PGA Tour Odds and Predictions: Farmers Insurance Open Betting Picks
by Alan Matthews - 1/26/2011
The PGA Tour schedule shows that this weekend’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines outside San Diego is the fourth tournament of the season. However, let’s be clear: this event is truly the first golf tournament of any substance in the U.S. this season because both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are making their 2011 debuts. They are the only Top-10 players in the field this week.
Tiger begins his quest to put a winless 2010 season behind him at a course he loves: Woods memorably beat Rocco Mediate on the 19th playoff hole at the 2008 U.S. Open at this course and hasn’t played it since. Incidentally, Woods and Mediate will be paired together for the first time since that Open for the first two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open.
As usual, Tiger is the betting favorite at 5/2 on Bodog, according to PGA Tour odds. Woods has six victories in 11 starts at Torrey Pines in PGA Tour play, in addition to the 2008 U.S. Open. He hasn't lost there since 2004. Tiger, who has slipped to No. 3 in the world, says he is healthy entering a season for the first time in at least four years. And he debuts with a tweaked swing after working for several weeks with new Coach Sean Foley.
“I think it's nice to have an offseason where I wasn't in pain and recovering from something," Woods said to reporters. "I've had so many darn surgeries and everything.”
Tiger tees off at 9 a.m. local time Thursday on the No. 10 tee on the North Course with Mediate and Anthony Kim.
Mickelson (16/1), a San Diego native, makes his 22nd overall appearance at this event. He has finished in the top five seven times, including victories in 1993, 2000 and 2001. Last year he finished 19th. Expect to see plenty of Lefty upcoming as he will play five consecutive U.S.-based events starting this week. Mickelson did play last week in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour and wasn’t much of a factor. Since 1983, only one player has more rounds played at this event, and that’s Mark O'Meara.
Dustin Johnson is the co-second favorite with Mickelson at 16/1. The long-hitting Johnson hasn’t played since finishing tied for ninth at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Johnson pulled out of the following week’s Sony Open amid rumors of a romance with LPGA player Natalie Gulbis. Johnson has played this event in each of the past three years and his best finish is T19. He missed the cut last year. Torrey Pines South is set to play its longest ever this year, which should benefit Johnson, who last year was the only player to average more than 300 yards from the tee on all drives (300.3 yds).
Ben Crane might be good value at 40/1 for my Farmers Insurance Open betting picks and predictions. He is the defending champion here and finished tied for seventh the year before. Crane finished T21 at the season-opening PGA Tour event.
Many experts believe Rickie Fowler (20/1) can win his first event this week as he debuts in 2011 after winning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year last year. Fowler finished T-5 last year here and also made the cut as an amateur when Torrey Pines hosted the 2008 U.S. Open. But it has been since 1991 that a player won his first Tour event at Torrey Pines.
Nick Watney (20/1) also is good value this week. He has finished in the Top 10 at Torrey Pines three of the last four times he's played there, including a victory in 2009.
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