2018 PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open Picks and Odds

Last Updated: 2018-01-22

farmers insurance open golfThe return of Tiger Woods is the biggest story for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California. Players will alternate between the North Course and the South Course over the first two days, but the South Course will be the track in question on Saturday and Sunday. The South Course measures nearly 7,700 yards, so this is definitely a course for big hitters and you’ll have to factor that into your handicap.

We’ve got a very strong field for this year’s event. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas won’t be out there, but Jason Day’s first start of 2018 is another headline-grabber. Reigning champion Jon Rahm is favored, with Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, and Woods rounding out that top five per the odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook. We should have some Sunday drama at this event. Rahm’s three-stroke win was just the second win of more than one shot since 2008, when Woods won his sixth Farmers Insurance Open/Buick Invitational. The other was Woods’s seventh win in this event back in 2013.

Windy conditions are expected to be a big factor on Thursday, so a key element of your handicap will be seeing which players are playing which course on Day One. The monstrous length of the South Course could play even tougher with nearly 7,700 yards of holes. Eleven of the top 25 players are in action and not all of them will get the mild respite of playing the North Course on a windy day.

Jon Rahm is +740 to defend his Farmers Insurance Open title. That was the springboard to what was an incredible year for Rahm. It doesn’t seem like that will stop in 2018. Rahm just won last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge in a playoff over Andrew Landry and was the runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions to Dustin Johnson. Rahm actually opened with an even par 72, but it was the 65 that he finished with that led to victory. Rahm won two events on the European Tour, including the DP World Tour Championship in November. He finished in the top seven of each FedEx Cup Playoffs event. He has put himself into that elite caliber and is a strong favorite this week. Playing the chalk is rarely worthwhile, but this course is built for Rahm.

Rickie Fowler is the second favorite at +1130. Each year, it seems like people are calling for that Fowler breakout year and it hasn’t happened yet. Fowler remains the most accomplished player without a win in a major. Fowler finished fifth at the US Open and the PGA Championship last year. His only win came in The Honda Classic. He won the Hero World Challenge back in December, but that isn’t a FedEx Cup points event. The 29-year-old has missed the cut here each of the last two years and tied for 61st in 2015. His only good finish in the last five years came back in 2013 when he finished sixth. That’s only the second time in five years that he has played all 72 holes. It’s hard to take him at this price, even though he has three top-five finishes, including the win, this season.

Hideki Matsuyama, who has played extremely well at next week’s event, the Waste Management Open, will tee it up in the US for the first time this season. He was fifth at the CIMB Classic, fifth at the Hero World Challenge, and fourth in Maui at the Tournament of Champions. Like Fowler, he is a high-upside player that hasn’t played well here. He was 16th in 2014, but missed the cut in 2015 and 2016 and was 33rd last year and didn’t break 70. He’s a big hitter, so these two courses should play to his strengths, but it just hasn’t worked out. At +1420, he’s just not worth it this week. But, if he’s at a similar price point next week in Phoenix, keep him in mind.

Justin Rose is +1475 this week. Rose won the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai back in October and played well at the Hero World Challenge. The 37-year-old is in a weird spot here, though, as he returns stateside from playing the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. He finished 22nd. He’s a tough sell at this price given the travel schedule.

Tiger Woods is +2050, which isn’t a fair price for him. The hype train will fire up this week if he swings it well in practice and he has seven wins in this event plus a US Open win at Torrey Pines, so this has kind of been his course. He was reportedly pain-free at the Hero World Challenge and announced that this would be his return event. Maybe the novelty is there to take Tiger, but the value is not.

So, where is the value? Well, JB Holmes is worthy of some investment at +8000. Holmes is a long hitter that has had a lot of success here in the past. He didn’t last year when he finished tied for 33rd at 4-under, but he was tied for sixth in 2016 and had a great chance to win after 54 holes but fired a final-round 76 as the players had an awful time with rainy conditions and wind. He finished second in 2015 when he lost to Jason Day in a four-way playoff with Scott Stallings and Harris English. Holmes has not played well in his two events this season, but this course is a good one for him.

Brian Harman has a less exciting price at +3300, but he’s been really good this season. In five events, Harman has five top-20 finishes and four top-10 finishes. Harman was in the top 10 last year at Torrey Pines after finishing dead last among those that made the cut last year. He shot 69-70-79-86 as the weather really got the worst of him over the weekend. Brandt Snedeker is another guy in that price range at +3500 that plays well on west coast courses, including his win in the monsoon two years ago. He has three straight top-20 finishes and has been in the top 10 in consecutive years.

