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Farmers Insurance Open Odds: Four picks including a 250/1 outsider

Farmers Insurance Open 2023 betting preview and tips
Farmers Insurance Open 2023 betting preview and tips
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The PGA Tour heads to Torrey Pines for the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open.

Jamie Worsley has studied the form, looked at the history books, and scanned the field to produce an extensive betting preview complete with his four selections...

PS, don't forget it's a Wednesday start this week!

Ryder Cup Odds

Four wins in his last six starts, including taking home the title on his first two starts of 2023 with a combined score of 54-under par – matching his winning score of -27 in the Tournament of Champions three weeks ago, last week in The American Express - Jon Rahm is the best player on the planet right now and has shown a real signal of intent at the start of this year.

With that, it may seem odd to say that Rahm’s exhilarating form didn’t transfer to an enjoyable watch at last week’s event. One which saw a bunch of contenders throw themselves into the mix during the final round, putting it up to Rahm and the talented Davis Thompson, who himself performed with a huge amount of credit up against the Spanish juggernaut, losing out by just the one stroke in the end and looking every bit a player with a bright future in the game.

However, as always I found this event a struggle; from the poor coverage rotating around the three courses for the first three rounds, to the mind-numbing ease at which these guys took these courses apart. It’s an event that I’m always happy to see the back of.

Hopefully this week we get something a little more engaging, as we continue the West Coast swing and head to Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm will once again be in attendance, looking for his third victory in as many starts this year and once again – like last week – at a course that he has previously tasted victory. 

Golf Odds

Tournament History

The Farmers Insurance Open (previously the San Diego Open) began life in the 1950’s. It took place across various different courses in its early years but setup home here at Torrey Pines in 1968 and has taken place there every year since.

It’s our second event on the bounce – which will become three at next week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am – to take place across more than one course. Fortunately, there will be just the two this week, as the field rotates between Torrey Pines’ South and North courses over the first two rounds, before playing the final two rounds at the more famed South Course; a course which has hosted two US Opens over the last decade and a half: the first in 2008, which was won by Tiger Woods and again in 2021 where man of the moment, Jon Rahm, took home his first major title.

That 2008 US Open win was not the only time Tiger Woods has taken home a title at Torrey Pines, as he has won the Farmers Insurance Open seven times, making him comfortably the most successful player in the tournament’s history. It is second only to Bay Hill and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in terms of courses/events the great man has enjoyed the most success in his career. His -22 in 1999 tying the lowest winning score in the tournament’s history. 

The Farmers Insurance Open typically offers up a demanding, championship-like test, with just four winners here managing to shoot -20 or lower since that switch to Torrey Pines in 1968. An average winning score of -12.6 over the last ten renewals showing the difficulty the event still possesses in the face of the modern game.

Luke List will return as reigning champion this week, besting Will Zalatoris in a play-off last year in what was a fabulous final round. However we’ll be missing our two other most recent winners – Patrick Reed from 2021 and Marc Leishman from 2020 – as both players made the jump to LIV Golf last year.

Like last year, it’s a Wednesday start/Saturday finish at this year’s Farmers Insurance Open - a schedule change made to avoid clashes with the NFL – and something that is expected to stay for the foreseeable future.

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The Course

The two courses at Torrey Pines were designed by William Bell and opened for play in 1957. They have both gone through multiple renovations since, with Rees Jones brought in to make changes to the South Course in 2001 and again in 2019, whilst Tom Weiskopf renovated the North Course in 2016, with the intention of toughening it up.

Both are par 72s though differ significantly in terms of length, with the 7258 yard North Course dwarfed by the South Course - which can stretch to 7765 yards - though typically plays at around 7650.

Due to three rounds being played at the South Course, it makes sense to put most of our focus there; however, the North Course does play its part. With its wider fairways and larger greens, it plays significantly easier and winners of this tournament often do so with a low round at that easier course in the bag. Indeed Patrick Reed in 2021 and Jason Day in 2018/2015 both went very low at the North Course and essentially hung on at the South Course during their victories.

The South Course can play brutally difficult, as seen by those two US Opens producing winning scores of -1 in 2008 and -6 in 2021. Though it doesn’t play quite as hard as that for this event - with rough less penal and greens slower than you’d find at a US Open – it does still provide a serious all-round test.

