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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Farmers Insurance Open - Final Thoughts

Decisions, decisions. Like I mentioned in my Monday Farmers Insurance Open power rankings post, there are a handful of really good options this week with very little separating them. Here are some final thoughts ahead of the tournament.

I’ve alluded to it before, but there really are some very strong correlations between players that perform well at the Farmers and players that perform well at Quail Hollow. It’s not just the top-tier players either. Trivia question; who was the third member of last year’s Rory McIlroy/Rickie Fowler playoff at Quail Hollow won by Fowler? D.A. Points. He’s a top-10 machine at Torrey Pines.

My one-and-done and two-and-done picks essentially came down to four people. Phil Mickelson, Scott Piercy, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler. I eliminated Tiger Woods because his form is still in question coming out of Abu Dhabi and there are other great spots to use him. I’m staying away from Snedeker because he didn’t perform to expectations last week, and he tends to do better when he’s sneaking up on people. As a defending champ, that won’t be the case this week. Both of these guys have excellent records and could easily prove me wrong.

My gut screams Mickelson this week. My gut often gets me in trouble. Lefty is very good on the par 5s at Torrey Pines, as you would expect, but he makes his share of bogeys. He’s had a little more press this week on matters other than golf for my liking, but he’s a pro. He can handle and compartmentalize that. He’s just not a safe pick. He had a similar result at the Humana in 2012 as he did this year and followed it up with a missed cut. Bottom line, I’m not taking him in the one or two-and-done. I’m probably going to be throwing something on Sunday afternoon if he wins for not listening to my gut.

Piercy has been captain consistent the past six months, and he is solid at Torrey. This makes sense, given his skill set. He’s long enough to attack the par 5s. He’s a great option.

Bubba is more than a little like Mickelson, but I’m a tad more comfortable with his form and recent history at Torrey. They have a similar top end this week, but Bubba feels just a little less risky on the bottom end. I’m not burning Bubba’s one-and-done yet, but I am going to play him in my two-and-done.

That leaves Rickie. He’s never been outside the top 20 here in three tries. He’s started his season here twice, and the one time he didn’t and played at least one event before, he tied for fifth. He’s already played an event this year. He’s a So-Cal guy. He’s won at Quail Hollow. He doesn’t make that many bogeys on the South Course, but I wish he made a few more birdies on the par 5s. Rickie’s my one-and-done this week. His history here is very similar to his Quail Hollow history before that win.

Best of luck!

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