The value appears to be back on Xander Schauffele at +6000. His prices were a little too low after how he ended the 2016-17 season, but we’re back to a point where there’s some value. Schauffele is actually a La Jolla native who played his college golf at Long Beach State and then San Diego State. He has a lot of familiarity with this course and the local weather conditions. He’s worth a look in some matchups and at this price.

Coverage of the Farmers Insurance Open will be on Golf Channel and CBS with the featured groups available at PGATour.com.

Odds as of January 22, 3:30 p.m. ET

Jon Rahm +740

Rickie Fowler +1130

Hideki Matsuyama +1420

Justin Rose +1475

Tiger Woods +2050

Jason Day +2125

Marc Leishman +2200

Tony Finau +3300

Brian Harman +3300

Patrick Cantlay +3500

Brandt Snedeker +3500

Phil Mickelson +4000

Charles Howell III +4000

Gary Woodland +4000

Ollie Schniederjans +4500

Cameron Smith +4500

Shane Lowry +5000

Patrick Reed +5000

Bud Cauley +5000

Brendan Steele +5000

Jhonattan Vegas +5000

Kyle Stanley +5500

Xander Schauffele +6000

Francesco Molinari +6000

Charley Hoffman +6600

Keegan Bradley +6600

Russell Knox +6600

Adam Hadwin +6600

Alex Noren +6600

Grayson Murray +7000

Peter Uihlein +8000

J.B. Holmes +8000

James Hahn +8000

Lucas Glover +8500

Kevin Streelman +9000

Si-Woo Kim +10000

Jamie Lovemark +10000

J.J. Spaun +10000

Emiliano Grillo +10000

Bryson Dechambeau +10000

Andrew Landry +10000

Bill Haas +10000

Billy Horschel +10000

Chesson Hadley +10000

Chris Kirk +10000

Stewart Cink +12500

Martin Laird +12500

Patrick Rodgers +12500

C.T. Pan +12500

Brandon Harkins +12500

Anirban Lahiri +12500

Beau Hossler +12500

Aaron Wise +12500

David Lingmerth +12500

Harris English +12500

Jimmy Walker +12500

John Huh +12500

Nick Taylor +15000

Tom Hoge +15000

Scott Stallings +15000

Ryan Palmer +15000

Robert Streb +17500

Nick Watney +17500

Luke List +17500

Luke Donald +20000

Martin Piller +20000

Kelly Kraft +20000

Seamus Power +20000

Sean O’Hair +20000

Sung-Hoon Kang +20000

K.J. Choi +20000

Jonas Blixt +20000

Hunter Mahan +20000

Harold Varner III +20000

Cameron Davis +20000

Kevin Tway +22500

Martin Flores +25000

Matt Jones +25000

Meen-Whee Kim +25000

Michael Thompson +25000

Talor Gooch +25000

Trey Mullinax +25000

Smylie Kaufman +25000

Rory Sabbatini +25000

Robert Garrigus +25000

Padraig Harrington +25000

Retief Goosen +25000

Richy Werenski +25000

Aaron Baddeley +25000

Chad Campbell +25000

Danny Lee +25000

J.T. Poston +25000

Maverick McNealy +27500

Ben Crane +27500

Morgan Hoffmann +30000

Nate Lashley +30000

Nicholas Lindheim +30000

Michael Kim +30000

Rob Oppenheim +30000

Shawn Stefani +30000

Tyler Duncan +30000

Tyrone Van Aswegen +30000

Tom Lovelady +30000

Sang-Moon Bae +30000

Zac Blair +30000

Ben Silverman +30000

Alex Cejka +30000

Cameron Tringale +30000

Camilo Villegas +30000

Cody Gribble +30000

Brice Garnett +30000

Jonathan Byrd +30000

Jim Herman +30000

David Hearn +30000

Corey Conners +30000

Geoff Ogilvy +30000

Keith Mitchell +32500

Mac Hughes +35000

Matt Every +35000

Sam Burns +35000

Derek Fathauer +35000

Jonathan Randolph +35000

Johnson Wagner +35000

Bronson Burgoon +35000

Andrew Putnam +35000

Adam Schenk +35000

Rod Pampling +40000

Stephan Jaeger +40000

Xinjun Zhang +40000

Ted Potter, Jr. +40000

Abraham Ancer +40000

Andrew Loupe +45000

Steve Wheatcroft +50000

Roberto Diaz +50000

Sam Ryder +50000

Norman Xiong +50000

Peter Malnati +50000

Lanto Griffin +50000

Brett Stegmaier +50000

Conrad Shindler +50000

Joel Dahmen +50000

Kyle Thompson +55000

Troy Merritt +55000

J.J. Henry +55000

Denny Mccarthy +60000

Matt Atkins +75000

Zecheng Dou +75000

Michael Block +100000

Ethan Tracy +100000

Andrew Yun +100000

 

-END OF 2018 PREVIEW-

 

One of the most beloved courses in the United States is the site of this weekend’s Farmers Insurance Open. Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA is a regular stop on the PGA Tour calendar for this event and it also hosted the U.S. Open back in 2008. The U.S. Open will return to the outskirts of San Diego in 2021. This week, however, the north course and the south course will come into play, as players try to conquer one of golf’s more reasonable par 72s and one of golf’s most difficult par 72s.

