The 2018-19 PGA Tour season is several tournaments in, but for most casual golf fans the season hasn’t started yet because Tiger Woods hasn’t teed it up. That all changes this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
Tiger’s favorite course is no doubt Augusta National, but he clearly loves Torrey Pines with eight victories there. His wins in this tournament came in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013 – and he also won the U.S. Open at Torrey in 2008. That, of course, was his epic Monday 19-hole playoff victory over Rocco Mediate, which remains Woods’ last major win.
At BetOnline, Tiger is +1400 this week. It’s his first official PGA Tour event since his memorable victory at last year’s Tour Championship. He finished T23 last year at 3 under. Woods will play the first two rounds with Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau. Neither has played with him in an official tournament.
Golfers will play one of their first two rounds at the North Course, which is a par 72 measuring 7,258 yards. The iconic South Course is also a par 72 but more than 400 yards longer. Shockingly, Phil Mickelson is ending his streak of 28 consecutive visits to this event after nearly winning last week. Lefty has three victories at Torrey Pines but not since 2001 when the South was redesigned.
The BetOnline favorite is Spaniard Jon Rahm at +1000. He won the tournament in 2017 at 13 under by three shots over two others. Rahm is off to a strong start this year with Top 10s in Hawaii and last week in Palm Springs.
Also at +1400 with Tiger are Jason Day, world No. 1 Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. Bit surprised Day isn’t favored considering he won here in 2015 and last year, both times in a playoff. He beat Alex Noren (Ryan Palmer was eliminated on first playoff hole) on the sixth extra hole a year ago on a Monday morning. Day also has a runner-up in this event. Rose has back-to-back Top 10s at Torrey, while McIlroy is making his debut. He’s focusing more on the PGA Tour than the European Tour this season.
Day and Tiger aren’t the only players with multiple wins here. Brandt Snedeker was the 2016 & 2012 winner and is +4000. He also has been a runner-up twice. A struggling Jordan Spieth is +3300 off back-to-back missed cuts this year and has missed the cut twice in three visits to Torrey. Spieth made his professional debut at the Farmers Insurance Open in 2013.
If you plan on betting at BetOnline on the winner of this tournament after Round 1, you may want to back a guy who opened on the South Course. That’s because the past eight champions have started there. Ben Crane in 2010 was the last winner to start on the North.
Farmers Insurance Open Picks
Take Day and Rahm each for Top 10s, but Finau is the winning choice at +2000. He has back-to-back Top 10s at Torrey and was solo second in the Hero World Challenge in his last semi-official start.