The Farmers Insurance preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
He’s back. Tiger makes his long awaited regular tour event comeback at Torrey Pines after 500 plus days and while not wanting to labour the point it does feel exciting without the notion that the game needs him. It clearly doesn’t. It feels more like he needs the game. Recent PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem left the game with $320m in prize money having taken over the job 22 years ago when it had a lousy $56m. Tiger was a big part of that and I for one will be cheering for him – unless he threatens one of my picks!
Torrey Pines South Course reminds me of being on the coast in NSW and also feels like the start of the PGA Tour proper – with all due respect to the Hawaiian leg and last weeks Career Builder.
At 7,698 yards a genuine par 72 this event has history stretching back to 1968 here alone. It was also the scene of Tigers last major the 2008 US Open. Unlike that event this includes a jolly around the North Course which has undergone a significant revamp.
Last year Brandt Sendeker prevailed on a stormy Monday with the round of the year an awesome 69 when the field was posting huge numbers – average 77.9! While we celebrated this it turned out to be one of only two “winners” all year – an indication of just how hard it is to find the winner of a golf tournament.
I can’t see Tiger in the mix. Phil looked like he enjoyed the pies during his enforced layoff and Jason is a crock. Dustbin was batting jet lag having headed to Dubai eastwards last week because he was in California. A strange outcome given he has access to the best advice and flying conditions. Nevertheless he would have hacked up if he’d played the par fives like he should have. So he’s a worthy favourite but too short for us.
Martin Laird 1pt e/w @ 66/1 with
Scott Stalliings 1pt @ e/w 90/1 with
Martin Laird the Scot with the mangled transatlantic voice and swing to boot is a tour grinder. He’ll make a 100 million before he’s finished and maybe 10 plus PGA wins and possibly a major thrown in so it’s all about when we catch him winning. A really solid effort last week produced a 9th at the Career Builder and he comes here with some solid recent C&D efforts. Eighth last year preceded by a 7th in 2015 are by far his best efforts and reflect a player who’s done his apprenticeship on tour. He must like it here this being his 9th visit in ten years and with 3 early missed cuts he’s shown he can grow into a course.
Scott Stallings is very much in the same category as Laird. Three wins and getting better he too will win his share and make a bucket full of cash and who knows he could even sneak a major. He comes here of a sold effort at the Career Builder and has grown into this event. Two early missed cuts preceded a win then a runners up and a 25th here last year. Interesting he was the Stadium Course leader last week over the two rounds played there.