers. Sign up for a free account to follow along.)
Rex’s Aces (A List Yahoo/PGA Tour.com)
Tiger Woods. I don’t care if Tiger shows up in a wheel chair you have to start him at Torrey Pines. He is from Cali. He has won this event 6 times including his last 4 attempts. He hasn’t played for two years in this event but big deal. He also won a US Open in 2008 at TP even though the set up was different. Three stars ***.
Nick Watney. I don’t figure I am going to need my back up here but Nick is a California boy and won this event in 2009. He finished last year very well and obviously fits this tourney pretty well. I did not pick Phil because he didn’t do great at Abu Dhabi last week and has to travel all the way back. He has won the event 3 times but not since 2001 and not since the course changes to the South Course. Watney. Two Stars **.
Tiger Woods. With Tiger’s success at Torrey Pines he is an easy pick this week. He is the top ranked golfer in the field and has won this event six times. In Tiger’s last event, the Chevron World Challenge, he looked like the Tiger of old (minus the final round). I would have to say Tiger is the hands down favorite in this event, and yes, I am using him for my One and Done pick this early.
Phil Mickelson. This will be the first PGA Tour event of the year for Phil, although he played last week in Abu Dhabi. Phil has had a lot of success at Torrey Pines over the years. He has finished in the top five 7 times and has three victories. He and Tiger are the only golfers in the field who are ranked in the top ten worldwide.
Rex’s Eagles (B List)
Bill Haas. Going to keep riding this train. Haas is playing great. His game suits the courses. His record isn’t great but decent at this event. He is not from Cali. All in all I think he’s worth about as many stars as anyone. Three Stars ***.
Ricky Fowler. Ricky is a Cali boy. He finished 5th here last year in his only attempt at the event. He’s coming off a Rookie of the Year campaign. He is a very good ball striker. He hasn’t played this year but he finished last year with 3 top 5’s in his last 4 events. That’s almost worth four stars but we will give him 3. Three Stars ***.
Ben Crane. Ben won this event last year and had a T-7 the year before. He is a very accurate but short driver and is very methodical which works well on tighter courses where scores aren’t as low as last week. He played the first week this year and did mediocre but this event fits his style of fairways and greens. Two stars **.
Kevin Na. I just think it’s time for Na to break out of his shell. He’s been gradually getting better. He finished 5th last week and 20th the week before. His record is not good at this event but he hasn’t been playing this well when he’s been in it. One Star *.
Ben Crane. Crane is the defending champion of this event. He has also finished in the top twenty-five four times in six career starts at the Farmers Insurance Open. Crane has only played in one other event this season, but finished in the top twenty-five of that event. I don’t think Crane will defend his title, but I expect him to do well once again this year.
Rickie Fowler. As a rookie last season, Rickie Fowler finished tied for fifth in this event. This will be the first event of 2011 for Fowler. Although this will be his first event, he finished last season very strong with 2 top five finishes in his last 3 official PGA Tour events. I also like that Fowler is from Southern California.
Robert Allenby. Allenby finished with a top ten in this event last season and had another top ten in 2007. He did miss the cut in the Sony Open which was his only tournament of 2011, but he ended the 2010 with great results. Allenby finished in the top twenty-five in each of his final 5 events of 2010, including a third place finish in the McGladrey Classic and a fifth place finish in the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic.
Justin Rose. Rose is golfing well to start out the 2011 season. In the Hyundai Tournament of Champions he finished 12th and ended the Sony Open in 13th place. With a week off, Rose should be ready to go for the Farmers. Last year Rose finished in the top twenty-five in this event. I’m expecting him to do the same or better this week.
Rex’s Birdies (C List)
Charles Howell III. I am not a big fan of picking Chucky because he doesn’t seem to win as often as he should. He can get a lot of top 3’s and top 10’s though. Chucky III has a good record with 4 top 10’s in 8 starts and never missing the cut. Two of those top 10’s are runner up finishes. He is playing pretty well right now with a T-13 last week. I think Vegas and Woodland may be celebrating. Two Stars **.
Boo Weekley. Boo seems to have a renewed interest in improving as a golfer. So far the results have been pretty good this year. His ball striking seems like it suits this tourney even though he has had mixed results. His last two attempts were a 33rd and a 19th. He is definitely no Cali boy though. Two stars **.
Charles Howell III. Howell III is coming off a top fifteen finish in the Bob Hope Classic. He had a top ten finish in the Farmers Open last year, and has never missed a cut in this event. In his career at this event, he has 4 top ten finishes including two runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2007.
Nate Smith. I was originally going with Anthony Kim for my last spot, but because we are making these picks to go along with the Yahoo format, I am going with rookie Nate Smith. The South course at Torrey Pines requires extreme accuracy around the greens, and that is Smith’s specialty. I can see him having an advantage on The South course. I’m not expecting Smith to win the tournament, but he can definitely post some low scores. Smith has posted scores in the 60′s four out of eight rounds this year.
Survivor Pool/One and Done
Year to date totals for our experts:
Winners…Rex (0), Matt (0)
Total Cuts Made…Rex (17/22), Matt (15/22)
Cuts Made in a row (survivor pools)…Rex (3), Matt (starts back at 0)
Top 3’s…Rex (2), Matt (0)
Top 10’s…Rex (5), Matt (5)
Earnings (one and done)…Rex ($350,625), Matt ($211,895)
Because we try to post our picks as early as we can please check back on Wednesday’s to see if there are any changes in picks due to golfers withdrawing from the event or other significant news which might affect our picks.
Thanks for visiting TSHQ!
(Fantasy golf picks contributing experts)
Rex Mescher. The Sports Headquarters golf blogger. Former owner and operator of a fantasy golf website. Involved with different fantasy leagues and formats for over 10 years now.
Matt Schroeder. Founder of BuzzFantasyLeagues.com. An online provider of fantasy golf products and services. Buzz Fantasy Leagues offer’s public leagues, private leagues, challenge games, and a fantasy golf draft kit.