Time for the event that is the nearest and dearest to my heart. The Buick Invitational, or Farmers Insurance Open as it goes by now. Growing up in San Diego, this week was always marked on my calendar. I played many high school matches on the course, and watching Tiger tear the place up year after year was an unmissable event for a newly obsessed golfer.
This event has been held in San Diego since 1952. Originally hosted by San Diego Country Club, the tournament would jump venues until 1968 when a partnership with Torrey Pines Golf Course began. Since then, the tournament has been split between the North and South courses at Torrey Pines with the South Course playing host on the weekend.
From 2006-2009 Tiger Woods won the event every year by an average of 3.5 strokes. I remember driving up to Torrey Pines certain that I would be watching another Tiger win. This year Tigers makes his return, he hasn't won here since 2013, and missed the cut last year. I have no expectations for him, but I will say that I'm excited to see him tee it up at a course he has dominated so heavily in the past.
This event always plays as one of the toughest events on the PGA Tour season. Stroke average was 73.79 on the South Course, almost 2 over par. My favorite thing about this event, is that the best player wins more often than not. Statistical dominance in this event doesn't equal success. Dustin Johnson is the best driver of the golf ball in the world, it seems like this course would be a match made in heaven for him, yet he has missed 2 of 3 cuts in this event in the last 3 years. And he posted an 80 in the year he did make the cut.
The South Course plays a ball busting 7,698 yards, the longest non major course on the PGA Tour. The North Course plays slightly shorter, at 7,258 yards, and has been historically a birdie fest for the big boys.
Solid Bets: Tony Finau, Charles Howell III, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose
Dark Horses: Kyle Stanley, Patrick Rodgers, Tiger Woods (does he count as a dark horse...?)
My Pick: Tony Finau, as much as I wanted to pick Tyler Torano, it's scary to go with someone on their first PGA Tour start.