|Farmers Insurance Open - January 26, 2010
FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN
Torrey Pines Golf Course (South) (Host)
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 6,930
Torrey Pines Golf Course (North)
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 7,060
La Jolla, CA
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $5,300,000 Winner: $954,000
2009 Champion: Nick Watney (277, -11)
Watney Returns to Torrey Pines to Defend
Farmers Insurance Open Title
The PGA TOUR remains in California this week, moving down the Pacific coast to the San Diego area for the Farmers Insurance Open. Torrey Pines Golf Course’s North and South Courses will host the event that has been a staple on the early PGA TOUR schedule since 1952.
A year ago, Nick Watney overcame a five-stroke deficit heading into the final round to win his second TOUR title. Watney came close to winning a second tournament, finishing second to Phil Mickelson at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship in March. Watney went on to finish 12th in the FedExCup and earn more than $3 million, nearly doubling his previous-best earnings season (2007, $1,838,629). Watney’s win in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla was his second TOUR title. He won his first tournament at the 2007 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Farmers Insurance Open Notes
San Diego-area resident and three-time Farmers Insurance Open champion Phil Mickelson will be making his 20th consecutive appearance at the event at Torrey Pines’ two courses. Mickelson has finished in the top-five seven times, including victories in 1993, 2000 and 2001. Last year, Mickelson shot 2-over-par 290 – the first time he has finished above par in 16 made cuts near San Diego.
Nick Watney posted a 4-under 68 in last year’s final round—including birdies on two of his final three holes—to capture his second career title. Watney won by a stroke over 54-hole leader John Rollins (74). Lucas Glover (68) and Camilo Villegas (72) finished two strokes back. Watney is one of six U.S. natives under age 30 with multiple PGA TOUR wins. The others are Anthony Kim, Dustin Johnson, Sean O’Hair, D.J. Trahan and J.B. Holmes.
Gunner Wiebe, son of two-time TOUR winner and current Champions Tour player Mark Wiebe, outlasted Tim Mickelson, brother of Phil Mickelson, in a one-spot amateur qualifier for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open. The two were tied after 18 holes, and they halved four holes of sudden-death before darkness halted the playoff. Wiebe earned the spot in a 18-hole playoff, posting a 73 to Mickelson’s 74. The playoff put Mickelson in a tough spot. The University of San Diego golf coach wanted to play in the Farmers Insurance Open for a second time (1999), but not at the expense of Wiebe, a junior on his team. “I’m happy that he gets to play in it,” said Mickelson. “I wish there was a way we could both play, but that’s not going to happen. I hope this will jump-start his career.”
Jose Maria Olazabal is the only international player to capture the title in recent years. The Spaniard won by a stroke in 2002, becoming the first international player to win since South Africa’s Gary Player won in 1963.
From 1996 through 2008 every winner of the Farmers Insurance Open has also won at least one major championship. Tiger Woods (14 majors) has won six times, including four in a row (2005-08), but the list also includes John Daly (1991 PGA Championship, 1995 British Open), Jose Maria Olazabal (1994 and 1999 Masters), Phil Mickelson (2005 PGA Championship, 2004 and 2006 Masters), Scott Simpson (1987 U.S. Open), Mark O’Meara (1998 Masters, 1998 British Open) and Davis Love III (1997 PGA Championship).
A December 2009 storm knocked down a cypress tree on the North Course at Torrey Pines that was one of the city's most-photographed trees. The cypress was located behind the downhill, par-3 sixth hole that offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. Its trunk was snapped near its base, one of 18 trees lost on the North and South courses at Torrey Pines. Wind gusts reached 58 mph during the storm.