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Preview: Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines

Preview – PGA Tour – Farmers Insurance Open – Torrey Pines Golf Course – La Jolla, California –

The PGA Tour visits Torrey Pines Golf Club in the San Diego area for the Farmers Insurance Open this week and features some of the west coast’s most picturesque views along with the U.S.-debut of both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

The decorated American legends headline the field that also includes former Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker and former World No. 1 Lee Westwood. The event uses both the North and South courses at Torrey Pines Golf Club providing a great early-season test as players begin to focus on the Masters and the first major of the year.

Competitors play each course in the first two rounds before the cut. The South Course (7,600 yards) hosts the weekend. Look for scoring on the shorter North Course (7,067 yards) to provide early tournament swings on the leader board. Woods tees off No. 1 on the South Course Thursday at 10:40 a.m. local time with Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker, who has two victories already this season.

Mickelson tees off on the North Course with Watson and Day off the 10th hole at 9:30 a.m.

Players need to drive the ball straight and have sharp irons to score well at Torrey Pines. Bumpy greens will certainly factor on the mental approach and scoring results.

Several past champions at this event include Woods, Snedeker, Watson, Ben Crane, Mickelson and Nick Watney. A number of international-born players are playing this week including Ian Poulter, Hideki Matsuyama, Graham DeLaet and Victor Dubuisson.

2013 Recap:

  • Woods captured the Farmers Insurance Open for the 7th time winning by four shots, despite a final-round 72. Snedeker and Josh Teater were T-2, while Walker and Watney ended up T-4. Logging Top 5s including Rickie Fowler, Robert Garrigus and Aaron Baddeley.

FANTASY: South Course plays about 700 yards longer than the North Course, so factor that in when selecting daily match ups. The North Course ranks as one of the easiest on tour. Mickelson is playing here in his own backyard with eight Top 10s here and three victories. Play CH3, who finished 2nd here in 2005 and 2007. He also has seven Top 10s at Torrey. Snedeker’s putter should contend here. He was T-2 here in 2010 and won in 2012.

BETTORS: Woods is the overall betting favorite at 2 1/2-to-1 odds at www.Skybet.com. But, consider the value with Crane (100-1), who finished strong last week at the Humana Challenge. Bet Watney, who won here in 2009. He is 40-1 and has five Top 10s in nine starts here. Walker(28-1) should continue to ride his early-season high. He was T-4 here last year.

Golf Channel has television coverage with CBS Sports handling the weekend rounds.

Other Golf News:

  • Spieth made his PGA Tour debut as a professional here last year. He won on to win Rookie of the Year honors and finished runner-up at the TOUR Championship. He also earned a Presidents Cup captain’s pick selection.
  • George Coetzee shot 8-under-64 to open and lead the European Tour’s CommercialBank Qatar Masters. Ernie Els and John Daly are inside the Top 10 after round one. Coetzee finished 54th on the Money List last season.
  • The LPGA Tour announced Airbus as a corporate sponsor for the Airbus Mobile Bay Classic in Alabama this May. The tour opens its 2014 campaign at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic with Stacy Lewis as the favorite at 3 ½-1 odds.