There are so many “unofficial” starts to a new PGA Tour season, which makes things so exciting early on.
One of those “unofficial” starts to a new season is when Tiger Woods makes his debut. Well, guess what? That happens this week when Woods tees it up at one of his favorite places – Torrey Pines, for the Farmers Insurance Open.
What Tiger has accomplished at Torrey is legendary and second to no one: Seven wins in the Farmers and eight total when you add the 2008 U.S. Open.
While Tiger will no doubt – and deservedly so – get most of the attention this week, not one of our caddies is expecting the 80-time PGA Tour winner and 14-time major champion to do what he did in his last Tour start at the Tour Championship last September: win.
Three caddies at Torrey Pines have listed three players each, who they will be keeping a close eye on in San Diego. To protect their identity, they made their picks anonymously.
So, who do they like? Here you have it…
- Keith Mitchell. One of the longest and straightest drivers of the golf ball on tour. He played in the final group on Sunday in Hawaii two weeks ago. He had a tough day, but his game is in great form and he’ll have fresh legs after taking last week off. I think the learning experience in that final round will serve him well.
- Jason Day. He’s the defending champ and if has good vibes here. Day drives it long, hits towering iron shots that help stop the ball on the greens and putts lights out. That’s a great triple-threat anywhere, but especially at Torrey Pines.
- Tony Finau. Another exceptional driver of the golf ball. He’s got top-10 finishes in his last two appearances at Torrey Pines. Tony gained a lot of confidence playing on the Ryder Cup team last fall. A win here could be the start of a what I predict will be a multiple-win year for him.
- Xander Schauffele. The X-man. That guy is HOT right now, already with a win in 2019 in Maui. Plus, he’s a San Diego kid with all the tools. This is a place he’s familiar with and who doesn’t love a home game?
- John Rahm. A past champion here with a lot of fire power. He’s coming off a solid week in the desert – sixth-place in his title defense there – so I think he’ll be hovering around that leaderboard come Sunday.
- Cameron Champ. His season is off to a great start, already with a victory. After a week off, he’ll be be nice and refreshed to take advantage of his extraordinary length at Torrey.
- Justin Rose. He’s the No. 1 player in the world! When you reach that height, you’ve earned the right to be a favorite whenever you tee it up. Plus, he has always played well at Torrey Pines. I’m sure he would love to get a win for his caddie, Mark “Fooch” Fulcher, who is in the hospital recovering from heart surgery.
- Tony Finau. The last two years at Torrey, Tony has finished in the top 10, so he’s already got some great vibes here. He bombs it and Torrey sets up for the long hitters.
- Charles Howell III. Charles has a great track record at Torrey. He’s also off to a good start in 2019. It doesn’t hurt that he switched to the Titleist golf ball for the 2019 season. He seems to have a newfound confidence with it.