Golf Rankings for Farmers Insurance Open
The South Course at Torrey Pines is the longest played in a regular PGA Tour event. Those that have excelled with distance off the tee have certainly won a number of these tournaments but that's not the only way to score a victory. Since 2006, five of the six winners finished ninth or better in hitting greens. In fact, the last two winners each paced in the field in that statistic.
Nick Watney [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #134
Since 2007 at Torrey Pines (including the 2008 U.S. Open), Watney owns four top-10s in six starts highlighted by a win in 2009. Watney began this season with a T12 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after ending last year’s regular season first in points. He also ranked fifth in birdie average, scoring average and All-Around Ranking. With an average finish of 5.3 in his last three trips to Torrey Pines, Watney is this week's top selection.
Brandt Snedeker [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #24
A T8 in the Humana Challenge last week marked an impressive start to the season for Snedeker. Also, keep in mind he started last year’s FedExCup Playoffs with a pair of third-place results. At Torrey Pines he’s collected three top-threes and four top-10s since 2007, including the 2008 U.S. Open. Snedeker is an elite player with the putter and is clearly cruising at a high level right now.
Phil Mickelson [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #31
Last year’s runner-up result was Mickelson’s best at Torrey Pines since winning this event back-to-back in 2000 and 2001. In the 10 starts since, Lefty has only missed one cut while picking up five finishes of eighth or better. Mickelson is coming off a disappointing T49 last week at the Humana Challenge, but is an elite player with a stellar record on this course.
Among players that have competed in this event more than three times, Howell’s 21.6 average finish is tops in the field this week. Since 2003, he’s finished as the runner-up twice, with four top-10s and six top-15s. Howell began his season with a share of second in the Sony Open, but slid to a T49 at the Humana Challenge. Expect him to bounce back quickly.
Hunter Mahan [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #76
This event will mark Mahan’s 2012 Tour debut. Since 2009, he’s finished 11th or better each time at Torrey Pines (including a career-best T6 last year). Mahan went on to the season ninth in birdie average, 13th in strokes gained – putting and fourth in All-Around Ranking.
With two starts this season, Crane has finished T9 and T8, respectively. Thus far, he ranks eighth in birdie average and 15th in All-Around Ranking. At Torrey Pines, Crane has a win from 2010 and three straight finishes of 14th or better.
After struggling mightily in the 2008 U.S. Open and again during this event in 2009, Points has appeared to figure out Torrey Pines. He finished T9 in 2010 and fifth last year, despite shooting 1-over in the opening round. In addition to those impressive performances, Points finished T12 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and T6 in the Sony Open.
Bill Haas [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #41
It’s been a slow start for last year’s FedExCup champion. Haas finished 20th out of 27 players in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and T64 last week. Over the last three years at Torrey Pines, he’s finished 11th or better twice. Last year, Haas ended the second and third rounds with the lead, but a 3-over on Sunday dropped him to T9.
Bubba Watson [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #5
Watson won this event last year by leading the field in both driving distance and greens hit. Since 2007 he owns another top-five and top-10 in five starts at Torrey Pines. In the season opener at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Watson finished T18. He’s a bomber off the tee and hits green on a regular basis, but the rest of his game can see fluctuation from time to time. Challenging a repeat is far from a sure thing.
Marc Leishman [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #28
In three starts at Torrey Pines, Leishman has never finished worse than 26th. In 2010, he earned a share of second and backed it up with a T9 last year. In his most recent start, Leishman finished T6 in the Australian PGA Championship. While his performances have been somewhat uneven stateside, this is one course where Leishman can be penciled into your lineup.
Rickie Fowler [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #4
After finishing with a T5 at Torrey Pines in 2010, Fowler fired a 7-under in the opening round on the same course a year ago. Over the final three rounds, he would only shoot 2-under the rest of the way to finish T20. This will be Fowler’s first start of the year after ranking sixth in birdie average, 20th in scoring average and 17th in All-Around Ranking in 2011.
Brendon de Jonge [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #155
With a T10 in the Sony Open and a T12 last week, de Jonge is off to a fast start. He didn’t compete at Torrey Pines last year and has missed two cuts in this event in three starts since 2007. However, de Jonge is playing well enough to ignore all that right now. He currently ranks fifth on Tour in both scoring average and All-Around Ranking.