The fairways around this open and exposed setup are some of the tightest you’ll find anywhere on the schedule and rank as the 3rd most difficult to hit over the last four years on the PGA Tour; protected by some deep, punishing bunkers and tricky kikuya rough. 

This then puts pressure on hitting the sloped poa annua greens, which often rank amongst the most difficult to putt on the PGA Tour, whilst more of that kikuya rough and deep bunkering makes getting it up and down difficult.

It’s a long slog of a course which challenges you from beginning to end and for all it isn’t the most interesting – with many holes blending into the next – it does typically produce exciting finishes; thanks in no small part to the par 5 closing hole, which is played into a large, sloped green, with water lurking front and bunkers back; a place where eagles have been made to take people to the title and where hitting the water has put paid to other’s chances of victory.

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The Stats

This is a tough all-round challenge but I’m keen to place added emphasis on strong ball-striking this week, with conditions set to look relatively kind. Strong iron-play proving to be the key ingredient to success over recent years.

Last year’s playoff competitors, winner Luke List and runner-up Will Zalatoris, both excelled in approach, ranking 4th and 1st respectively, whilst four of the top 5 ranked top 11 for GIR.

The short-game proved key in 2021, however there was plenty of strong iron play amongst those at the top of the leaderboard; five of the top 6 ranking top 25 for approach and GIR.

That importance in iron-play was more prevalent in 2020 and 2019. Mark Leishman ranked 5th in approach when winning in 2020, whilst third-place finishers, Rory McIlroy and Tom Hoge, ranked 3rd and 2nd respectively. In 2019, each of the top 4 ranked top 6 in approach, comfortably the leading statistic amongst all of those players.

Quality off-the-tee around this long, tough driving course is an obvious necessity and whilst fairway finders have had some decent success here, around such a lengthy setup it’s hard not to favour bigger hitters.

Four of last year’s top 5 ranked top 25 off-the-tee and top 20 in driving distance. Jon Rahm the most impressive with driver of those, ranking 2nd, though List and Zalatoris complimented their high-class approach displays with quality OTT, ranking 21st and 8th respectively; all also top 10 for driving distance.

Past winner’s such as Justin Rose, Jon Rahm and Jason Day showing how well strong, long ball-strikers often fare around here.

In addition, I’m also going to factor in proximity from the rough, due to how tough fairways are to find and proximity from 175-200 yards looks a key approach distance, particularly if wanting to side with shorter hitters. 

In addition a proven ability to putt poa annua greens is of course, a big plus.

Key Stats: SG: Approach, Greens-in-Regulation, SG: Off-the-Tee, Driving Distance, Proximity from Rough, Proximity from 175-200 yards, SG: Putting (poa

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Correlating Courses

Genesis Invitational @ Riviera CC

A lengthy, championship-like test in California with poa greens. Riviera ranks closely to the Farmers Insurance Open and has some strong form-ties.

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson among players to have won both events. JB Holmes is a past champion of the Genesis and has an excellent record here, Marc Leishman has multiple top 5s at Riviera, whilst the likes of C.T Pan and Charles Howell have finished 2nd at the Farmers and have gone well in the Genesis Invitational. 

Memorial Tournament @ Muirfield Village

Muirfield Village is another of those major championship type tests that challenges players in every aspect.

Justin Rose and Jon Rahm have won both events, Ryan Palmer has finished 2nd at both, with Marc Leishman and JB Holmes tying the form together, with top 5s at both. Henrik Norlander, 2nd in the Farmers in 2021 and Luke List both possessing top 10s. 

Fortinet Championship @ Silverado Resort

Silverado Resort in California regularly ranks as one of the tightest courses on the PGA Tour off-the-tee and with its poa greens can act as a good guide to the Farmers Insurance Open.

Two-time Farmers winner, Brandt Snedeker has finished runner-up there, whilst other past champions, Luke List and Marc Leishman have finished top 4. Charles Howell, C.T Pan and JB Holmes all bulking up the form-ties. 

Wells Fargo Championship @ Quail Hollow

Quail Hollow provides a similarly challenging ball-striking test that often sees players who perform well go on to contend for majors, much like this week’s event.

