The PGA Tour season gets underway in a variety of ways, but perhaps the most low-key opening day is highlighted by the Farmers Insurance Open, which will be the first tournament to be broadcast on network television in 2022. It features a stacked field on a golf course and surrounding area that have the feel of a major tournament.
In addition, the list of winners is impressive. Tiger Woods (seven times), Phil Mickelson (three times), Jason Day (twice), Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Davis Love III, and Bubba Watson have all won titles at Torrey Pines over the last 25 years, and there’s a good chance that another big name will add his name to the trophy this week.
Let’s take a closer look at this week’s contest, which is being sponsored by Caesars Sportsbook and offering odds.
Event: Farmers Insurance Open | Dates: Jan. 26-29
Location: Torrey Pines Golf Course – La Jolla, Calif.
Par: 72 | Purse: $8.4 million
Three things to know
1. Jon Rahm owns Torrey
The rumors are true: Rahm has been a thorn in the side on this golf course. Only four golfers in this field have played at least 15 rounds on the South Course (which hosts three of the four rounds), and only four of them have a strokes gained number greater than 1.5 strokes per round (meaning they gain 1.5 strokes per round on the field on this course). The first three are Patrick Reed (1.55), Tony Finau (1.76), and Brandt Snedeker (2.11), with Rahm (2.43!) rounding out the field. He’s lost to a total of 11 golfers in four tournaments — the 2017 Farmers, 2019 Farmers, 2020 Farmers, 2021 Farmers, and 2021 U.S. Open — while also winning two. We aren’t quite at “Tiger at Torrey” threat levels yet, but we aren’t far off.
2. DeChambeau’s dance
Bryson DeChambeau hasn’t competed in the Farmers Insurance Open since he missed the cut in the previous year. Seven months ago, however, he was tied for the lead at the U.S. Open after 63 holes, but Rahm went on to win and DeChambeau finished T26 with Rikuya Hoshino and Chris Baker in the tournament. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can learn from him. That’s true most weeks, but perhaps especially so in this one, at a course that rewards distance while simultaneously showing no substantial link between strokes gained and strokes gained off the tee in any of the previous seven Farmers Insurance Opens (as of this writing). Although it is a lengthy and in-depth analysis, we don’t need to dwell on it for the time being, and it may or may not have anything to do with DeChambeau or his chances, it is worth pondering and reflecting on as the tournament progresses. DeChambeau has often played below-average golf in his short experience in the United States (and well below what we would normally expect from him at a Tour event). Especially in light of his wild closing nine holes of the fourth round of last year’s U.S. Open, in which he scored 44 on the back nine to utterly eliminate himself from contention, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens this time!
3. The anniversary
This week will mark exactly one year when Reed created what is likely to be the most contentious moment in golf history in 2021. One that included scooping up a ball he believed to be plugged — even though video footage proved that the ball had jumped in the air — and requesting a rules official to place his fingers into a dip in the ground that the ball had presumably left behind, among other things (even though Reed himself said it was impossible for a ball that bounces to plug). Reed went on to win the tournament by five strokes over five other golfers, including Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, and Xander Schauffele, who finished second and third, respectively. The incident will not be the dominant plot this week — and it should not be — but it will be addressed and replayed throughout the episode.
Read the original article on CBS Sports.