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01/26/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/26/2021 15:53

Fantasy Insider: Farmers Insurance Open

Not gonna lie. It's a sad day.

As noted at the bottom and throughout all of the in-house fantasy content over the last week, the comments sections are being eliminated. It states Jan. 26, but I don't know exactly when the plug will be pulled.

Comments were introduced in March of 2014, but I had been connecting directly with readers since my first few days at Rotoworld in January of 2008. Interaction was limited to email and Twitter, what little there was on the latter at the time, believe it or not. When the comments were introduced on this website, I embraced it. Eventually, so did a few of you.

While familiar with the drawbacks and pitfalls of comments sections in general, I vowed to do everything within my control of fostering an environment that wasn't expected; that is, to help build and nurture a community of invitation and inclusion, not resistance and hate. It seems simple but we all know that it's the exception to the rule elsewhere.

RELATED:Power Rankings | Expert Picks

Until PGATOUR.com considers the next possibility for your voice to join in the conversation here, please consider pivoting to the options as described in the disclaimer at the bottom.

In the meantime, I want to single out Adam, Annie, Brian, Derek, Lance, Paul, Peter and Roy for your contributions in the space that is disappearing, assuming those are your real names! Same goes to the pseudonyms of the anonymous like RF, SEFF, TexasSwede and Tres. These folks were regulars at the corner hangout where we never ran out of places to sit and mingle. I will miss you more than you realize. We're all a part of each other's lives in some way, and I'm proud that we supported an online culture that was respectful and equal. Thank you.

For all support-related matters concerning PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, I've added the contact email to my Twitter bio. It's [email protected]. I also specified that it's not my email. It's the inbox for tech only. I do not see what you send.

As it concerns the strategy for building a lineup for the Farmers Insurance Open, it's simple. Because the North Course at Torrey Pines plays significantly easier than the South (as explained in the Power Rankings), squeeze out six starts over the first two rounds. Weather could dictate if it's smarter to plan for a 4x2 or 2x4. If not, the standard 3x3 split for the rotation would be useful. Either way, consider a balance of this objective with your value on the board.

Since ShotLink isn't used on the North Course, shot-level data will not be contributing to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf even though the South Course is lasered, so we are targeting only actual scores and bonus points. Scoring will be higher in the tournament proper, so fantasy scoring will drop some. Therefore, a missed cut won't have as great an impact as last week when par breakers and sub-70s were commonplace.

Because weather could impact decisions this week, I'll plan on revisiting the forecast on Twitter later on Wednesday. Might as well use that as an opportunity to segue into that platform as the primary means of direct communication with you for the foreseeable future. I hope to see you there.

PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf

My roster for the Farmers Insurance Open (in alphabetical order):
Tony Finau
Marc Leishman
Hideki Matsuyama
Rory McIlroy
Jon Rahm
Adam Scott

You'll find my starters in Expert Picks

Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Corey Conners; Harris English; Jason Kokrak; Ryan Palmer; Patrick Reed; Xander Schauffele; Cameron Smith; Matthew Wolff
Driving: n/a

POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Gary Woodland … He's sure making this difficult. If he's still in any pain from the torn labrum in his hip, it didn't show at PGA WEST where his length was on display ahead of a taut iron game en route to a five-way share of 16th place. It's the best news for season-long owners who have wondered how much he can compete without shutting it down for more invasive solutions than the cortisone shots he's received. With his high sticker price in every format, it shouldn't feel like a bonus, but everything in our world is relative. Now, and in a vacuum, he's an automatic for Torrey Pines where he's 10-for-11 with five top 20s, four consecutively from 2016-2019. Yes, the challenge is greater than last week's but last week's was a greater challenge for him, anyway.

DRAWS
Bubba Watson … It took him a few starts after the shutdown, but he's been on the upswing since August. Since capturing the title at Torrey Pines in 2011, he's finished T13 (2012), T23 (2014) and T6 (2020), and those reflect his only return trips. Although he's 42 years old, his strengths will defy age. Never a Sleeper but it's funny how quickly we can forget about him. Get him in there.

