Farmers Insurance Open preview

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open played over the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines. Bubba Watson defends the title and three-time champion Phil Mickelson is on the start sheet.

Bubba Watson defends Farmers Insurance Open (Getty Images)

Lowdown: The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open played over the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines. Bubba Watson defends the title and three-time champion Phil Mickelson is on the start sheet. This tournament began life as the San Diego Open way back in 1927 and, until 2009, it was known as the Buick Invitational. In that guise it was won six times by Tiger Woods. The tournament is contested over the two courses at Torrey Pines - North and South. The pros will play one round on each on Thursday and Friday before those who make the cut go on to play the last two rounds over the South Course. Revamped for the 2002 Buick Invitational, the South Course at Torrey Pines was the venue for the 2008 US Open. San Diego native Phil Mickelson will be making his 22nd consecutive appearance in his tournament. He's won on three occasions (1993, 2000 and 2001) and finished in the top-five eight times.

Venue: Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California Date: Jan 26-29 Course stats: South Course - par 72, 7,568 yards; North Course - par 72, 6,874 yards Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,044,000 Defending Champion: Bubba Watson (-16)

TV Coverage: Thursday 26 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Friday 27 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Saturday 28 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm Sunday 29 - Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm

Player Watch: Phil Mickelson - The three-time winner was second in this event last year. It's like a home fixture for "Lefty" and he always looks relaxed competing at this venue.

Ernie Els - The big South African lost out in a playoff for the Volvo Champions at Fancourt last week. He's finished in the top-10 in this event both times he's entered previously. If he can get over the jetlag, he could well feature.

Robert Garrigus - Narrowly missed out last week in the Humana Challenge, his power game is suited to Torrey Pines.  

Key hole: 12th. A monster par 4 of 504 yards, bunkers wait left and right for both drive and approach shot. When the wind blows hard against, some players will struggle to reach the putting surface in two shots. It ranked as the hardest hole on the course in both 2010 and 2011.

Skills required: Power hitting. Over the years it's been the Tour's longest hitters who have enjoyed success at Torrey Pines - Tiger's won six times and Mickelson three. Nick Watney, John Daly and Bubba Watson have also won. Look for the winner to be a bomber. Where next? European Tour - Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship preview

Fergus Bisset
Fergus Bisset

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?