The Farmers Insurance Open a Good Early Gauge for 2020 Majors
By Mark Morton on January 23, 2020
So here we go! It seems like the 2020 season is really beginning this week in La Jolla, CA at Torrey Pines.
As we pointed out in our 2020 Masters preview, Tiger ended calendar 2019 with some very solid play and it would not be a surprise to see him get win #83 and pass Sam Snead for the most wins in PGA Tour history. He's won here 8 times (7 Buick Invitational/Farmers), including the incredible 2008 U.S. Open playoff win over Rocco Mediate when he essentially played on one leg. And when you look at his major record after winning early in a season at Torrey Pines, he's went on to win a major in 5 of 7 years. So this week will tell us a lot about Tiger and his prospects for majors in 2020.
A top player to watch closely this week is Rory McIlroy. We haven't seen him on the PGA Tour since last November when he won the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, but he's currently the 2nd ranked player in the golf world rankings and really looks to have his game in order. Rory offers the potential to be a big factor in 2020 majors.
One player that offers great intrigue this week is Jordan Spieth. In both of his major championship seasons in 2015 & 2017 he won early in the year and if he's to work himself back into contending in the majors in 2020 he needs another early win. His confidence needs the boost that only winning can provide. Speith's putting has improved greatly, he finished #1 in overall putting in 2019 after falling to 83rd in 2018. When he was the best player in the world in 2015 he finished #1 as well in overall putting, so his game seems to parallel his putting and this upward tick is a good sign. This week will tell us a lot as the greens at Torrey Pines are major championship surfaces.
Jon Rahm won here in 2017 and Justin Rose defends his 2019 title, so both of these Top 10 players are definitely worth watching to see how their games are shaping up as we head into April and The Masters. But like Jordan Spieth, another player that is not currently in the Top 10 that we need to watch is Jason Day. He's fallen to #44 in the world, but is a 2-time champion here at Torrey. It will be interesting to see if Day can once again find his form that made him one of the best major championship bets in 2015 & 2016.
Because Torrey Pines has always offered a great, major-like setup (the 2021 U.S Open is here) it's a terrific venue for us to learn more about the best players in the world and the current state of their games.