GOLF

Farmers Insurance Open: Course Notes, Daily Fantasy Golf Picks, Win Simulations, and Best Bets

Can Scottie Scheffler break through at Torrey Pines? Who can we bet on and roster in our daily fantasy lineups this week?

After numerous scoring-fests, the PGA Tour heads to Torrey Pines (South and North) for an event that generally plays tougher than the early January events.

The Famers Insurance Open has had just one winning score lower than 20-under over the past 22 years. Tiger Woods was -22 here in 1999 (his first of seven(!) wins at Torrey Pines), and Justin Rose got to -21 back in 2019.

What does it all mean for this week? Let's take a look.

You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.

Course Information
Key Stats
Golfers With Great Course History
Win Simulations
Best Bets
Daily Fantasy Picks

Event Information

Past 5 Winning Scores: -14, -15, -21, -10, -13
Past 5 Cut Lines: -1, -1, -3, -1, E

I usually put an asterisk next to outlier performances at a course with the scoring, and I almost put one here last year because it was, well, the site of Patrick Reed's embedded ball debacle.

Overall, though, the two-course setup (one pre-cut round at the South and North courses for all golfers followed by two weekend rounds at the South Course) generally leads to middling scores and puts more of an emphasis on saving par than simply making birdie after birdie.

That's not to say that the course setups are USGA havens or anything, but it's worth noting.

Torrey Pines (South Course) Information

Par: 72
Distance: 7,765
Average Green Size: 5,000 square feet
Green Type: Poa annua
Stimpmeter: N/A

Torrey Pines (North Course) Information

Par: 72
Distance: 7,258
Average Green Size: 6,000 square feet
Green Type: Bentgrass
Stimpmeter: N/A

Of note, we've got varied putting surfaces across the two courses, yet poa and bentgrass comp together well enough for sticking just with poa if we want to include putting surface splits.

At 5,000 square feet, the average green on the South Course is smaller than the typical PGA course (which averages out at 6,000 square feet).

Key Stats

- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Driving Distance
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green
- Birdie or Better Rate
- Strokes Gained: Putting on Poa/Bentgrass

When we're looking for solid scores on tougher courses, it's okay to focus on all-around play: driving, irons, wedges, and putting.

After all, that's what the data says matters, anyway.

The South Course is one of the hardest courses to putt on (specifically from inside 5 and 15 feet), and distance is a premium this week with such long holes. Proximity shots from 175 to 200 and from 250-plus yards are up from the Tour average at Torrey Pines, too.

Golfers With Great Course/Event History

Past winners in the field include Patrick Reed (2021), Marc Leishman (2020), Justin Rose (2019), Jason Day (2015, 2018), Jon Rahm (2017), Brandt Snedeker (2012, 2106), Scott Stallings (2014), Nick Watney (2009), Phil Mickelson (1993, 2000, 2001). Rahm won the U.S. Open at the South Course last year, as well.

Golfers with at least 1.0 strokes gained per round over at least 8 rounds across the South and North courses, via FantasyNational, include Jon Rahm (2.7), Patrick Reed (2.0), Tony Finau (1.9), Brandt Snedeker (1.8), Matthew Wolff (1.7), Justin Thomas (1.5), Marc Leishman (1.5), Jason Day (1.4), Alexander Noren (1.4), Lanto Griffin (1.3), Hideki Matsuyama (1.3), Ryan Palmer (1.3), Keegan Bradley (1.3), Talor Gooch (1.2), Dustin Johnson (1.1), Phil Mickelson (1.1), Justin Rose (1.1), Francesco Molinari (1.1), Will Zalatoris (1.0), Jonas Blixt (1.0), and Bill Haas (1.0).

Win Simulations

Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their FanDuel Sportsbook win odds.

