Favorite Plays by Tier
Farmers Insurance Open: Torrey Pines North and South Courses, San Diego, CA
It looks fairly calm for the week. Nothing more than 10 mph winds until Sunday, where the leaders may get 15 mph gusts according to WindFinder. No rain in the forecast either, so it doesn't appear to be any weather advantages by course or tee-times. Of course, if you are playing multiple lineups, building some lineups each way is always a good idea, in case one course split happens to play out easier.
There is some disagreement from Fantasy National and FanShare on the ownership ranges. These are the players who are trending towards ownership around 20% (some may come in lower, as there isn't mass agreement on many players), in no particular order: Xander Schauffele, Ryan Palmer, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Marc Leishman, Jon Rahm, and Lanto Griffin.
For me, any time I see Ryan Palmer towards being heavily owned, it's a fade. He is a good golfer and is playing quite well: but, I just don't think he's someone I'm willing to eat chalk on. Lanto Griffin is potentially in the same category. I think some combination of Palmer, McIlroy, Woodland, and Matsuyama will be among the two highest owned players. When constructing lineups, consider a pivot or if playing 2-3 of them, throw in someone very low owned into the mix as well.
- I mentioned on the podcast how Rickie Fowler would be a very contrarian pick due to two reasons: his weekend struggles at The American Express and his struggles at this event since becoming a spokesman for Farmers. I still believe in both and won't be using him. However, the more I think about this aspect, the more I am a bit concerned about Xander Schauffele. You would think he would be good here, considering he went to San Diego St. But, maybe that puts more pressure on him and he gets a little more spotlight than he's used to. Perhaps the thing that I'm digging into more than I should (or right on top of it) is that at most events, the player with local roots or sponsor's main golfer can do the extra work and get the extra attention, but not be bothered so much because the courses are somewhat "average" (can't think of a better term) for PGA Tour standards. However, Torrey Pines is a U.S. Open type of course that plays much longer and tougher than the average tour event, and that's in normal weather. I wonder if it's possible that the uptick in difficulty combined with the non-routine obligations that Fowler, Schauffele, and any other golfer that represents Famers or is from this area, is enough that they don't perform well or struggle more than we think they should. I am completely willing to accept that I may be off on this whole premise or that I'm overanalyizing it. It's just something that I have thought about the past couple of days.
- So that does mean that I may not use Schauffele this week. If I don't, my pivot is to Justin Rose. I don't need much of a reason to play Rose, as you know I use him quite a bit in weeks he plays (except this event last year. I'm not bitter about that still or anything). But I did notice something about how the defending champion does the following year here. It's been pretty good. Snedeker followed up both wins with Top 10s, Stallings was runner-up, and we've seen Tiger and Phil win back to back years. Yes, you have a missed cut by Jason Day the year after he won and an 80th by Tiger after he won. Rahm was 29th after his win and Bubba was 13th. So it's not a perfect stat. But, I think I was factoring in last year's win as a slight negative to Rose this year. Now that I see what past winners have done, and combine that with concern about Xander, I may end up with Rose over Xander as my favorite play in the 10k tier. I nearly put both down as favorite plays on Monday Night, but went with Xander. It's these tie-breakers that I and you can use to differeniate between two simlarly priced golfers. Don't rely on my narrative or finish the following year to be the main reason you choose someone: but, feel free to use that or any other information/narrative you come up with to break a tie.
Course Ranks (#1 is Toughest)
- Torrey Pines North: 45th out of 49 courses, playing 2.160 Strokes UNDER Par
- Torrey Pines South: 18th out of 49 courses, playing 0.271 Strokes UNDER Par
- Torrey Pines North: 28th out of 51 courses, playing 0.590 Strokes UNDER Par
- Torrey Pines South: 8th out of 51 courses, playing 0.813 Strokes OVER Par
- Torrey Pines North: 32nd out of 50 courses, playing 0.723 Strokes UNDER Par
- Torrey Pines South: 14th out of 50 courses, playing 0.766 Strokes OVER Par
As you can see in the course ranks, there is a big difference between the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines. The cut will happen after Round Two, with each player getting one round on each course before the cut. Both weekend rounds are played at the South Course. This course has hosted U.S. Opens and is a major quality type of course. Lots of big names play in this event and you see that again this year (Rory, Tiger, Rahm, Rose, etc...). You will want to use players who can scramble and who traditionally play tougher courses and/or majors very well. Bogey Avoidance will be a stat I will consider much more heavily than Birdies or Better this week.