Jason Day has won at both courses, last year’s Luke list has multiple top 10s at Quail Hollow and we can once again find J.B Holmes here as a past champion. 

Arnold Palmer Invitational @ Bay Hill

Another lengthy championship test that puts strain on all areas of your game. Bay Hill often sees the same players contend as some of the courses mentioned above, and this week’s event. 

Marc Leishman and Jason Day have won at both, Justin Rose has finished runner-up at Bay Hill, Viktor Hovland has finished 2nd at both and Luke List is another with form there.

The Weather

We’re set for another dry, chilly week in California, which should make this lengthy course play even longer. There’s also the possibility of strong winds in round one, though it is currently forecast to die down for the rest of the week.

The Field

Last week’s winner and world #3, Jon Rahm comes here as the form man and as a two-time winner at Torrey Pines he looks like the one they all have to beat this week.

He’s joined by a strong group from inside the top 10, as Xander Schauffele and Will Zalatoris stay on from last week, meanwhile Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa make their first starts since the Tournament of Champions.

Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, Max Homa and Sungjae Im add further strength to an already strong field.

Former winners Jason Day and Justin Rose also teeing it up, looking to continue the promising form that has been on show over their recent starts.

Selections 

Jon Rahm is in phenomenal form and has a fantastic record at Torrey Pines but as a 4/1 favourite makes little appeal to me here.

This is far from a one-man show and there are contenders aplenty who are more than capable of beating Rahm even if he does play well and I’m going to start with Tony Finau, a player who, like Rahm, is one of the form players around at the moment. 

Farmers Insurance Open Tips

Farmers Insurance Odds

Jon Rahm
WIN PROB: 13%
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4/1
Max Homa
WIN PROB: 5%
1
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7/1
Collin Morikawa
WIN PROB: 6%
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Taylor Montgomery
WIN PROB: 3%
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9/1
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Jason Day
WIN PROB: 4%
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Sahith Theegala
WIN PROB: 2%
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9/1
Brendan Steele
WIN PROB: 1%
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6/1
Sam Ryder
WIN PROB: 0%
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3/1
Justin Thomas
WIN PROB: 2%
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Estanislao Goya
WIN PROB: 2%
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Im Sung-jae
WIN PROB: 2%
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Ben Griffin
WIN PROB: 1%
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Xander Schauffele
WIN PROB: 1%
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Dean Burmester
WIN PROB: 1%
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Tony Finau
WIN PROB: 1%
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Byeong-Hun An
WIN PROB: 1%
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Si Woo Kim
WIN PROB: 1%
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Hideki Matsuyama
WIN PROB: 1%
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Callum Tarren
WIN PROB: 0%
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Joseph Bramlett
WIN PROB: 0%
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Vincent Norrman
WIN PROB: 0%
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Taylor Moore
WIN PROB: 1%
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Stephan Jaeger
WIN PROB: 1%
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Sam Stevens
WIN PROB: 0%
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Andrew Novak
WIN PROB: 0%
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Wyndham Clark
WIN PROB: 1%
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Tano Goya
WIN PROB: 0%
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Maverick McNealy
WIN PROB: 0%
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S.H. Kim
WIN PROB: 0%
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Luke List
WIN PROB: 0%
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Emiliano Grillo
WIN PROB: 0%
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Ryan Palmer
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Will Zalatoris
WIN PROB: 0%
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Justin Rose
WIN PROB: 0%
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Davis Thompson
WIN PROB: 0%
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Keegan Bradley
WIN PROB: 0%
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Brent Grant
WIN PROB: 0%
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Gary Woodland
WIN PROB: 0%
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Thomas Detry
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Aaron Rai
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Taylor Pendrith
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Garrick Higgo
WIN PROB: 0%
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Lanto Griffin
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Scott Stallings
WIN PROB: 0%
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Cameron Champ
WIN PROB: 0%
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Jimmy Walker
WIN PROB: 0%
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Justin Suh
WIN PROB: 0%
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Jhonattan Vegas
WIN PROB: 0%
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Adam Hadwin
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Augusto Nunez
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Matthew Nesmith
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Rickie Fowler
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J.J. Spaun
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