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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS (Course History) - Farmers Insurance Open

Hello again PGA family and thanks for joining me here at RotoBaller! Andrew Landry popped up to win the American Express last week in a shootout over Abe Ancer and Scottie Scheffler. It was Landry's second-career win on the PGA Tour and it is safe to categorize this one as a huge surprise, as he came to the AmEx on the heels of five-straight missed cuts!

Last week's Horse, Charles Howell III, proved to be an unmitigated disaster as he missed the cut in this event for the first time in a million years. With CH3 withdrawing from this week's Farmers, it's pretty safe to assume that there is an injury situation going on. Hopefully, this week's highlighted players will be injury free and a little more successful!

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history, for my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. Be sure to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

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Farmers Insurance Open Overview

After an avalanche of birdies in the desert last week, players will find things a bit tougher at the Farmers Insurance Open. Justin Rose won last year's Farmers at 21-under par, the lowest score this event had seen in nearly two decades. Rose is back to defend his title, but I would be very surprised if we see that type of scoring again this year.

Torrey Pines South is slated to host the 2021 U.S. Open and while it won't be in "U.S. Open mode" yet, I expect it to provide a fairly stiff test this week. Rose will be joined by Tiger Woods, who will be making his first start of 2020 after a hugely successful offseason in which he captured the ZOZO Championship and captained the U.S. team to a President's Cup victory. Woods has owned Torrey Pines throughout his career. This will be the strongest field we've seen in 2020, with stars like Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day all scheduled to tee it up this week!

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week.

 

The Course: Torrey Pines

South: Par 72 - 7,698 Yards, Greens: Bent w/ Poa
North: Par 72 - 7,258 Yards, Greens: Bent

While nothing like last week's American Express, we are again faced with rotating courses this week. Over the first two rounds, players will play once on Torrey Pines South and once on Torrey Pines North. Those that make the cut will finish out the weekend on the South course, the more famous and difficult of the two.

The South course hosted the 2008 U.S. Open and is slated to host the 2021 U.S. Open if that gives you any indication as to its quality. The two courses are vastly different with the North playing much easier than the difficult South.

Players will need to take advantage of their round on the North and survive the South in order to play on the weekend. The cut line is often around even or a few shots over par, though last year provided the lowest scores we'd seen in this event in years. Players that make the cut will play both weekend rounds on the South course and it can be brutal. It is long and mean, with thick rough. The South course will test every facet of a player's tee-to-green game. This will send me toward targeting players with complete games rather than a specific strength with an emphasis on golfers that have a history of performing well on tough courses.

 

The Horse

Jon Rahm (DraftKings - $11,300)

Notable Course History: T5 ('19), T29 ('18), Win ('17)

Lots of smart people are predicting a big year for Jon Rahm in 2020 and there's a good chance it starts right here at the Farmers. Rahm heads to Torrey Pines on a remarkable run of form, having won twice internationally during the fall season and logging a top-10 at the Sentry TOC despite losing 1.1 strokes putting. The Spaniard has been a beast in the Farmers, recording a win, a T5, and a T29 in three career starts.

It's the type of potent combination of current form and course history that we're always attempting to pinpoint in this article. Over his last 36 rounds, Rahm grades out top-five in this field in Strokes Gained: Total, Ball Striking, and Off the Tee, as well as DraftKings Points Scored. We all know that he's an explosive scorer, but Rahm also grades out eighth in the field in Bogeys Avoided - an aspect that shouldn't go overlooked this week. Outside of Rory McIlroy - who doesn't have the course history needed to make this week's list - Rahm grades out better for me statistically than anyone else in the Farmer's field.

 

The Ponies

Tiger Woods (DraftKings - $10,800)

Notable Course History: Eight Career Wins at Torrey Pines

Maybe they should change the name of this place to Tiger Pines? That’s how good Tiger Woods has been here throughout his legendary career. He has eight career victories at Torrey, including the unforgettable 2008 U.S. Open on what was basically a broken leg.

What’s so exciting is that Tiger’s inclusion here this week isn’t just due to sentimentality, as he is - as crazy as it sounds - currently in some of the best form of his career at 44-years-old. An offseason knee procedure appears to have rejuvenated Woods, as he won the ZOZO Championship in October and legitimately looked like the best player on the U.S. President’s Cup team last month.

 

Tony Finau (DraftKings - $9,300)

Notable Course History: T13 ('19), T6 ('18), T4 ('17), T18 ('16)

I’ve been a Tony Finau apologist for like three years now and it’s been a fun ride, as I’ve seen Finau go from a nobody to contending in majors and making Ryder & President’s Cup teams. However, it’s getting tougher and tougher to defend my guy’s inability to close, as another season passed without a win from Big Tony in 2019.

So, since I’ve stopped predicting wins for Finau, I’ll just say that this week sets up very nicely for my dude. He’s historically been a beast at Torrey and trails just Charles Howell III in Strokes Gained: Total in this event since 2015 at 38.6. He hasn’t finished outside the top-25 at the Farmers in his last five appearances with a T6 and a T4 thrown in for good measure. He played well at the American Express last week and he’s traditionally thrived at major-championship-type layouts that are long and difficult. As I mentioned a second ago, I don’t call Finau victories anymore, but I’m just sayin’...

 

Jason Day (DraftKing - $9,000)

Notable Course History: T13 ('19), T2 ('18), MC ('17), MC ('16), Win ('15)

Gotta mention Jason Day this week, so WELCOME TO THE UPSIDE DOWN! The dude has won twice here in the past five years for crying out loud! I don’t currently have any knowledge of back spasms, vertigo, knee issues, blurred vision, migraines, cracked fingernails, or a planned family trip that is going on with Day...but it is early in the week. If the Aussie does make it to his tee time, he could be dangerous in this event.

True to form, he’s been extremely tough to predict at the Farmers, as he sandwiched two missed cuts in between his wins and a T5 last year. He looked horrible in a missed cut at Mayakoba back in November and skipped the President’s Cup, so good luck trying to figure out where his game is at the moment. When we factor in the injury concerns, bad recent form, peaks-and-valleys course history, and the long layoff...we’re probably just a bout with the flu and a pro-am WD away from Jason Day playing great this week.

 

Ryan Palmer (DraftKings - $8,000)

Notable Course History: T13 ('19), T2 ('18)

Last seen banging a three-wood from a fairway bunker off a scoreboard in Hawaii (they're still looking for the ball), Ryan Palmer is on a legit heater! The Texan has ripped off four-straight finishes of 17th or better since October and logged a top-five in his most recent outing at the aforementioned Sony Open.

Palmer will bring that trending form to a Torrey setup that’s been very good to him over the last couple of years. He’s went T13-T2 in his last two Farmers starts and might go a bit overlooked in this week’s strong field. He’s averaged gaining a ridiculously-strong 5.3 strokes total over his last five tournaments.

 

Harris English (DraftKings - $7,400)

Notable Course History: MC ('19), T8 ('18), T14 ('17), T31 ('16), T2 ('15)

Harris English is a player that's been in my DFS orbit since the Swing Season when he went on an incredible run of four top-six finishes over six starts. After a bit of a layoff, I hopped back on him last week at the AmEx, where he looked rusty en route to an underwhelming T48.

English should have the rust knocked off as he heads to the Farmers this week and outside of a missed cut last year, he's played very well in previous trips to Torrey Pines, with three top-15 finishes in this event since 2015. It's fair to wonder if he's lost the mojo he had working in the fall, but English showcased his explosive scoring ability with a third-round 64 last week and he offers some legitimate upside at this price point.

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