Matthew Wolff … The SoCal native placed T21 in his Farmers debut a year ago, so he's comfy in these climes. Scuffling since a T2 at the Shriners in October, so recency-bias devotees likely will be shopping elsewhere, but he's proven not to slump since turning pro in 2019. Consider a DFS lineup with him and a couple of other risks to confuse the sharks.

Adam Scott … Runner-up to Justin Rose in 2019 but sat out last year's edition (while Rose sits out this week). Now in his second appearance, the Aussie presents as a predictable piece to survive the cut and contribute on the weekend. He's been uninspiring since turning 40 last summer, but he still serves a purpose and he still brings the potential to contend.

Martin Laird … He's 9-for-12 with a pair of top 10s at Torrey Pines, and he's missed only one cut in his last eight trips. Currently 10th on TOUR in fairways hit and fourth in greens in regulation. Already a winner this season at the Shriners, so the pressure is off to allow his talent to go to work.

Jason Kokrak … Another winner already this season (Shadow Creek) has three top 25s in his last four appearances at the Farmers. Suits his game off the tee but he brings the entire bag.

Corey Conners … Quietly enjoying a fruitful season with three top 10s among six top 25s thanks to the kind of consistently strong ball-striking for which he's become known. In his only prior visit to Torrey Pines, he finished T29 in 2018.

Charles Howell III … After making it 20-for-20 at Waialae, it's not the time to consider him missing his first cut in 18 appearances at Torrey Pines. Even better, his last five resulted in top 20s. Overall, three of his eight top 10s and 12 top 20s are runner-up finishes.

Will Zalatoris … Finally! It's not his fault that he hasn't appeared since a T52 at Mayakoba, and he needed a sponsor exemption to peg it at Torrey Pines this week, but the best brush it off and figure out a way to excel, anyway. He'll be a PGA TOUR member by 2021-22 at the latest and he's only four starts from qualifying as a rookie, but it's been too long since we've had our fix. He made his PGA TOUR debut as a professional at the 2018 Farmers and missed the cut, so he's not a first-timer this week. Not that that has mattered in all of his previous starts this season. Have fun!

Dylan Frittelli
Emiliano Grillo
Maverick McNealy
Louis Oosthuizen
Ryan Palmer
Doc Redman
Justin Suh

FADES
Brooks Koepka … Sigh. Slotted him 11th in last week's Power Rankings and he missed the cut. Some studs are just better off left to full-season formats and spot starts when the lights are the brightest. While he's an American, it's probably best to treat him like an international who doesn't perform up to his billing regularly but makes enough noise to warrant ownership season after season. It's just tougher for the internationals to maintain a stronger fantasy value over time because of their commitments abroad and limiting schedule on the PGA TOUR.

Rickie Fowler … The joke would be on us if he delivers at Torrey Pines because he's just 2-for-7 since 2014 and without a top 60. (For the record, a few of those results immediately followed transcontinental travel.) Rebounded from an opening 73 at PGA WEST to finish T21, so we love the grit, but we also want to see it again before we're convinced that he's turned the corner.

Jordan Spieth … From our standpoint, he's the next Tiger Woods. No matter how much faith we have and how tempting he is every time he commits, the results have been too infrequent for serious consideration to roster. The play is to abstain and tip your visor if you lose to him. Even if he records a top 25 this week, remain cautious. Let's learn why it happened and if what works can be expected to be repeatable.

Brandt Snedeker … The 40-year-old has two wins, two seconds and two thirds among eight top 10s at Torrey Pines (as well as a T9 in the 2008 U.S. Open here), but he's been in a tailspin for the large part since a T3 here last year. I won't pretend to talk course-history buffs out of investing, but at least consider him fractionally at most in multiple-play situations.

