by Stefan Thedorf , Co-Host, Flagstick.com TeeTalk Podcast
The American Express has come and gone and this week golfers drop down from playing on three courses to a measly two as the PGA TOUR heads to Torrey Pines. Everyone’s memory goes to what we saw last year at Torrey Pines. From Patrick Reed fluffing his lie at the Farmers, to Louis Oosthuizen hitting his ball down into a gorge only a rattlesnake would be comfortable scaling, and lastly, Jon Rahm picking up his first major championship at the U.S. Open, it was an eventful year for Torrey Pines. What can we expect from one of the best municipal courses in America this week? Here are the 5 stories I will be watching at the Farmer’s Insurance Open:
- Wednesday to Saturday Coverage: I give the PGA Tour a hard time for not being forward-thinking but if you watched that Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday night, you know the PGA Tour can’t compete with that. No NFL playoff football on Saturday night means primetime is yours for the taking. I love this idea by the tour; let’s hope they can take advantage of it.
- Mackenzie Hughes: The last time Mackenzie Hughes was at Torrey Pines he was heading into Sunday tied for the lead at the U.S. Open. By the end of the day, the only thing people remembered was that he got his golf ball stuck in a tree. He ultimately finished T15 last year at the U.S. Open and it’s safe to say he might feel there is some unfinished business. I am looking for Mack to continue his hot start on the year.
- Francesco Molinari: It was almost shocking to see Frank’s name on the top 10 of the leaderboard last week. To start the year Francesco has a T67, a missed cut, a withdrawal, and now a T6. History would suggest that he plays well at Torrey Pines, with the Farmers being one of his three top 10’s last year. However, consistency hasn’t been Molinari’s game since his blown lead at the 2019 Masters – I forget who won that day. I love Franky’s game when he’s dialed in and I see great value for him to top 10 this week but a missed cut feels almost as lucky. Flip a coin, hopefully, you get luckier than the Buffalo Bills.
- Xander Schauffele: Why does it sound so quiet around Xander? The ball striker’s ball-striker comes into the Farmers with minimal starts since the Ryder Cup. If only the books weren’t as smart, as they are still seeing him as the 3rd favourite at +1600. Xander finished T2 last year at the Farmers and T7 at the US Open. It’s safe to say that he can play Torrey Pines. There are not many better swings to watch on the PGA TOUR; I would expect him to be right in the mix come the back nine…on Saturday night.
- Bryson Dechambeau: If you think Mackenzie Hughes feels he has unfinished business at Torrey Pines, Bryson is right there beside him. If you look at the results of last year’s U.S. Open and see that Bryson finished T26, you probably forgot he was only two shots back heading into Sunday. If you forgot that, you most definitely forgot he was heading to the back nine on Sunday tied for the lead; we don’t need to talk about the back nine. It’s no coincidence that he is playing the Farmers Insurance Open for the first time since 2018. Watch out for Bryson this week. No, literally, if you are on the course watch out as his ball could go anywhere. You might not hear him yell fore.