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Golf is the best. The PGA Tour did everyone a favor by scheduling the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open Wednesday-Saturday to make way for the NFL Conference championships.
Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego hosts a stacked field with five of the top-10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings. One round will be at the North course with the other three at the South course.
Aka the Tiger Woods Invitational, the Farmers Insurance Open is most famous for being the tourney Tiger won seven times in his legendary career when it was called the “Buick Invitational”.
Woods has handed over custody to World No. 3 Jon Rahm who won the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and the 2021 U.S. Open, which was also played at Torrey Pines.
Rahm is on a heater, winning back-to-back PGA Tour events including last week’s American Express Open in Coachella Valley, California.
My 2022-23 PGA Tour balance dropped to +16.51 units (u) after 11 events handicapped after a disappointing AmEx. The recap of my American Express Open bets are at the bottom of this post.
All five of the golfers I backed at last week’s American Express Open had a chance to make us money entering the final round. Rahm left the door open for someone to run him down, but no one could.
Before we get into the Farmers Insurance Open bet slip, we’ll go over course conditions and key performance indicators (KPIs) factored into my picks.
Course breakdown and KPIs for the Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines is one of the longest and most famous courses on tour. The South course is 7,765 yards long and the North course is 7,258 yards. Both are Par 72s with four Par 3s, four Par 5s and 10 Par 4s.
Poa grass makes up the greens at Torrey Pines, which is common for these California-based golf courses. Luke List is the defending champion of the Farmers Insurance Open, beating Will Zalatoris in a playoff.
The average winning score over the last five Farmers Insurance Opens is 15-under and the average cut-line is 2-under. Comp courses used in my Farmers Insurance Opens power rankings:
- Quail Hollow Club for the Wells Fargo Championship and the 2017 PGA Championship
- Corales Golf Course for the Corales Puntacana Championship
- Congaree Golf Club for The CJ Cup in South Carolina
- Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club for the Zozo Championship
- Muirfield Village Golf Club for the Memorial Tournament
- Driving Accuracy
- Strokes Gained (SG): Approach (APP)
- Proximity (PROX). 150-200+
- SG: Par 4
- Par 4 Efficiency (EFF): 450-500
- SG: Par 5
- Greens-in-regulation (GIRs) gained
- Bogeys Avoided
- 3-Putt Avoidance
- SG: Putting on Poa (over the last 24 rounds)
Other factors mixed into my Farmers Insurance Open power rankings include SG over the last 24 rounds, Torrey Pines course history, and SG at long courses with difficult scoring conditions.
The Farmers Insurance Open Four Horsemen
- All stats are provided by FantasyNational.com unless noted.
Sungjae is third in my Farmers Insurance Power rankings and has the seventh-best odds to win this event, according to DraftKings, hence the value.
Im is fourth on my KPI-model thanks to ranking 15th in this field for driving accuracy, 17th in SG: APP, second in PROX: 200+, sixth in Par 4 EFF: 450-500 and second in SG: Par 5.
Torrey Pines is your standard U.S. Open course in that it has long, narrow fairways where the scoring conditions are tough and bogeys are more common than birdies. Im pops because he is solid throughout the bag.
This is a muscle memory bet also. The 2022 Farmers Insurance Open was my first PGA Tour handicapped last season and an Im top-10 bet cashed for me when he finished sixth.
Furthermore, Sungjae is seventh in SG for this field over the last 24 rounds, 19th in SG at Torrey Pines, 17th in SG at comp courses used and 14th in SG: Putting on Poa over the last 24 rounds.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Sungjae Im odds:
- Win: (0.5u: +2200)
- Top-5: (0.5u: +450)
- Top-10: (0.5u: +220)
No golfer has cost me money over the last year or so than Matsuyama but I swear to god I’m going to cash on Matsuyama’s next win.
The 2022 Masters Champion has proven he can play at difficult courses. He’s picking up nearly 1.5 strokes per round on the field at courses with difficult scoring conditions.
Matsuyama is second in SG over the last 50 rounds at long, difficult golf courses. He’s first in SG: Tee-to-Green, second in SG: APP, and sixth in SG: Ball-striking (BS).
This has to be a buy-low spot for Matsuyama since he hasn’t because he hasn’t finished in the top-10 since the 2022 U.S. Open. But, there’s no question that Matsuyama is a sleeping giant.
More importantly, Matsuyama is ninth in my Farmers Insurance Open power rankings and has the 12th-best odds, per DraftKings.
