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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Twofer Tuesday: Farmers Insurance Open

This week Twofer Tuesday makes a stop at Tiger's Alley, aka Torrey Pines.

Defending champion Justin Rose

The Farmers Insurance Open has been, as noted, pretty much owned by Tiger. The Big Cat has seven FIO wins as well as the US Open held there in 2008. The first two days are split between the North Course (7258 yards) and the South Course (7765 yards, its yardage increased from last year), with the South Course hosting the final two rounds. Justin Rose is the defending champion.

This week's field will likely be the strongest we've seen at any tournament since 2020 started, so I'm not getting cute with my picks. No, I'm going chalk this week... although, to be honest, even chalk picks come with some questions.
  • Tiger Woods makes his 2020 debut at Torrey and, given his past dominance here, seems an easy pick. But even Tiger has struggled over the last few years at Torrey -- blame it on his back -- and while he seems to have a handle on that now, there's still the early morning chill to worry with. For you readers around the world who may not realize it, the US is in the middle of winter now, complete with short days and cool damp mornings. Tiger's ability to manage those back-stiffening conditions is still in question. However, if he can endure his early draw in the first two rounds and play well, he could have late tee times (and warmer weather) over the weekend. I can't help but expect at least a Top10 from him this year.
  • Rory McIlroy also makes his 2020 debut this week, and there's a question for him as well. Although he posted a T5 in his first appearance last year, a win this week would vault him to #1 in the OWGR. I'm sure Rory knows that and remembers that Brooks said there was no rivalry since Rory hadn't been #1 since he made his own appearance in the rankings. I'm sure Rory would like to make Brooks eat those words... and that could be a problem. When Rory wants a title too much, he has tended to get in his own way (see the 2019 Masters and 2019 OPEN for examples). That could happen this week... but this isn't the same Rory we saw early last year. I think Brooks may be in for a surprise.
GC's coverage begins Thursday at 3pm ET. With so many of the big boys showing up this week, I'm looking for some fireworks and maybe -- possibly -- some movement in the Ruthless Golf World Rankings.

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