The field this week will be set at around 156 golfers. This isn’t a Pro-Am — the top 65 players and ties will make the weekend after Friday’s cut — but we do have a bit of venue quirkiness again, as two courses will be in play. Players will tee it up once on Torrey South and once on Torrey North between Thursday and Friday, then switch over strictly to the South Course this weekend. The North Course is also significantly easier than the South, so scores between the two will differ drastically most days.
The fields in PGA usually start to get stronger around this week, and this year is no exception. There are six players from the OWGR top 10 in the field at Torrey as of writing, and several other big names are attached. Jon Rahm, a two-time winner at Torrey Pines, is in the field, and we’ll also get our first look at Dustin Johnson in 2022 this week. Jason Day (a multiple-time winner at Torrey Pines) and Patrick Reed (last year’s winner) are also in the field.
This year, the event will feature a Wednesday start. The idea is to finish on Saturday to avoid Conference Championship Sunday in the NFL. The event will feature a two-day cut (top 65 players and ties) after Thursday, then finish on Saturday.
Torrey Pines—San Diego, California
South (home course) 7600-7700 yards, par 72
North 7200-7300 yards, par 72
As mentioned above, two courses are in play on the first two days of the event with the Friday and Saturday golf being exclusively on the South course. As for how the venues set up, Torrey Pines South is a completely different challenge than what the players will have been exposed to so far this year. It’s consistently ranked as one of the hardest courses on the PGA TOUR and yields one of the lowest birdie-or-better percentages every season. Last year, it played as the seventh-toughest on the PGA TOUR and +.534 above par, despite relative calm conditions.
Torrey North will play much easier than the South, but it was renovated a couple of years ago to modernize it and now represents a decent challenge on its own. Last year, the North played quite a bit easier overall, ranking as just the 33rd-toughest course (out of 41), so players will still need to get some scoring done there to compete.
The North course features four reachable par 5s, and you’ll almost certainly need a good under-par round from your players there if they are going to advance to the weekend. On the South course, scoring well on the par 5s is also important, as the the venue features a ton of longer par 4s that are difficult to play. Length isn’t the only factor that makes Torrey South a difficult test, but six of the 10 par 4s on the course do measure in at over 450 yards in length, while only one measures in at under 400.
The players will also be putting on poa annua greens (on the South course anyway, the North is now Bentgrass), which can be very difficult to maneuver. A few of the other courses on the West Coast swing also use some type of poa annau (Pebble Beach, Riviera) and many of the players this week will be more comfortable than others on this surface.
Pretty much everything is tougher here as the field’s scrambling stats, fairways hit and GIR percentage are all always significantly lower here than the PGA TOUR average. The venue also produces one of the highest amounts of 200-plus approach shots of any venue on the PGA TOUR. Last year’s winner, Patrick Reed, was able to buck the trend of big hitters off the tee, as he had a solid ball-striking week (for him) but gained +8.4 strokes around and on the greens combined to stroll to a big win. Regardless of how far they hit the ball, players will need to be able to scramble and putt well due to the difficultly of hitting greens in regulation here (and the overall difficulty of the around-the-green structures). You should emphasize short games nearly as much as distance at this venue and course experience (Reed had finished T23 or better in the three previous years) also tends to play very strongly, as well.
2022 Outlook: There doesn’t appear to be a whole ton to worry about in terms of weather this year. The temperatures will be cool, which is likely the biggest take away from the forecast. Morning lows could be in the low 50 degrees Fahrenheit range, which means the courses will play longer than normal. Distance is always a factor at Torrey but could be even more so this year, as highs aren’t expected to reach past the mid 60s on any of the four days. Wind could potentially pick up Thursday afternoon, which may impact play on the more exposed North Course. It’s not likely to involve significant enough gusts to be a factor in roster building, but Thursday’s forecast is something to watch, nonetheless.
