The 2011 Farmers Insurance Open Six-Pack at Torrey Pines
It’s pretty tough to start off this week’s preview without giving some serious props to Jhonattan Vegas on his first PGA Tour win. This 27-year-old Venezuelan is the first man from that country to play in the PGA, and he just so happened to win his second event in the big dance.
At 6’2” and almost 230 pounds, if you watched any of last week’s event, you know the big kid hits it far. If you bet on him, you were very happy as most European sports books had him at 350:1 odds!
This week we head to beautiful La Jolla, California to Torrey Pines for this year’s Farmer’s Insurance Open. Tiger and Phil will be there, with a boatload of young talent to push them to their limits. The keys to Torrey are simple. Hit the ball really far off the tee and make sure you can putt on poa annua greens. It also will not hurt to be able to scramble, especially from this tricky thick perennial rye/poa annua hybrid rough. One man in this field has done that better than any other. His name? Who else but Tiger Woods?
Expectations are running high for this guy. I was actually still surprised to see him getting the odds of old. This week he is a landslide favorite to win at 2.75:1 odds. Do I think he has what it takes? Yes, I absolutely do. But just in case he does not win, I have some gems for you to consider wagering on this week.
Tiger versus Phil might be the match of the week. I have no doubt that Tiger will handle Phil, as Phil just came off a less than desirable finish in Abu Dhabi. Add in the travel time, and I’ll take the seven-time winner on this course over the three-time winner any day.
I jumped up rather nicely in the Yahoo fantasy league last week. I now have 498 total points on the year. I jumped up seven percentage points in the overall pool to land in the 88th percentile. In my group the Fans of Hunter Mahan, I also leaped up seven points to the 85th percentile. I now am leading ALL four of the Yahoo experts. Vara trails me by eight points, Planer is down by 70, Romig is back 18 points and Arkush has come back to earth, lagging me by 77 points.
Here’s who I like this week:
Start Nick Watney Sit Tiger Woods
Start Rickie Fowler Sit Bill Haas
Matt Jones Robert Allenby
Start Charles Howell III Sit Brandt Snedeker
Are you parched enough to quaff this week’s six-pack?
No. 1 Rickie Fowler
If you are a regular reader of the six-pack, then you know the drill. Rickie Fowler has a permanent spot in the six-pack until he earns a victory. Now I figured that this week with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Nick Watney in the field, we would see some pretty nice value on Fowler. I guess they are factoring in that tie for fifth here last year pretty heavily. Fowler started off on Bodog at 25:1 odds, yet he has fallen down to 22:1 as of this writing.
Fowler’s recent play has been impressive to say the least. His last five events have seen him end up fifth, 25th, third, third and tenth. As previously mentioned his tie for fifth here in last year’s rookie campaign was, at the very least, a major testament to the player this kid really is. I’m telling you folks, it is simply a matter of time until he hoists a trophy.
Let’s look at some key stats from Fowler’s rookie year:
—13th in Ball Striking
—47th in Driving Distance at almost 293 yards off the tee
—24th in Total Driving (combo of distance and length)
—66th in Scrambling at 59.5 percent
Seriously folks, keep throwing some dough on this kid; he will deliver this year. At 22:1 odds this week, he could yield you just over $270 on a $10 bet to win and place in the top five.
No. 2 Bill Haas
Bill Haas days of flying under the radar may be over. This guy is currently playing the best golf of his career. His last five events have seen him finish second, 26th, 21st, eighth and second at last week’s Bob Hope Classic. Yes, that is the very same event he won at last year!
Haas has played well at Torrey over the past six years. He has only missed the cut once. He has three top 20 finishes here, the best of which was his tie for 11th in 2009. Haas’ length will help him tremendously on the 7500+ yard south course.
