This weekend, the PGA Tour heads to Torrey Pines GC, the famous San Diego municipal course, for the Famers Insurance Open. The action tees off Thursday morning at 6:00 EST. There’s plenty to think about before getting your lineup ready, from the course, to the format, to the field and down to the individual players. This is meant to provide you with some insight into some of that. You’re still responsible for the rest. Good luck.
Torrey Pines CG is located in La Jolla, CA, and consists of two full 18-hole courses, North and South. The tournament uses both courses on Thursday and Friday, and plays on the South course for the weekend.
The South course is generally considered the more difficult, although they are both par-72. The South course, though, comes in at almost 600 yards longer – at over 7,600 yards, it is the longest course of the PGA season. You see the difference in length on the South course across the board, with a couple of long par-3’s, as well as several par-4’s that will favor players who can drive the ball both long and straight. The par-4, 504 yard 12th is a perfect example of this, because a 300+ yard drive still leaves you almost 200 yards at an elevated green. There are bunkers to each side of both the fairway and the green, so accuracy with your driver and your irons is essential. You can see why Tiger has dominated here when you think about what his game was all about in his prime and take even just a glance at the course layout. (Yes, dominated: 7 wins in this tournament, 8 wins on the course including a U.S. Open, and a course record 62 in 1999).
While the winner of the tournament is going to be someone who can master the South course, it’s important for players, for both professional and fantasy purposes, to take advantage of the scoring chances when they come in the first two rounds, especially on the North course. There were nine holes on the North course last year with scoring averages below par, including all four par-5’s. Compare that to the South course, where, other than the par 5’s, there was only one hole with a scoring average under par. Sure, you look at the 600+ yard par-5’s on the North course, and it makes you wish you could just roll with Bubba, but being able to take advantage of the opportunities when they are available and stay consistent when they aren’t takes an all-around game.
But to win the tournament, or lead your fantasy team to a win, you need someone who is going to card birdies. On the South course as a whole, in last year’s tournament, players averaged a +1. The putting never seems to be a big problem here, with relatively straightforward greens once you get there, so you need an aggressive shot-maker – again, there is a reason players like Tiger and Mickelson have excelled here in the past.
While you might not want to trust those two, and understandably so, this is a course unique enough that it makes sense to look more closely at past success here than recent success elsewhere, and challenging enough that you might want to pony up for as many of those top players as possible. There are 13 in the field from the top-25 in the world rankings, and they are there for a reason, with games well-rounded enough to take on a Torrey Pines.