Last 5 winners
2021—Patrick Reed -14 (over Xander Schauffle -9)
2020—Marc Leishman -15 (over Jon Rahm -14)
2019—Justin Rose -21 (over Adam Scott -19)
2018—Jason Day -10 (over Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer playoff)
2017—Jon Rahm -13 (over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan -10)
- Recent form does not seem to be a huge deal at this event (at least for the winners), as only two of the last eight winners had recorded a top-10 performance on the year before winning here (Day in 2015 and Brandt Snedeker in 2016).
- Eight of the last 11 winners had a South/North draw — meaning they played the South course on Thursday and the North on Friday. However, the last three winners here all had a North/South draw.
- Seven of the past eight winners (exception being Jason Day in 2018) made at least one professional start in the calendar year before winning.
Winners Stats and Course Highlights
Patrick Reed ($8,700)
2020 lead-in form (MC-T21-T10-T14)
- The last two winners (Reed and Leishman) have both rode insanely hot putters to wins. Reed gained less than +2.0 ball-striking for the week but was +8.4 ATG/Putting for the week combined.
- Solid poa putters like Snedeker have almost as good a shot here as the big hitters, despite the longer setup, as many players struggle with the bumpy poa greens. You will generally see lots of missed putts at this event.
- This is still a venue where you want to emphasize distance and consistency off the tee, as the longer par 5s are where scoring needs to be done. The top 10 here is often littered with players in the top 50 in Driving Distance or SG:OTT stats.
- Behind Reed last year were the likes of Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland, two of the premier ball-striker on TOUR, who both gained +5.0 strokes ball-striking for the week.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
- Patrick Reed $8,700 and +5000
- Talor Gooch $8,900 and +5000
- Corey Conners $8,800 and +5000
- All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Jon Rahm ($11,200; best finishes: 2017-win, second-2020): Rahm has become the Final Boss of Torrey Pines, and he’s a tough one to face at that. He has four top-10 finishes and a win at this event over the last five years and won the 2021 U.S. Open, which Torrey Pines hosted. Oh yeah, and he leads the field in SG: Total stats at this venue over the last five years, too. Load up on extra lives if you’re fading him this week.
2. Jason Day ($7,500; best finish: win – 2018, 2015): Despite being marred by perpetual poor form the last few years, Day has maintained a solid record at Torrey Pines. He’s posted two wins and five top-10 finishes at Torrey over his career and landed a T16 in 2020. A made cut last week should have people semi-bullish on him at one of his best venues.
3. Tony Finau ($9,100; best finish: T4-2017, T6-2018): Finau ranks just behind Rahm in terms of Strokes Gained: Total stats at Torrey Pines the last five years and has landed T6 or better placings at this event in four of his last five trips to Torrey as well. The big hitter’s salary should make him a very popular DFS play.
4. Marc Leishman ($9,000; best finish: 2020-win, T8-2018): Leishman has been in contention at Torrey Pines numerous times throughout his career and finally broke through for the win at this event in 2020. Over 12 career appearances, he’s only missed the cut twice at Torrey Pines and has one of the most consistent records among the elite players at this very volatile setup. He’s a lead course horse and comes in with solid form.
5. Ryan Palmer ($8,100; best finish: T2-2020, T2-2018): Palmer ranks fifth in terms of strokes gained total stats at this event over the past five seasons (despite playing here just four times over that span). He’s finished T13 or better at this venue each of the past four years and lost in a three-way playoff at this event in 2018. Palmer’s record makes him a good value target this week.
Top Recent Form
1. Hideki Matsuyama ($10,600, Recent finishes: win-T13): Matsuyama is coming off a great week at the Sony, where he shot 63-63 on the weekend. He now has two wins in his last three starts and is up to 10th in the OWGR.
2. Sungjae Im ($9,300, Recent finishes: T11-MC-T8): Im has started the season well. He has T8 (Maui) and T11 (Amex) finishes already under his belt in 2022. He’s got five top-20 finishes in his last six starts.
3. Jon Rahm ($11,200, Recent finishes: T14-second): Rahm finished runner-up in his first start of the year in Maui and grabbed a T14 last week. He is heating up after a slow fall and ranks first in this field in SG: TTG stats over the last 50 rounds.
