2015 Farmers Insurance Open: Preview, Strategy and Picks
Another week on the PGA Tour is upon us, and the field promises to be another strong one at the Farmers Insurance Open. Who’s playing?
There are three of the best American players right now in Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, not to mention Brooks Koepka who just won the Waste Management Phoenix Open. There are also three of the strongest international players in Jason Day, Justin Rose and Hideki Matsuyama. Furthermore, not only will Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods (no, we don’t recommend Tiger) be teeing it up at Torrey Pines, Dustin Johnson returns to the PGA Tour after his leave of absence.
We are going to continue to use the same strategy by going with odds per dollar, the longer hitters and guys who are high up on the birdie or better percentage list. However, over the last week, the three of us at Daily Fantasy Winners have spent a great amount of time trying to come up with more beneficial strategies and more helpful tools to increase the consistency of winning.
While some of these are still in the works, one thing we want to encourage more is using a balanced-salary approach as opposed to a high-low strategy. Granted this doesn’t mean all expensive and cheap players are off limits, but the simple fact is that DraftKings’ price differentials are so much greater this year (and more accurate) that it’s primarily important to focus on having guys that make the cut. Because there was no cut at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a weak field at the Sony Open and a cut after three days at the Humana Challenge, it was easier to go high-low at those events. The Waste Management Phoenix Open had a stronger field and a standard two-day cut, and this is more of what we will see in the weeks to come at majors, World Golf Championships and other PGA Tour events.
Torrey Pines Preview and Strategy
It’s a 158-player field (149 to choose from on DraftKings). There are a ton of long-ball hitters, and length will matter a great deal for multiple reasons. Torrey Pines is located on the Pacific Coast in La Jolla, CA, which is just north of San Diego. Between that and playing at sea level, the ball does not travel very far. While it was several years ago, I’ve played on both the North and South course, and I can attest that the course does play a bit longer than the yardage indicates, especially when the winds are high.
I mentioned a North and South course. Yes, the Farmers is played on both tracks. This is why it is such a huge field. Half of the players will be at the North on Thursday while the other half is at the South. Obviously, they will switch on Friday, and the cut is then applied. The South is used for Saturday’s and Sunday’s round, and it was the only course used at the 2008 U.S. Open. Also, if you’re wondering, the South course is the one used in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf video game.
The South is undoubtedly tougher than the North. The simple version? The North tips out at 6,874 yards, while the South tips out at 7,698 yards. All of the par 5s on the South are longer than all of the par 5s on the North. In 2014, of the 153 rounds played on the North, 20 eagles were recorded on the par 5s. Of the 311 rounds played on the South, 13 eagles were made on the par 5s. Even if you wanted to go back to 2013 since the weather wasn’t ideal last year, 24 eagles were posted over the 153 rounds on the North, and 21 eagles were converted of the 379 rounds on the South. There are a couple short par 4s on the North, but they are all nearly impossible to drive because of playing uphill or into the wind (designed this way on the coast). Any eagles made on par 4s or par 3s can be chalked up as dumb luck. If you want to read into more specifics about each hole on both courses, go here.
So why exactly is length important? Well, as we all know, the positive difference birdies (+3) and eagles (+8) make, far outdo the negative impact of bogeys (-.5) and double bogeys or worse (-1). The players who have made eagles on the par 5s at Torrey in the past are long-ball hitters, and this year will be no exception. The North will open the door a little for some of the shorter hitters, but again, 54 of the holes are at the South.
Our odds per dollar tab on the tools page is updated and posted. If you need help finding who are the longest hitters and best at birdie or better percentage, click on the hyperlinks. Those stats are for the 2014-15 season, and you may want to go back to the previous season as well. We have been using more of the 2013-14 numbers, but we are getting close to the point where we can just use 2014-15. There are still a fair amount of international players who have only played on the European Tour (or others), but there are a lot of young guns who have done really well on the PGA Tour this year. Basically, use both seasons for a thorough understanding.
This lineup I have made will be one of a few I use this week. I’ll probably tweak it slightly for GPPs (obvious reasons). It’s primarily following the balanced-salary method while using the three links posted above.
DraftKings is running the $65,000 Fairway this week, a $27 to enter tournament for the Farmer’s Insurance Open with $10,000 awarded for 1st! Click here to draft a lineup!View all posts by Nick Juskewycz