After a brief hiatus over the first part of the year, we’re back for the 2020 PGA Tour season to break down each event and give out tips for the top outright bets. My 2020 debut coincides with Tiger Woods’ first event of the season at a course where he has won eight times. While I’ll always be a Tiger homer, this year’s Farmers Insurance Open isn’t where I want to back him at 11/1 odds — not in a field that’s the strongest we’ve seen since last year’s Tour Championship.

Torrey Pines is the venue for the Farmers Insurance open, and while this event typically draws a strong field, this year’s iteration draws an especially deep top end with Torrey Pines being the venue for next year’s U.S. Open. Rory McIlory, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, and Gary Woodland will be joining Woods this week, making this the first headline event of 2020. 

PGA DFS: Lineup Builder | How to win

This week’s event will be played on both Torrey Pines’ legendary South course for three of the four rounds, with each golfer also teeing it up on Torrey’s lesser-known and easier North course. For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on the South course, but keep in mind that golfers will need to score well during their Thursday or Friday round at the North course if they want to make the 60-man cut. 

Torrey Pines South is a long track, checking in at around 7,700 yards. Long hitters will have an advantage here, but I would caution against overlooking some of the shorter hitters. Guys like Brandt Snedeker and KJ Choi have elite course history at Torrey Pines because they are able to keep it out of Torrey’s penal rough and can utilize their elite long iron games. The primary factor that will generate success is whether the long hitters can bomb it far enough to be hitting short irons and wedges into the tough-to-hit greens (regardless of if they are in the fairway or not). At the same time, the shorter hitters will need to keep it in the fairway and then stripe their longer irons and avoid some of the difficult around-the-green looks that Torrey Pines presents. 

Overall, I give a slight advantage to the bombers, but I will certainly be mixing in a fair share of shorter-hitting, more accurate players. I’ll also be keying in on Par 5 scoring. While Torrey doesn’t concede many eagles, the four Par 5s do give up a fair amount of birdies, so it will be very important for players to take advantage of these holes because the rest of the course isn’t going to give up many great scoring opportunities.

The final note that you should be aware of is the wind can get brutal here at times. Snedeker won in a year where it was blowing sideways on Sunday, and we’ve seen gusts at 25-plus mph a few times over the years at this event. 

If you have more questions or are looking for more betting and DFS advice (NFL, MLB, NBA, PGA), check me out on Twitter (@DFSBenj).

Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Par 5 Scoring 
Scrambling
Approach from +200 yards 

Farmers Insurance Open Betting Advice, Odds

Outright Bets to Consider

*odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Tony Finau 25/1 

I’ve certainly harped on Finau’s inability to win tournaments in the past, but this year I’m looking for Finau to kick his career to the next gear. Finau is the type of tee-to-green player that can win at Torrey Pines, and he has been on or near the first page of the leader board here a few times with finishes of T13, T6, T4, T18, and T24 over the past five years. Odds of 25/1 don’t stand out as good value for a player that “doesn’t win,” but this is the exact type of event where I can see Finau getting that breakout “W”. Starting a betting card with Finau at this number also allows you to fit a few extra mid-range values and still maintain responsible bankroll management. If you are playing DFS, Finau also makes for one of the top cash-game considerations at $9,300 on DraftKings. 

Gary Woodland 25/1 

The 25/1 number on Woodland is probably appropriately priced, but I feel like it wouldn’t be outrageous if his number was in the 18/1 or 20/1 range. While Woodland is a guy who I prefer to target at less-than-driver courses, Torrey Pines is a layout that suits Woodland’s game if he is able to keep it in the fairway with his driver. Woodland has played some of his best golf on Weset Coast courses with poa greens, and similar to Finau, he has an excellent track record at this event with finishes of T9, T12, T20, and T18 over his past four starts at Torrey Pines. I don’t like putting too much stock in early-season form, but Woodland was playing great golf over the fall with four straight top-10 finishes. 

Jason Day 45/1 

Day struggle in the fall and skipped the President’s Cup because of a back injury, so a win this week would seemingly be out of nowhere. However, 45/1 is a lot of value for a player of Day’s pedigree and for a former two-time winner of this event. Day’s ball-striking is always hit and miss, but he has the short-game chops to contend at any event where the winning score should fall around the -8 to -12 range. Betting on Day is a bet on his talent and the value on his outright odds, and I’m always willing to make these types of outright bets in events that typically yield winners with elite career pedigrees (Justin Rose 2019, Day ’15/’18, Jon Rahm ’17, Brandt Snedeker 2016, Tiger Woods seven times). 

Francesco Molinari 100/1  

This isn’t an event where I want to bet longshots, but I’m eyeing Molinari at 100/1. This seems like a sucker bet that the books are trying to bait cappers on, but I have no problem taking a shot on a high-quality player who is a better long-term golfer than virtually every other player in the 100/1-and-over range. Molinari’s game is all over the place right now, but he is a better fit at course like Torrey Pines, where birdies are going to be tougher to come by. Molinari isn’t exceptionally long off the tee, but he is a solid long-iron player when his game is on. Bad form aside, 100/1 is worth a sprinkle on a top-25 player in the world.

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