For the first of two consecutive weeks, the PGA Tour event takes place on the picturesque Pacific coast of California, beginning with the Farmers Insurance Open at the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf club in San Diego. The site of the 2021 U.S. Open is the only municipally owned and operated facility to host an annual PGA Tour event, with both its North and South courses in play.
The field is among the deepest so far in the 2021-2022 season, with six of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 players in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) in attendance, with spectators and hospitality tents again allowed on the grounds following last year’s Covid-19 affected tournament.
One significant change for 2021 is the Wednesday to Saturday schedule put in place to accommodate CBS’ coverage of Sunday’s AFC Championship for the NFL.
The network will show the final two rounds in primetime on Friday and Saturday nights in the east, possibly giving the Tour a boost in television ratings. Because of the change in the days of play, the tournament’s pro-am was canceled to allow for practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday.
Patrick Reed won last year’s tournament with a score of 14 under par 274 after opening with an eight-under par 64, defeating a group of five players who posted totals of nine-under par 279. It was Reed’s ninth PGA Tour victory, giving him at least one win in eight of the last nine years.
The two courses at Torrey Pines play to a par 72, with the North measuring 7,258 yards while the tougher South layout is 7,765 yards long. Players will alternate play on the two venues on Wednesday and Thursday with the 60 goffers and ties who make the cut finishing up on the South course for the final two rounds.
World number one and the reigning U.S. Open champion after making birdies on his last two holes in Sunday’s final round on the South Course, Jon Rahm, is the betting favorite at +700. It was Rahm’s fifth top-ten finish in six tournaments at Torrey Pines in the last five years, including his initial PGA Tour victory in the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open.
He’s followed, but not very closely, at +1200 by Justin Thomas, the 2021 Players Champion who is making just his fourth start of the 2021-2022 season. Thomas, ranked sixth in the OWGR, has two straight top-five finishes on Tour, most recently tying for fifth in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Xander Schauffele, who was one of the players in the runner-up spot in last year’s Farmers Insurance Open and also added a tie for seventh in the U.S. Open, has odds of +1600. Dustin Johnson, making his first start since October, is at +1800, along with Bryson DeChambeau and the only two-time winner so far this season, reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama.
Reed has odds of +4000 to repeat as champion, with 2020 Farmers Insurance Open winner Marc Leishman at +3300 and three-time event winner and local favorite Phil Mickelson a longshot at +12500.
Other players of interest include Jordan Spieth with odds of +3000, four-time major champion Brooks Koepka at +3300, and last week’s American Express winner Hudson Swafford at +10000 to make it two consecutive Tour victories.