4. Justin Thomas ($10,900, Recent finishes: T5-T5): Thomas has finished T4 or better now in four of his last six starts on the PGA. He’s gained over +1.0 strokes on approach in seven straight starts.
5. Tom Hoge ($7,500, Recent finishes: second-MC-T4): Hoge made a run at the win last week but came up short to finish in solo second. He has now made seven of his last eight cuts and landed top-5 finishes in two of his last three starts.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Schauffele and Burns great cornerstones
There are lots of bigger names to consider this week, and we will likely see a lot of volatility among the higher priced players. That said, both Sam Burns ($9,700) and Xander Schauffele ($10,100) look like players with good motivation, good form and decent enough course history that we should be pretty amped to roster them at these prices. Schauffele posted a T2 at this event last year and also grabbed a top 10 at last year’s U.S. Open — contested at Torrey Pines. He’s likely got a small edge on Burns in experience. Burns’ recent form, though, is enough to get on board with him at these prices, too. He’s got five top-10 finishes in his last nine starts and will be playing this event for the fifth time in his short career. Other potential cash game targets include the likes of Marc Leishman ($9,000), Francesco Molinari ($7,600 - see below) and Brandt Snedeker ($7,400).
Tournaments: Get down with Dustin
While course history is something to value this week, most top players have at least one or two missed cuts at this week’s event. Dustin Johnson ($10,300) is no exception to this rule, as he has three missed cuts and posted just two top-20 finishes at this week’s event/venue in seven career appearances. One of those finishes was a T3 from back in 2011, and Johnson’s track record on the West Coast suggests he makes for a good upside pick here in big field GPPs, given his uninspiring course history will likely keep his ownership levels down. Matthew Wolff ($8,500) is in a similar spot here, as his recent form — missed cut last week — may help people forget he finished T15 at this venue in the U.S. Open last season. Other big field GPP targets this week include the likes of Luke List ($7,600), Patrick Rodgers ($7,100) and Stephan Jaeger ($6,500).
MY PICK: Maverick McNealy ($8,200)
This event often sees big carnage in terms of the cut rate among the more elite players. With that in mind, I really don’t have an issue dipping down in salary this week and featuring a more mid-tier player in the feature spot. McNealy got off to a solid start in Hawaii, posting a T27 finish there. He’s now made 13 of his last 14 cuts on TOUR and has clearly found a level of consistency that’s giving him a shot to make moves on the weekend, more often than not. Over his last two events, McNealy has also displayed a very confident long game that’s seen him gain +5.0 strokes or more in the ball-striking department alone in his last two starts.
It’s easy to forget, but it was just last September that McNealy held a multiple-shot lead down the stretch at the Fortinet Championship at another West Coast venue in Silverado. He got pipped by a career nine holes from Max Homa ($8,400) there, but as a Stanford grad, McNealy showed us how much he appreciates these West Coast, poa-laden setups. This will be his third time playing Torrey Pines at the Farmers, and he’s already grabbed T15 and T29 finishes. Heading in with confidence, I like him to go a step further and challenge for a top 10 (or better) here, which would make him an excellent DFS target at just over $8,000.
MY SLEEPER: Francesco Molinari ($7,600)
After last week, there’s likely to be a bit of buzz surrounding Molinari, but it is for good reason. The Italian (who now resides on the West Coast in California) landed a T6 at The American Express, shooting four rounds of 68 or better and gaining +4.0 strokes ball-striking in his two rounds on the Stadium Course. Molinari has endured some ups and downs since winning The Open in 2018, but he did show some signs of turning his game around last year.
Molinari’s record on the West Coast swing is worth mentioning, too, as he landed a T13 at the U.S. Open last year (held at Torrey Pines) despite coming in with almost no form. He’s also finished T10 at the Farmers before and made the cut in three of his last four appearances at this event. Molinari popped for two top-10 finishes on the West Coast last year, and he seems ripe for another run in this event. At $7.6K, he’s got the blend of course history and current form we want to target and makes for a good value option in the mid-7K range this week on DraftKings.
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