Matsuyama is 17th in SG over the last 24 rounds despite not finishing higher than 11th in those six events. He is sixth in SG at Torrey Pines with a third in the 2019 Farmers and 12th the year prior.
Lastly, Matsuyama’s major weakness is with the flat-stick but his best putting surface is Poa greens and Matsuyama ranks seventh in SG at comp courses used.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Hideki Matsuyama odds:
- Win: (0.25u: +4000)
- Top-5: (0.25u: +750)
- Top-10: (0.25u: +350)
- Top-20: (0.75u: +160)
I’m iffy about Homa winning this tournament, especially considering how strong the field is and Rahm owns Torrey Pines since Tiger has all but left the tour.
However, Homa is a California kid that is lights out putting on Poa greens and usually saves par no matter how much trouble he gets in along the way.
One of Homa’s five career victories was at the 2021 Genesis Invitational, which is played at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, California and has Poa greens.
Homa is eighth in my Farmers power rankings, fifth in SG on my KPI-model, 14th in SG for comp courses used, and sixth in SG: Putting on Poa greens over the last 24 rounds.
He won the 2019 and 2022 Wells Fargo Championship, fifth in the 2022 Memorial Tournament and sixth in the 2021 Memorial. Homa finished 18th in the 2021 Farmers and ninth in 2020.
Finally, I just kinda feel it with Homa and think he has a breakout season in 2023. Homa hasn’t faired well in majors so the Farmers is a good litmus test for if he will compete for a major this year.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Max Homa odds:
- Win: (0.25u: +2200)
- Top-5: (0.25u: +450)
- Top-20: (1u: +110)
This is just a sprinkle because Grillo sucks putting and has missed three straight cuts at the Farmers. But, it’s is a good buy-low spot on Grillo who I’ve successfully backed in events last season.
A lot of internet PGA handicappers have backed Grillo but he’s struggled recently so we are finally getting a good price for him.
Grillo is 13th in my Farmers Insurance Open power rankings and eighth in my KPI-model. He is an elite ball-striker even in tough fields.
In fact, Grillo ranks 14th in SG: BS over the last 50 rounds, fifth in PROX: 200+, 15th in SG: Par 4, fifth in GIRs gained and 18th in bogeys avoided.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and bet the following Emiliano Grillo odds:
- Win: (0.125u: +9000)
- Top-5: (0.125u: +1600)
- Top-10: (0.25u: +700)
- Top-20: (0.5u: +300)
Farmers Insurance Open Head-to-Heads
Matthew NeSmith (+100) > Beau Hossler
This is a simple value-play because NeSmith is 30th in my Farmers Insurance Open power rankings and Hossler is 68th.
Hossler is a much better putter than NeSmith on Poa greens but that’s about the only edge he has over him. NeSmith is 30th in my KPI-model while Hossler is just 103rd.
NeSmith is sixth in SG: APP, ninth in PROX: 175-200, 13th in SG: BS, 11th in GIRs gained and 25th in SG: Par 5. Hossler ranks 105th or worse in this field in driving accuracy, SG: BS, SG: APP, and PROX: 150-200+
Lastly, NeSmith ranks ahead of Hossler in SG over the last 24 rounds (33rd vs. 45th), SG over the last 50 rounds at comp courses used (63rd vs. 89th) and SG over the last 50 rounds at Torrey Pines (39th vs. 46th).
The Farmers Insurance Open Final Bet Slip
- Sungjae Im: Win, top-5 & top-10 (1.5u)
- Hideki Matsuyama: Win, top-5, top-10 & top-20 (1.5u)
- Max Homa: Win, top-5 & top-20 (1.5u)
- Emiliano Grillo: Win, top-5, top-10 & top-20 (1u)
- Matthew NeSmith (1u: +100) > Beau Hossler
2023 American Express Open (-2.48u)
Win & Picks To Place
- Tom Kim tied for sixth: Top-10 (+0.1u) 💰
- Win & Top-5 ❌
- Sam Burns tied for 11th: Top-20 (+0.68u) 💰
- Win, top-5 & top-10 ❌
- Si Woo Kim tied for 22nd: Win, top-5, top-10 & top-20 (-1.5u) ❌
- Thomas Detry tied for 26th: Win, top-5, top-10 & top-20 (-1u) ❌
- Ben Griffin tied for 32nd: Win, top-10 & top-20 (-0.75u) ❌
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