One of my favorite things to do on Tuesday morning is taking a look at the Power Rankings provided by Rob Bolton at PGATour.com. I’m always trying to dissect Rob’s picks with a fine-toothed comb to see what makes sense, and what doesn’t hold water. This week was a no-brainer , who in the world wouldn’t pick Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson as number one and two?
Both Tiger, and Phil are bringing new drivers to Torrey Pines. Phil has battled tested his in the Far-East, and Tiger will have to field-test his under fire at one of the longest courses on the PGA Tour. Both will need to have the driver working with three of the four rounds at the Farmers Insurance Open being played at the infamous South Course.
The South Course at Torrey Pines with the tees all the way back, can play to a maximum of 7698 yards. Stinger 5-woods, and Frankenwoods won’t get the job done on this monster that has a course rating over 78. They will need to bring the lumber if we are to have an epic Sunday finish with Tiger and Phil battling down the stretch on Sunday afternoon.
Tiger Woods is the defending champion, and has won this event seven times, including a dominating four-year run from 2005 to 2008. Phil won The Farmers Open back-to-back in 2000-2001, but hasn’t visited the Torrey Pines victory circle since.
Bolton rounds out his top five with Jimmy Walker who took a week off after winning the Sony Open, Bill Haas, and Hunter Mahan. I can understand the Bill Haas pick at four with his power, but Hunter Mahan hasn’t hit a golf shot that has counted since mid-December.
We have Brandt Snedeker listed in the 10th position. Snedeker finished second here last year, and won the Farmers in 2012. The only reason I can see rating Snedeker so low is questions about his health. The 2012 Fed Ex Cup Champion finished second to Dustin Johnson at the Hyundai, second to Tiger at Torrey Pines, and second to Phil Mickelson at the Phoenix Open last year before getting his first win of the year at Pebble Beach. He hasn’t been the same player since.
With Phil Mickelson having a great finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC last week where he came within one stroke and finishing second along with Rory McIlroy, I have to give him the advantage here. He struggled with his driver on Thursday, but started hitting fairways before the week was over, and most of all, got his putter working.
It’s always fun to watch Tiger and Phil when they are banging the ball, but when they start rolling long distance putts in the hole is when it becomes stuff where legends are made. And who can forget the putts Tiger rolled in to catch Rocco Mediate down the stretch at the 2008 US Open?
Two players that I am anxious to see this week are 2013 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth, and the exciting young Frenchaman, Victor Dubuisson. Rob Bolton has Spieth ranked 14th on his list, and I would probably agree with that ranking. Torrey Pines is somewhat like Augusta National in that you need some rounds under the belt to learn the golf course.
I’m a little disappointed that Bolton didn’t rate Dubuisson. The 23 year-old from Cannes, France won the Turkish Airlines Open last year, and has played as well as anyone on the European Tour during the early going in 2014. Like Spieth, I don’t think Dubuisson can win at Torrey Pines this week, but felt he should have been ranked.
This will be Dubuisson’s first PGA event, and in my opinion, will not be his last. If you haven’t heard of him, take note, you will be seeing a lot of him on sponsors exemptions this year, and as a regular on the PGA Tour within a couple of years.
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