The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Farmers Insurance Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 23, 2019 14:35

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Farmers Insurance Open

Welcome to one of my favorite tournaments every year, the Farmers Insurance Open, which takes place in La Jolla, California, just up the road from downtown San Diego. I arrived here yesterday afternoon and immediately felt relaxed stepping outside into the 70 degree weather and sunshine filled sky. Although winter has not been as hellacious as normal in Minnesota this season (so far), the bitter cold is set to hit over the next few days and I am sure it will last all the way through February and probably March. Each year, I put this event on my calendar with the thought that if I can just get through the first few weeks of January, there will be some much needed relief at the end of the month and then once January ends, we are on the back end of the winter and looking forward to spring.

This event just seems to get better every year. Although next week at the Waste Management Open will be the big party that attracts the massive crowds, Torrey Pines has to be one of the best spots to go watch a golf tournament each year. It all starts with a fantastic field this week that just seems to get better each year. Part of that can be attributed to Tiger making his first start of the season here, but the other part of the story is that this is a US Open course that will be hosting the tournament again in 2021 which means that we should see the best players in the world continuing to play here regularly over the next couple of years as preparations ramp up to get the course ready for the event.

Another aspect of this event that makes it fun for attendees is that the first two days are played out on two separate courses. From a DFS perspective, this can be irritating as it forces you to do a little extra leg work and research to get prepared for a second course and also having to worry about coordinating for how to build your roster around where you want your players to start each day, but it also presents some opportunities as well, particularly in the showdown slates that are available, which I will get to in a minute. However, from a viewers experience at the event, it work out great since the field is split up over the two adjacent courses which means that for the first two rounds, the crowds are spread out over 36 holes instead of 18 which means that it is much easier to get around and although the featured groupings will still attract big crowds, most of the other groups are very easy to follow. The other big benefit is that with two courses, it’s easier to all the players done within a smaller window of time. Everyone will tee off between 9-11 am which means that by around 3:30 or so, we’ll be able to call it a day and get to Happy Hour. It’s a beautiful course, not a bad crowd, and the golf is challenging and fun to watch as we will finally get a much needed break from the pure, birdiefest golf that we get to start each season in the fall and through the first few events of the calendar year.

I will be out at the course from Thursday through Saturday this week. Each year, it is always a lot of fun to meet up with folks in the DFS community and FGI subscribers out at the course. Please let me know if you are going to be in the area and going to the event this week. I will be there with Aaron, our site development specialist, and really jack of all trades when it comes to building new tools for our site and working out site related issues. We would love to walk a few holes with any of you to talk some golf and grab a cocktail. I have to warn all of you in that the groups I tend to follow have a way of collapsing under the pressure of being owned on my DFS rosters, so I may try something new this week in just finding some competitive, younger groups where I do not hold a direct betting interest in order to keep my spirits up over the first couple of rounds.

North Course

The first course that we will discuss is the North Course where players will play one round on either Thursday or Friday. After the cut, the final two rounds will take place on the South Course. I am never a fan of the multiple course setup, but this one is a little easier to deal with than three course events and does not require quite as much coordination. You should be looking to play in the Showdown slates this week again. The strategy for these should be remarkably easy for any player to grasp, and yet I watched in bewilderment last week as some owners refused to load up on the obvious players based upon which course they were playing for that day. Now, the best players are going to understand implicitly that course stacking is that way to go for these slates, but it is going to escape enough other players so that there is still going to be a little edge in most contests that is not normally available. It’s hard to believe, but even something as simple as course stacking when the courses play vastly different is an issue that not all players will grasp.

The course itself is plays at just over 7,250 yards and par is 72. The course is at sea level so unlike some of the other courses we’ve seen early in the season that had a bit of elevation, this course will play every bit of its distance. I enjoy this course as a great mix of scoring holes that players need to take advantage of followed by some more challenging, lengthy Par 4 holes that will require players to be on their game just to make par and move on. All four of the Par 5 holes are scoring opportunities on this course with the longest playing at just over 550 yards. There are also three Par 4 holes that are under 400 yards this week with two playing under 340 yards. Outside of that, the setup is challenging with narrow fairways and lengthier Par 4 holes over 450 yards. The course was renovated after 2016 so there have been some major changes that you won’t see accounted for in course history. Adam did a great job of breaking it all down in his column this week so definitely be sure to check out The First Tee.

One issue that caused a little confusion among all of us this week was in looking at the grass for the greens on the North Course. I read Adam’s column and a few other course previews from around the industry and they made specific mention of the poa greens being replaced with bentgrass in the renovation. I even read quotes from players regarding the greens mentioning that there was no longer any poa. However, that said, if you go to the website for Torrey Pines and check out the description for the North Course, it does in fact tell you that the greens are bentgrass with poa annua.

This popped up as my dad is a very thorough reader of the columns on the site each week and pointed out the contradicting information to me as I was drifting off to sleep in the guestroom last night, causing me to do a little bit of groggy research before shutting my eyes for the evening. My thought on this is that the greens at this point are essentially all bentgrass, but I did see that another columnist, Josh Culp mention that he believed the poa would eventually grow back into the greens. Perhaps this is why on the course site it lists bentgrass with poa, as in the poa, at least in part, and perhaps very little presently, will always intrinsically be a part of the surface on the greens.

South Course

The South Course is where three of the four rounds will be contested and it will challenge the players as one of the tougher tests of the year outside of a handful of other courses on tour. At just under 7,700 yards, it is usually the longest layout each year and with the event being played at sea level, as mentioned above, there is no help with distance from the altitude or any massive elevation changes that can add a lot of carry for holes that would be downhill like at Kapalua. What we have here is a long track with narrow fairways and not a lot of obvious scoring opportunities.

The weather can add a layer of intrigue to this event with this being a seaside course and we’ve seen heavy winds and storms turn this into The Open Championship in a few editions over the years, most famously three years ago when Brandt Snedeker won the event by shooting 3 under par on Sunday as the only final round below par while the leaders who finished behind him (on Monday after delays) struggled and lost ground the rest of the way leading to the rare celebration on the practice grounds for the winning player.

The greens this week are poa annua which we only see on a handful of courses throughout the year, but when we do, there tends to be specific players who handle it much better than others. There may be people who do not believe in course history, but there can be no debate on the matter of grass specialists as the data is overwhelmingly compelling for certain players who are excellent on some surfaces, but terrible on others. In fact, I would venture to say that much of the course history debate could point to grass type alone as a reason for why a golfer might perform well consistently at a certain course over the years in comparison to other courses.

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 23, 2019 14:35

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