Golfer FanDuel
Salary
Win% Top-
10%
Made
Cut%
FanDuel
Sportsbook
Win
Odds
Jon
Rahm
$12,200 12.3% 50.4% 87.0% +750
Justin
Thomas
$12,000 6.2% 34.2% 78.3% +1300
Bryson
DeChambeau
$11,600 4.8% 30.9% 77.0% +1900
Daniel
Berger
$11,300 4.4% 29.3% 76.5% +2100
Xander
Schauffele
$11,900 4.0% 26.4% 74.3% +1700
Sam
Burns
$11,200 3.7% 27.2% 75.0% +2400
Scottie
Scheffler
$10,900 3.5% 25.0% 73.3% +3400
Dustin
Johnson
$11,500 3.2% 25.3% 73.0% +2100
Jordan
Spieth
$10,700 2.8% 22.6% 70.7% +3400
Hideki
Matsuyama
$11,700 2.8% 21.0% 69.9% +2100
Sungjae
Im
$11,000 2.4% 20.7% 69.1% +3200
Tony
Finau
$11,100 2.2% 19.3% 69.4% +2900
Talor
Gooch
$10,200 1.9% 16.8% 66.5% +5500
Will
Zalatoris
$10,600 1.9% 15.8% 65.2% +2900
Corey
Conners
$10,400 1.7% 17.7% 67.2% +4600
Cameron
Tringale
$9,600 1.7% 16.3% 66.6% +10000
Marc
Leishman
$10,500 1.5% 14.9% 64.7% +3700
Brooks
Koepka
$10,800 1.5% 15.3% 65.0% +3600
Aaron
Wise
$9,400 1.3% 14.3% 64.7% +9000
Maverick
McNealy
$9,900 1.2% 13.7% 62.0% +7000
Justin
Rose
$10,100 1.1% 13.1% 61.7% +6500
Jhonattan
Vegas
$8,700 1.1% 12.3% 60.9% +10000
Joaquin
Niemann
$10,000 1.1% 12.8% 62.0% +7500
Charley
Hoffman
$8,900 1.1% 12.9% 62.0% +12000
Taylor
Moore
$8,300 1.0% 10.5% 59.3% +19000
Mackenzie
Hughes
$9,500 1.0% 12.0% 59.4% +7500
Keegan
Bradley
$9,600 0.9% 10.4% 58.2% +6500
Luke
List
$9,100 0.9% 11.4% 60.4% +9000
Max
Homa
$9,500 0.9% 10.8% 58.4% +5500
Patrick
Reed
$10,300 0.9% 10.9% 59.0% +4600
Lanto
Griffin
$9,400 0.8% 10.8% 59.4% +7500
Alex
Noren
$9,000 0.8% 10.1% 58.0% +12000
Christiaan
Bezuidenhout
$9,700 0.7% 9.1% 56.8% +7500
Billy
Horschel
$9,800 0.7% 9.8% 57.1% +7500
Ryan
Palmer
$9,700 0.7% 9.2% 55.1% +5500
Matthew
Wolff
$9,900 0.7% 8.1% 54.3% +7000
Alex
Smalley
$8,500 0.6% 9.3% 56.8% +19000
Matt
Jones
$8,700 0.5% 8.1% 54.8% +16000
Keith
Mitchell
$9,000 0.5% 7.1% 53.6% +10000
Kevin
Streelman
$8,600 0.5% 7.6% 52.6% +19000
Siwoo
Kim
$9,800 0.5% 5.6% 49.9% +5500
Tom
Hoge
$8,900 0.5% 7.7% 53.8% +8000
Cameron
Davis
$9,200 0.5% 6.0% 50.4% +9000
Carlos
Ortiz
$8,800 0.4% 7.1% 52.4% +16000
Guillermo
Mito
Pereira
$9,100 0.4% 7.4% 52.1% +12000
Emiliano
Grillo
$8,300 0.4% 5.9% 48.8% +19000
Joel
Dahmen
$8,700 0.4% 5.9% 49.5% +16000
Pat
Perez
$7,900 0.4% 4.9% 47.0% +28000
Patton
Kizzire
$8,500 0.4% 6.3% 50.3% +19000
Gary
Woodland
$8,800 0.4% 6.7% 51.4% +16000
Patrick
Rodgers
$8,600 0.4% 6.4% 49.3% +10000
Harry
Higgs
$8,100 0.4% 4.8% 47.0% +25000
Sebastian
Munoz
$8,400 0.4% 4.9% 47.7% +19000
C.T.
Pan
$8,100 0.3% 5.1% 46.4% +28000
Kyoung-hoon
Lee
$8,400 0.3% 5.7% 49.5% +19000
Hank
Lebioda
$7,700 0.3% 5.6% 48.7% +35000
Brandt
Snedeker
$8,900 0.3% 5.1% 46.9% +10000
Adam
Hadwin
$8,800 0.3% 6.0% 50.4% +16000
Vincent
Whaley
$7,900 0.3% 5.3% 47.1% +28000
Aaron
Rai
$8,300 0.3% 4.8% 45.9% +28000
Doug
Ghim
$8,400 0.3% 4.4% 46.4% +19000
Adam
Svensson
$7,900 0.3% 4.4% 44.0% +19000
Jason
Day
$9,300 0.3% 5.7% 50.3% +9000
Hudson
Swafford
$9,000 0.3% 5.3% 47.6% +12000
Robert
Streb
$7,500 0.3% 4.5% 44.8% +43000
Chez
Reavie
$8,200 0.3% 3.8% 44.5% +28000
Adam
Long
$8,200 0.3% 3.8% 42.5% +28000
Danny
Lee
$7,700 0.3% 4.2% 45.7% +35000
Rickie
Fowler
$9,200 0.3% 3.8% 44.0% +9000

Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets

Honestly, Rahm (+750) is a fair bet this week at an event he has won in the past. My model would put Rahm's number at around +700, so while we're not really getting screaming value, it's a strong option to start off a card. His all-around game should keep him in the hunt at Torrey yet again.