Here a few numbers from last year’s stats that will indicate some success here:
—42nd in Driving Distance at 293 yards off the tee
—22nd in Total Driving
—19th in All-Around ranking
—11th in Ball Striking
Haas is well on the way to being one of the best ball strikers on tour this year, increasing his driving accuracy as well as his GIR percentage. For some reason, his line has changed at Bodog. He was at 25:1 odds of winning yesterday, but if you go now, you can catch him at 33:1!
No. 3 Robert Allenby
I understand that you may have some concern that Robert missed the cut at his first tournament of the year. So what? The Sony Open didn’t do him any favors. But this is a different creature we are dealing with here in these two beautiful tracks at Torrey Pines.
Allenby likes this place. In six tries here, he has only missed one cut. All of his other finishes were respectable, especially his two ties for ninth in 2007 and last year. If you can look past Allenby’s last event (and I urge you to do so), you will see that he finished of 2010 in fine form. He ended his season with ties for 17th, third, fifth and 21st.
Allenby is not the longest driver out there, nor does he dominate any statistic. He is, however, one of those guys who is really good at a lot of things, making him one of the most well-rounded players on tour year after year.
Look at some of Allenby’s stats from last year:
—Fourth in All-Around Ranking
—17th in FedEx Cup regular season points
—13th in Scoring Average at 70.1 strokes per round
—18th in Money earned at just over $2.9 million
Allenby starts the parade of value this week. At 40:1, his line is holding steady at Bodog. I recommend giving him some consideration this week.
No. 4 Davis Love III
On PGATOUR.COM they had a feature story comparing the Ryder Cup captain with one of his possible selections, Rickie Fowler. Notice that they both made the six-pack? I adore Love’s track record on this course and have a feeling that he will want to come out and show why he is the Ryder Cup captain.
There have been few players that have shown the consistency that Davis has had over his 27-year career. He has won here at Torrey Pines before, plus he has three other top five finishes along this gorgeous facility. In 10 attempts, he has only missed one cut at this great event. DL3’s driver will help him this week, as will his terrific ball striking ability.
Check out some of DL3’s sweet digits from 2010:
—17th in Driving Distance at almost 298 yards off the tee
—Fourth in Total Driving
—13th in GIR’s with 70.3 percent
—Fourth in Ball Striking
—Sixth in Career Earnings at $40.1 million
If you are giving me odds of 66:1 on a man of his caliber, on a course he likes, then I am taking them.
No. 5 Webb Simpson
Webb started his 2009 campaign pretty strong right from the start. Inconsistency then set in. Last year, he did not start off strong, but had some glimpses of beauty. I am looking for him to start off strong here in 2011 and like how he is trending up in his last five starts. His last events saw him finish CUT, CUT, fifth, 46th and then 13th last week.
Keep in mind this is only Simpson’s second attempt at Torrey Pines. His first attempt back in 2009 saw him yield a tie for 19th. Not too shabby.
A couple of numbers to consider for Simpson:
—20th in Putts per round at 28.7
—12th in Total Birdies with 361
—13th in Par Five Performance at 114 strokes under par on the year
—68th in Scrambling at 59.5 percent
Simpson is definitely not the most consistent player out there, but on a course he tasted some success on, I love the high odds of 80:1, so sign me up.
No. 6 Matt Jones
This young Aussie raked in just over $1.2 million last year, which shows improvement over his previous years. I really like that he tied for fifth here back in 2009. Plus, he has a spark that is hard to hide when he is playing well.
What sets Matt apart from many of his competitors is his short game. He also can hit the ball pretty far off the tee, which won’t hurt his efforts on the South Course. As long as he improves his accuracy from the tee somewhat, he will be fine this week.
Look at some of his numbers from last year:
—15th in Putts per round with 28.7
—14th in sand saves at 58.7 percent
—42nd in Driving Distance at just over 293 yards from the tee
—48th in Scrambling at 60.6 percent
—16th in Par Five Performance at 109 strokes under par on the year
He is definitely my long shot this week, but at odds of 100:1, I say he is worth a chance.
Good luck this week and hit ‘em straight! —BLJ