A quick recap of last week’s American Express:
Brendon Todd shot 68-70-70 (-8) and missed the cut by 2 strokes. Remember this cut was after 54 holes (3 rounds).
Greyson Sigg did the same thing, but his scores were 66-69-73.
Brian Harman gave it a good run, but also came up 2 short (71-70-67).
Harris English missed the cut too, 68-71-68, but only by a shot.
Keith Mitchell recaptured some form and was scaring the top 20 most of the week. He finished T22 at 19 under par. $80,400
Chris Kirk jumped into the mix with a Saturday 63, and his final round 64 cemented a T3 finish. $472,000. And he had several chances to go even lower Sunday.
And Davis Thompson, just a couple of years removed from Athens and a PGA Tour rookie, led after the first two rounds, and was tied going into Sunday’s final round. His 3 under par 69 was very good considering the pressure, and that he was playing with the hottest golfer on the planet, Jon Rahm. Unfortunately Thompson couldn’t capitalize on the par 5s Sunday, and came up a single shot short and solo 2nd place. The 300 FedEx Cup points and $872,000 isn’t a bad consolation. With just a couple more top 20 finishes (50-60 points), he will likely make the Playoffs this season.
Now onto this week’s tourney:
Tournament: Famers Insurance Open. January 25-28, 2023. The tournament moves up 1 day as the APGA Tour will have Sunday for their own televised competition (on Golf Channel).
Courses: Torrey Pines GC (South), 7,765 yards, par-72. Torrey Pines GC (North), 7,258 yards, par-72.
Purse: $8.7 million in total, $1,566,000 to the winner.
Defending Champ: Luke List. The Vanderbilt Commodore finally broke through after more than a decade on Tour. He shot a final round 64 and overcame a host of good players (including Jon Rahm who has won twice on this course).
Fun Fact: The course has but a single water hazard, as long as you don’t count the frickin’ Pacific Ocean. That water hazard is a tiny pond in front of the 18th green, known as Devlin’s Billabong. The backstory is probably worth a online search if you’re curious.
TV Times: Wednesday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), Friday, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. (Golf Channel), 5 p.m.-8 p.m. (CBS). Saturday, 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m. (CBS). Apparently Jim Nantz will be doing the 18th green tower play-by-play from Arrowhead Stadium where CBS is broadcasting the Bengals/Chiefs game Sunday evening. I personally think he needs to call Kirk Herbstreit to figure out how to get around to different TV events in the same day. Oh, and Trevor Immelman officially takes over for Nick Faldo as the main color analyst.
‘Dawgs in the Field: 2. Davis Thompson and Harris English.
Since I’ve been doing this for 7 years or so, I’m running out of catchy titles for the tourneys that repeat every year. When thinking of Torrey Pines, what comes to mind? Windsurfing off the adjoining cliffs, Tiger and his ownership of the course, and the damn pine tree itself. Hell, the course logo features a lone Torrey Pine tree, so there ya go. Plus, One Tree Hill was apparently a show on the CW network (and predecessor WB), so the announcement that LIV Golf will be broadcast on CW this season seemed like a natural mashup. Sorry, I sometimes have to dig deep.
There’s only 2 former Bulldogs competing this week, and that is surprising considering there are 9 with full Tour membership (plus a couple on the LIV Tour and a couple playing the Korn Ferry Tour). I think it can be explained by some of the new dynamics in play on the Tour.
First, 8 ‘Dawgs played in the Sony Open in Hawaii a couple weeks back, and 8 played last week in Palm Springs. That means some travel and some time zones were involved so this is likely a rest week for many.
Second, next week is AT&T at Pebble Beach. Considering that it is, at a minimum, a 3 day pro-am format, many pros take that week off. Then the following week is the first “designated event” (Waste Management Phoenix Open) a title bestowed on a handful of PGA Tour events by the Tout itself. These select few will have bigger purses. The Tour players agreed that in return for the larger payouts, the top players will agree to play in most, if not all, of these events. The Tour gets the best product in front of the cameras, and the players get more money.
Third is the course itself. The South course is looooooong, especially at sea level. The North, while not as demanding, is still a tough test. It is a tough-driving layout, with narrow fairways. And the recent rains in California have made the rough extremely lush. Plus, Torrey Pines has a controversial standing - some think it is a wonderful design while others don’t think it worth of a Tour event, much less a major. So if you don’t like it, you might just skip it.
I’m much less picky so I’ll be watching. Plus I’m anxious to see if Davis Thompson can continue his hot play, on courses requiring a totally different mindset. Enjoy it if you can, and as always...