Pat Perez … With his father, Tony, as the long-time starter at Torrey Pines, Pat has been a fixture in the tournament throughout his career. The closest he came to victory was in 2014 when he was one of five to share runner-up honors one stroke back of champion Scott Stallings. It's one of three top 10s and six top 25s in the tournament. He's struggled in the last five months, however, partially due to injury, so it's a good time to let him go it alone.

David Hearn
Tom Lewis
Peter Malnati
Phil Mickelson
Ryan Moore
Henrik Norlander
Erik van Rooyen
Harold Varner III

RETURNING TO COMPETITION
Charley Hoffman … Survived the cut at The American Express but walked off PGA WEST during the third round with a back injury. The timing is unfortunate for the San Diego native who's making his 17th consecutive appearance at the Farmers and 24th of his career. He's connected for three top 10s, including a T9 last year, and he's reignited this season to sit 60th in the FedExCup, but he has risk-reward written all over him at 44 years of age and fresh off the WD.

Jhonattan Vegas … Had planned on resuming his season at Waialae, but he tested positive for COVID-19. Capped the fall with a T20 at Mayakoba to end a drought of top-40 finishes that started in early summer. His confidence off the tee and on approach has served him well at Torrey Pines where he's 7-for-10 with a trio of top 20s, but his recent inconsistency relegates him to flier usage only in DFS.

NOTABLE WDs
Branden Grace … Alerted his Twitter followers on Jan. 21 that his father recently died from COVID-19. 'I will be taking some time off to be with family,' he wrote.

Keegan Bradley … Given that he appeared at Torrey Pines in every edition since his rookie season of 2011, it was surprising that he was a late entry on Friday. It's an even bigger surprise that he then withdrew early, anyway. Currently 73rd in the FedExCup.

C.T. Pan … After connecting seven paydays, the 2017 co-runner-up at Torrey Pines has gone 0-for-3 to bridge the holiday break and sits 91st in the FedExCup.

Austin Cook … The T2 at the Shriners has given him the power to build his own schedule in what is his contract season. Currently 40th in the FedExCup and having missed the cut in his Farmers debut last year, he easily can afford to take a week off after two on the road. Also gives him some invaluable time at home with his infant daughter.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat … In what was his return to competition following an ankle injury at Mayakoba, he opened the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a 3-under 69 but missed the cut after a 77 in the second round. He's made only two starts on the PGA TOUR this season. His first resulted in a T11 at the Bermuda Championship.

Mark Hubbard … Our next look at the Snail putting technique will have to wait. The entire vid and his explanation are on the PGA TOUR's YouTube channel here.

Luke Donald … Once upon a time, he was nails at Torrey Pines, but it's been 12 years since the last of six consecutive top 25s that included a pair of runners-up. No better than a T40 (Bermuda) since play resumed in June. Burning a career earnings exemption in 2020-21 in what is his age-43 season.

POWER RANKINGS RECAP - The American Express
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Patrick Reed MC
2 Patrick Cantlay 2nd
3 Sungjae Im T12
4 Scottie Scheffler MC
5 Kevin Na MC
6 Matthew Wolff T40
7 Tony Finau 4th
8 Adam Hadwin T32
9 Adam Long 69th
10 Peter Malnati MC
11 Brooks Koepka MC
12 Andrew Landry T64
13 Abraham Ancer T5
14 Sam Burns MC
15 Joel Dahmen MC
Wild Card Chris Kirk T16

SLEEPERS - The American Express
Golfer Result
John Augenstein MC
Wyndham Clark T54
Harry Hall T47
Doc Redman 70th
Sepp Straka MC

BIRTHDAYS AMONG ACTIVE GOLFERS ON THE PGA TOUR
January 26 … Adam Schenk (29)
January 27 … Jonathan Byrd (43)
January 28 … none
January 29 … none
January 30 … none
January 31 … none
February 1 … Rhein Gibson (35)

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