Woods looks to pass Snead with win at Farmers Insurance Open

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January 22nd, 2020

The PGA Tour swings toward the San Diego area for the Farmers Insurance Open at scenic Torrey Pines and will mark the anticipated 2020 debut of Tiger Woods. He just turned 44 on Dec. 30 and will seek to surpass Sam Snead in career PGA Tour wins (both currently have 82). Woods matched Snead’s total in October at the ZOZO Championship in Japan.

Odds to win the Farmers Insurance Open

Torrey Pines has been a home away from home for Woods

It’s fitting Woods will get a chance to break the record here. Woods knows every blade of grass at Torrey Pines. He won this event in 1999, 2003, all four from 2005-2008, and in 2013. If that’s not enough, he also captured major win No. 14 on the South Course after a dramatic playoff against Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open.
All eyes will be on Woods this weekend and he is currently +1000 to win the tournament, the third choice to Rory McIlroy (+600) and 2017 Farmers winner Jon Rahm (+750). McIlroy, in his first Farmers appearance last year, turned in a tie for fifth.

The field will play one round on the North Course and another on the South Course before the cut. Then the action is exclusively on the South, which is a par 72 and listed at 7,765 yards, the longest course to have a PGA Tour event. The South Course underwent an extensive renovation since last year’s tournament and will host another U.S. Open next year. It will be interesting to see how the South Course tests today’s best with the changes. The North Course (7,258 yards) has much less distance than its neighbor, but every player knows he’ll need a low score there to keep pace.

Matsuyama is worth a wager

While it would certainly be no surprise if Woods, McIlroy, or Rahm take this tournament, I’ll peg Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama to get top honors here.

As weird as it may seem, Matsuyama hasn’t won since 2017 on the PGA Tour. He’s at +1800 for this event, which is lower than you’d like, but with such a long track to play, Matsuyama will likely stay out of much trouble with his superb ball striking.

He ranks fifth in strokes gained tee to green, and around the green he’s eighth. He ranks high in greens in regulation, 10th on Tour, and eighth in proximity to the hole. Matsuyama’s main obstacle to more success is putting, but my guess is he feels comfortable at Torrey Pines, where he tied for third a year ago.

Watson is a proven commodity

Bubba Watson, who won at Torrey Pines in 2011, is a healthy +8000 and is worth a try in some wagers. The long-hitting lefty hasn’t played in this event since 2014, but he is proven at Torrey Pines. Watson runs hot and cold, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and predict him to have a better year.

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