Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
PARAGLIDING INTO TORREY
The PGA Tour stays in surprisingly wet and damp Southern California (lately) for another week, and we’re headed back to Torrey! It’s the familiar grounds of Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA for the 68th playing of the Farmers Insurance Open. Don’t let the ocean views and paragliders distract you from the winners we’re picking. Also of important note: we’re picking our winners EARLY this week due to the Wednesday start of this event. You’re welcome!
The Amex aka Bob Hope brought the continuation of the Jon Rahm heater, and last week’s tour winner just happens to love this week’s venue as well. Rahm has hoisted both a Farmers Insurance Open trophy and U.S. Open Trophy at Torrey Pines, and heads into this week as the prohibitive favorite at +400 – the lowest pre-tournament odds for any player in months if not years, dating back to Rory or a guy named Tiger.
The history of professional golf at Torrey Pines is immense, ranging from decades of thrilling finishes at the par 5 18th of the Farmers Insurance Open to the epic 2008 U.S Open one-legged win from Tiger. The field will play one round on the easier North Course for a breather, but three of the four rounds for every player are played on the more brutal South Course. The 7700+ yard layout on Torrey South can play longer and windier in inclement conditions. The forecast looks cool, sunny, and calm for now, but that won’t change the fact that length matters this week.
In the field this week tailing Jon Rahm and Cali kids like Xander Schauffele and Colin Morikawa, who just announced he’s a part of the new TGL venture coming to golf in 2024. Also in the field are Tony Finau, JT, Hideki, and a slew of top players looking to get a big-boy win in January.
FORECASTING THE FARMERS
Torrey – break out the windbreakers and winter hats. Despite the fact we’re in SoCal, the days at Torrey will be far from a Cali vacation. The fog could roll in, the cliffs can be distracting and the ball just doesn’t fly the way you want it to. This track takes some learning for sure, and it makes me think that anyone contending with Rahm is going to have experience here, and their best stuff to boot.
I’m prefacing my weekly picks based on exactly what I value the most. With every play I make, I’m always taking into account these factors, and for The Farmers at Torrey Pines, Rahm is the elephant in the room but we’ll pick around him with vets who are trending, and guys who like the grind.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
At the Amex out in Palm Springs, a birdie fest ”putting contest” ensued and the 2023 narrative is that these guys are getting too good for these courses. As for my picks, only one in the top 10 but everyone who played the weekend shot at least -13. No big winner but a collective C+ team of selections last week.
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Will Zalatoris – Lost in an epic playoff here last year, and coming off a respectable performance at The Amex. Feels like a good spot to back Willy Z at a track he knows well.
2: Max Homa – Twitter jokes aside, Homa is tracking well with his ball striking and could be a wise guy to play this week. He’s pretty high up on the board for little form recently which intrigues me.
3: Taylor Montgomery – Batting in the number 3 spot, the most reliable play on the PGA Tour this season. ANOTHER impressive showing last week finishing 5th at The Amex for Top 20 Taylor – he has seven of them in his rookie campaign.
4: Sahith Theegala – A great spot for the Californian with lots of experience at Torrey and a solid showing in last year’s event. Ready for a breakthrough week in 2023.
5: Luke List: Harping on experience, I’m rostering the defending champion here at a minimum this week.
6: Aaron Rai – Going completely off the board with a new name for good reason – Rai finished 6th here last year.
RYP One and Done Pick: Will Zalatoris
Where to watch: Golf Channel and CBS from Wednesday to Saturday, so we get out of the way for NFL Football on Sunday. The NFL is King.
Why to watch: Torrey Pines is a major championship track that’s a mainstay on tour. It always provides great vibes, views, and a finish worth watching.
What to eat: Gotta Go with Fish Tacos in this part of Cali – I like them grilled with mango slaw and extra crema.
Purse: $8.7 million
Winner’s Share: $1.56 million