Farmers Insurance Open preview

The PGA Tour stays in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods makes his 2013 PGA Tour season debut


The PGA Tour stays in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods makes his 2013 PGA Tour season debut. Tour graduate Russell Henley and veteran Brian Gay won the last two PGA Tour tournaments, but the Farmers Insurance looks poised for a high-profile winner.

Woods is joined in the field by a host of Ryder Cup stars and major winners, including Phil Mickelson, Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker.

Snedeker won the tournament last year in dramatic circumstances. His compatriot Kyle Stanley held a three shot lead standing on the 18th tee, but he found water with his third to the par five and three putted for a triple bogey eight. Snedeker would go on to win the resulting play-off.

The tournament is again contested over Torrey Pines' South and North courses. The North is comparatively easy at just 6,874 yards, but the brutish 7,569-yard South Course - where Woods defeated Rooco Mediate in a play-off at the US Open in 2008 - will cause most of the problems.

The tournament is steeped in history, and started out in 1927 as the San Diego Open. The past list of winners reads like a who's who of golfing legends, with the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Mickelson and Woods all triumphing in this event.

Venue: Torrey Pines (18 holes on North Course, 54 on South Course) Date: Jan 24-27 Cours Stats: North Course - par-72, 6,874 yards; South Course - par-72, 7,569 yards Purse: $6,100,000; winning share $1,080,000 Defending champion: Brandt Snedeker (-16)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 24 - Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Friday 25 - Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Saturday 26 - Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Sunday 27 - Sky Sports 3 from 6pm

Player Watch: Phil Mickelson - The left-hander played some good golf at the Humana Challenge last week and he boasts three career victories at Torrey Pines. Dustin Johnson - The big-hitting American won the season opener in Hawaii and should be well suited to the long South Course. Charles Howell III - Howell III has made a fast start to the 2013 PGA Tour season, with a top-ten at the Sony Open and a play-off loss at the Humana Challenge. He's also finished second twice at Torrey Pines.
Key Hole
: The South Course's 572-yard par-5 18th. This is a good birdie chance, but as Stanley and Andy Williams - who made a 10 when in contention in 1975 - have demonstrated, anything can happen.


Nick Bonfield
Features Editor

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, writing, commissioning and coordinating all features across print and online. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x