When you win consecutive tournaments to start the year, it’s entirely understandable to want to go home. Jon Rahm isn’t doing that just yet, he only will feel like he is.
Because of Rahm’s affinity for Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California, and how much it reminds him of his native Spain, it’s a home game away from home for the PGA TOUR’s only multiple champion of 2022-23, so it very well could be a race for second place at the Farmers Insurance Open.
They’re still going to go ahead and conduct the tournament, anyway. Oh, and for the second straight year, it begins on Wednesday and ends on Saturday. The format and more details of the tournament can be found below.
POWER RANKINGS: FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
Defending champion Luke List, Harris English, Justin Rose, Ryan Palmer and J.B. Holmes will be among the notables reviewed in Draws and Fades.
You’ll excuse the creative license beside Rahm in the No. 1 slot above, but honestly, unless you’ve been asleep under, say, a Torrey pine, you don’t need supportive evidence. El tipo está en fuego.
Rahm’s success at Torrey Pines speaks to his comfort level but it’s also a reflection of his fit. Like Kapalua and last week’s triumvirate of tracks, there are four par 5s on both the North Course and the South Course. He doesn’t need par 5s to prevail, but they sure don’t hurt with his brawn.
Each of the 156 in the field will play the North and the South once before the 36-hole cut of low 65 and ties falls. After it does, only the South will be used for the third and fourth rounds. During Saturday’s finale, the first round of the Advocates Pro Golf Association Tour’s Farmers Insurance Invitational will begin on the North Course. It’s two-round competition will conclude on the South on Sunday.
Just like the agenda of the week, the setups on each course are the same as last year, well, almost. The gnarliest rough is up half-an-inch to four inches, and pending wind, the combination Poa-bentgrass greens could run to as far as 13 feet on the Stimpmeter. That would be six inches longer than usual.
In fact, the wind will be flapping trousers during Thursday’s second round, and it’ll be pushing in from the northeast, so a daytime high in the upper 60s will be warmest on this day. The air barely will eclipse 60 degrees the rest of the time, it at all. A morning marine layer also cannot be ruled out, but with cooperative conditions overall, and with split tees used on each course in every round, darkness shouldn’t threaten the completion of play.
At 7,765 yards, Torrey South is the longest course that hosts a PGA TOUR-operated tournament. Torrey North tips at just 7,258 yards, but with heavy air alongside the Pacific Ocean, guys will appreciate the advancements in equipment over the years so as not to be hitting long irons into most greens that are a little smaller than average.
Both courses are par 72s, but the North is considerably easier, so would-be contenders need to capitalize on it to take the pressure off to compensate on the South. Last year, the North averaged 68.769. In the same two rounds, the South came in at 73.013. Across all four rounds, the South averaged 72.350, which essentially hit the bull’s-eye of the moving target. The spike in scoring in 2021 (at 73.340) could be blamed mostly by the influence of early planning for the U.S. Open that summer, which, of course, Rahm won.
Luke List defends his only PGA TOUR title this week. En route to 15-under 273, he carded a 68 in the second round on Torrey North. In the FedExCup era (2007-present), all but one champion of the Farmers has gone sub-70 on the North – Brandt Snedeker with a second-round 70 in 2016. The irony is that Sneds co-owns the course record on the North with a 61 in 2007.
Next week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am does not have an open qualifier but top 10s at the Farmers will gain entry if not already exempt.
Original article by Rob Bolton on PGA Tour