Barry Plummer takes a look at the runners and riders as the stars make the first of two visits to Torrey Pines in 2021

It’s time for the PGA Tour‘s most popular early-year stop at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Tiger Woods isn’t here, but Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson are among those getting an early look at the US Open venue…

Farmers Insurance Open: The details

Venue: Torrey Pines, California, USA

Date: January 28-31, 2021

Course stats: Par 72; 7,698 yards (South course); Par 72; 7,258 yards (North course)

North and South courses will alternate on Thurs/Fri. After the 36 hole cut, both weekend rounds will take place on the South Course.

South Course – Par 72; 7,698 yards

North Course – Par 72; 7,258 yards

Course summary: Players will play one round on each of the South and North course on Thursday and Friday before both weekend rounds are played on the South. Ranking as one of the toughest on the PGA Tour, the South course has long, narrow, Kikuyu fairways and penal rough. In contrast, the North Course plays much shorter, and often easier. One of the main differences between the two courses is the putting surface, with the Poa Annua on the South, and Bentgrass on the North. Accuracy off the tee will be important at both tracks, with little hope for players missing the fairways here. 

Purse: $7.5 million

Defending champion: Marc Leishman (-15)

Farmers Insurance Open TV coverage

Thursday: Featured Groups coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.15pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm
Friday: Featured Groups coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 8pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday: Featured Group coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 3.30pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Sunday: Featured Group coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 4.15pm; Main coverage on Sky Sports Golf from 6pm and Sky Sports Main Event 10pm

Farmers Insurance Open: Who we’re backing

You can listen to me discuss my tips for the Farmers Insurance Open with Steve Carroll on this week’s episode of Dialled In from the NCG Podcast.

Otherwise keep scrolling for a brief overview of who I’m backing and why…

Farmers Insurance Open: Staking plan

Tony Finau – 3pt e/w @ 18/1 with Bet365

Despite not being on Finau last week, I still found myself cheering for him on Sunday to grab that long-awaited win. It wasn’t to be, unfortunately, despite having the joint 54-hole lead, but that positive performance should give him plenty of confidence as he moves on to an event he typically plays very well. In his six appearances at the Farmers, Finau has six top-25 finishes including three in the top 10. His recent form on the PGA Tour is equally as impressive, with two top 10s in his last three starts. On a course where you must avoid the rough, Finau has the accuracy and length to tackle this challenge, ranking 18th for SG: Tee-to-Green this season. Finau has an abundance of form on similar testing tracks, with a top 10 in each of the major championships in the last two years.

Jason Day – 2pt e/w @ 45/1 with Bet365

Day is another man with fantastic form at this event. The Australian has five top-10 finishes in his last eight appearances at the Farmers, including two wins, and was in solid form at the end of 2020 with two top-12 finishes in three events. As a former PGA and Players champion, Day has a solid pedigree on old-school challenging courses. His PGA Championship record further evidences that, with eight consecutive top-25 finishes including when 4th at a tricky Harding Park in 2020. This sort of form on some of the most challenging tracks on Tour, and a well-established affinity for the Poa Annua putting surface, are all the convincing I need to select Day this week. 

Billy Horschel – 2pt e/w @ 45/1 with Bet365

Horschel arrives here in great form, with two 5th-place finishes in his last three events. Torrey Pines is a fiendishly difficult track, so Horschel’s record on similarly technical courses is encouraging. In his career so far, Horschel has a top-30 finish in each of the four major championships, and has won at East Lake in 2014. Horschel has been on fire with the putter in recent weeks, ranking 15th for SG: Putting, and that could be the key to unlocking success here. Two 8th place finishes at this event in the last five years, along with the memory of that win at East Lake, suggest that he knows how to strategically navigate challenging tracks and I think he represents great each-way value here.

Gary Woodland – 1pt e/w @ 75/1 with Bet365

After what has been a challenging start to the season for Woodland, littered with missed cuts, a T16 finish at the American Express last week may well have come just at the right time. Woodland has an excellent history in this event, with five top-20 finishes in his last seven starts. Signs of the Woodland of old emerged at the American Express, ranking 7th in SG: Off-the-Tee out of those who made the cut. That type of performance from the tee would drastically improve his chances if he can replicate that this week, as control and precision are crucial here. Based on his US Open win at Pebble Beach in 2019, we know he can get the job done at challenging venues but he will need to show further signs of consistency. The success of this selection will depend on how well Woodland can progress from the positive signs of last week, and how well he can banish the demons of a poor start to the season to really kick on in 2021.

For more prices, visit Bet365.