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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Farmers Insurance Open - Preview

Next up on the PGA TOUR schedule is the Farmers Insurance Open, and here is a preview to get you off an running with your research.

This event is hosted on two different courses, with Torrey Pines South Golf Course serving as the host and Torrey Pines North Course utilized over the first two days. Essentially, each player alternates between the North and South Course for the first two rounds, while all action is on the more difficult South Course for the weekend rounds. 

It is absolutely worth nothing that Torrey Pines features poa annua greens. They are traditionally very bumpy, especially as the afternoon wear on and the spike marks pick up, and there is no such thing as a gimmie. 

You will remember that Torrey Pines South  hosted the 2008 U.S. Open, which happens to be the last time Tiger Woods won a major championship. 

Here is a look at the winners and runners-up since 2005:
  • 2005 - Winner: Tiger Woods (16-under 272) over Luke Donald, Charles Howell III and Tom Lehman (275)
  • 2006 - Winner: Tiger Woods (278) over Nathan Green and Jose Maria Olazabal (Playoff)
  • 2007 - Winner: Tiger Woods (273) over Charles Howell III (275)
  • 2008 - Winner: Tiger Woods (269) over Ryuji Imada (277)
  • 2009 - Winner: Nick Watney (277) over John Rollins (278)
  • 2010 - Winner: Ben Crane (275) over Marc Leishman, Michael Sim and Brandt Snedeker (276)
  • 2011 - Winner: Bubba Watson (272) over Phil Mickelson (273)
  • 2012 - Winner: Brandt Snedeker (272) over Kyle Stanley (Playoff)
  • 2013 - Winner: Tiger Woods (274) over Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater (278)
  • 2014 - Winner: Scott Stallings (279) over K.J. Choi, Jason Day, Graham DeLaet, Marc Leishman and Pat Perez (280)
So what do we notice?
  • The obvious takeaway is that this has been Tiger Woods' personal playground, and it has. 
  • Digging a little deeper, there are two types of players that show up on this list. Those that are extremely powerful and those that are very good / great putters. It just so happens that Tiger in his prime was both. 
  • Also noteworthy, Snedeker is known as a bit of a poa annua putting machine. His wins here and at Pebble Beach, as well as the 2013 RBC Canadian Open all came on poa annua. 
  • This list is not full of natives of the Southeast U.S., meaning success on Bermuda greens may not translate very well. That could be a bit of a stretch, but not much. 
When putting together this week's power ranking, current form will certainly be a factor. I will take a look at not only course history, but poa annua history. There are a number of strong par 4s on this course, so par 4 scoring average is a factor even though there are only 10 of them / round. 

We will return Tuesday with the power ranking. Until then, happy research! 

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