After Rahm, I'm eyeing -- in descending order -- Scottie Scheffler (+3400), Daniel Berger (+2100), Bryson DeChambeau (+1900), and Jordan Spieth (+3400). Scheffler looks to be pretty undervalued (my model puts him at +2700); Berger, DeChambeau, and Spieth are fair values toward the top of the board.

I've bet Scheffler and Spieth so far at the longest numbers of the four just mentioned.

Top-10 options include Cameron Tringale, Taylor Moore, Charley Hoffman, Aaron Wise, and Jhonattan Vegas.

Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the Farmers Insurance Open

All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible -- unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.

Best of the Best

Jon Rahm (FanDuel Salary: $12,200 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +750) - There is just really no way to get away from Rahm as the best play based on how the salaries fall this week. He has an all-around game that is perfect for Torrey Pines (evidenced by his success here) and enters with easily the best form of any golfer in the field. Rahm's worst percentile ranking across the four strokes gained stats in my model: 90th percentile in adjusted around the green play over the past year. Play him in cash games and don't fully fade him in tournaments unless you're really down for the game theory angle this week.

Scottie Scheffler ($10,900 | +3400) - Scheffler's name could get lost in the shuffle with plenty of studs starting at Torrey Pines, but he deserves attention at a sub-$11,000 FanDuel salary. Scheffler rates out in the 90th percentile in adjusted tee to green play and is long off the tee (78th). Scheffler finished 25th at The American Express last week with good iron play and ended November with two top-five results.

Others to Consider:
Bryson DeChambeau ($11,600 | +1900) -
Had slightly positive putting at the TOC, which is good news for the new greens book changes. Rest of the game is there.
Jordan Spieth ($10,700 | +3400) - Dominant poa/bentgrass putter; elite from fairway through green right now.
Talor Gooch ($10,200 | +5500) - Has 96th-percentile irons and 85th-plus-percentile putting on poa and bentgrass.

Mid-Range Picks

Matthew Wolff ($9,900 | +7000) - Wolff's great form didn't translate to his return last week when he missed the cut at The American Express while racking up poor ball-striking in his round at the Stadium Course. But over the past six months, Wolff ranks 23rd in true strokes gained, via datagolf, and the short game should help out this week at an all-around test. He withdrew from this event last year but was 21st the year prior and was 15th at the U.S. Open here a year ago, as well.

Aaron Wise ($9,400 | +9000) - Wise's good form will be tested in his return; he hasn't played since mid-November. Prior to that, he had started the new PGA Tour season with five straight top-26 finishes. Wise has struggled at Torrey historically (71st, cut, cut) but has much better form now than then.

Others to Consider:
Maverick McNealy ($9,900 | +7000) - A player on the rise with great putting splits on these surfaces.
Lanto Griffin ($9,400 | +7500) - Great form being helped by putting but an all-around performer; two top-12s here in his past three.
Luke List ($9,100 | +9000) - Four straight made cuts and two top-12 finishes the past four years here; decidedly less dreadful putting on poa than bent.

Low-Salaried Picks

Tom Hoge ($8,900 | +8000) - Hoge has been hot-and-cold at the Farmers: 12th, cut, 5th, cut since 2018. Overall, he is on the upswing. He could catch popularity after his solo second at The American Express last week, but the total case for him is still good anyway: he's got 87th-percentile adjusted irons and is close to the baseline in putting on the surfaces in play this week.

Gary Woodland ($8,800 | +16000) - The bottom falls out of this field pretty quickly, so we can at least justify an upside swing on Woodland if we're looking for some salary savings. Woodland has missed three straight cuts now and missed at The AmEx last week. However, he's gaining distance and is a plus on the approach scale (78th percentile). He's finished 20th, 12th, 9th, cut, and 48th here the past five years.

Others to Consider:
Charley Hoffman ($8,900 | +12000) - Good win odds in my model for the salary; should gain distance and putt well on poa.
Jhonattan Vegas ($8,700 | +10000) - Another value golfer with a distance advantage.
Joseph Bramlett ($7,900 | +16000) - Tee-to-green play has been awesome lately; hits it super far, too.
Adam Schenk ($7,700 | +35000) - Tons of missed cuts make him look worse than he is; putts well on bent and poa.