The South Course at Torrey Pines will host the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday and it is definitely a behemoth of a track. The course will play at 7,698 yards this weekend as it winds and weaves along the Pacific Ocean coastline. The North Course is a few ticks over 7,000 yards this year and will be played by each player on one of the first two days of the tournament. The South Course has four par 5s and the shortest of them is a 560-yard monster. There is one par 4 measuring north of 500 yards.

Players that start with the North Course may have an edge. The North Course opens up with a couple of holes that players should have success with and it could help get the swing mechanics in motion. Players on the South Course are going to have to tame the beast right from the start and that could present a problem for some players, especially those that may be shorter off the tee.

Length off the tee will be essential this week. That’s part of the reason why Jason Day is the reigning champion here. Because of the relatively low winning scores, relative to other early-season tournaments, the top of the leaderboard is almost always bunched up at Torrey Pines. Day’s 9-under victory required a four-person playoff. Scott Stallings won in 2014 by one stroke and five players shared second place. Tiger Woods is the only golfer since 2000 to win this event by multiple strokes. Woods is a seven-time winner here, with the most recent victory coming in 2013 by four shots. He won by eight shots in 2008, two shots in 2007, a playoff in 2006, three shots in 2005, four shots in 2003, and two shots in 1999 when he fired event records of 266 and 22-under. Phil Mickelson is a three-time winner here, but he has not won since 2001.

Those that like to ride momentum will be not be able to back last week’s winner, Jason Dufner, who is not participating in this event. That could open the door for some Mickelson money. Lefty shot 21-under at the CareerBuilder Challenge last weekend and was consistent throughout with a 68-65-66-68 set of scores. Mickelson hasn’t won since the 2013 Open Championship, but this is his hometown course and he has always played well in these California tournaments. At 5Dimes Sportsbook, Lefty is a 20/1 shot to take the crown and snap his longstanding tournament drought.

Jason Day tees up for the second time this season after finishing tied for 10th at Kapalua earlier this month. Day is the tournament favorite at +650. The only reigning champions to win here are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and JC Snead, so history is not on the Australian’s side this week. Day was a little bit erratic in his first two rounds at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions as he shook off the rust, but he finished strong by carding a final-round 65. There’s not a lot of value on him at this price, but it’s hard to argue with his status as the favorite.

Rickie Fowler is the second favorite at 5Dimes at 10/1. Travel is possibly the only thing that will slow Fowler down. The fluorescently-clad big hitter was the winner at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates to win one of the biggest European Tour events of the season. Fowler is now a top-five player in the world and will get some attention this week, but it’s really hard to take a player with that kind of travel off of a big win. Fowler is likely a stay-away this week.

Past champion Brandt Snedeker is getting some respect this week at 17/1. Snedeker won in a playoff in 2012 when Kyle Stanley triple-bogeyed 18 and was in no shape to compete in a winner-take-all playoff. Snedeker was also runner-up in 2013, albeit four shots behind Tiger Woods, and finished tied for second in 2010. Snedeker seems to swing it really well at Torrey Pines. He’ll definitely get some action this week based on his past successes in La Jolla.

There are some solid players in the 50/1 range this week. JB Holmes was one of the playoff participants last year and he can be found at 50/1. The same can be said about Harris English, who had a near-miss at last year’s event. Marc Leishman is in the 50/1 group and is a two-time runner-up at this event. Emiliano Grillo, winner of the Frys.com event at Silverado CC to kick off the 2016 season, is at 55/1.

Live betting or final round betting could prove to be profitable here. The leader after 54 holes has only sealed the deal once in the last 12 years. That player, not surprisingly, was Tiger Woods in 2008. He rolled the field that year by eight strokes.

A story that could yield some interesting buzz is the debut of 17-year-old Ryan Ruffels. The Australian-born player shot 66 at the RBC Canadian Open and then petered out over the next two rounds, but he’s certainly going to attempt to make things interesting and possibly write a big story here. If you feel like gambling, he’s going off at 300/1.

Golf Channel and CBS will have all of the coverage of this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Free Farmers Insurance Open Picks:

Jason Day (6/1)
Phil Mickelson (20/1)
Brandt Snedeker (17/1)
Paul Casey (50/1)

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