The PGA Course Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Trends Tool and metrics to highlight stats for the upcoming tournament.
The PGA Tour heads to Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. This should be a fun event with a much stronger field than the last few tournaments.
Let’s dive in.
As always, I back-tested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out those that have been the most valuable at the Torrey Pines. Per our Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation).
Historically, this course has yielded averages of 46.27 DraftKings points and a -1.66 Plus/Minus with a 46.4% Consistency Rating to the field.
Metrics that tested with at least a +1.00 Plus/Minus:
- Recent Par-3 Scoring: +5.40
- Long-Term Driving Distance: +3.21
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: +2.38
- Long-Term Greens In Regulation: +2.29
- Recent Driving Distance: +2.01
- Recent Birdies: +1.82
- Recent Missed Cuts: +1.76
- Recent Greens in Regulation: +1.39
- Recent Bogeys: +1.29
The first thing to note before we dive in is this tournament is played on two courses in Torrey Pines South and Torrey Pines North. Torrey Pines North has no Strokes Gained data, but three of the four rounds are played at Torrey Pines South, so that should garner most of our attention.
Additionally, recent form metrics seemed to pop in the backtesting, but I’d take those with a grain of salt since most golfers have zero or just a few tournaments under their belt since it’s so early in the season.
Torrey Pines South checks in as a par-72 and is quite lengthy at 7,698 yards. It’s also one of the harder courses on Tour as golfers boast a Consistency Rating of just 46.4% with an average Plus/Minus of -1.66 on DraftKings, per our Trends tool.
With this lengthy track, it’s not surprising to see driving distance pop in the backtesting I did. Per Fantasy National, this course has some of the hardest fairways to hit, with golfers hitting about 51% of fairways on the South course, compared to 61% at an average tour event.
Also of note, greens in regulation (GIR) are harder to come by here, with golfers hitting GIR at a 3% lower clip compared to an average event. Knowing that, it makes sense that GIR backtested among the top metrics from our Trends tool. If they’re not hitting GIR, hopefully, they can at least save for par, so paying some attention to scrambling may not hurt, either.
GIR and Strokes Gained: Approach should be one of the focal points when targeting golfers this week. Part of the reason I like to look at both metrics is because a golfer can still hit plenty of GIR and be 60 feet away from the hole. Sure, it’s great he landed on the green, but it’s unlikely he’s gaining strokes on the field with those approaches.
If you really want to dive deeper you can look at proximity stats this week. I don’t always do this, but it’s noteworthy that players with strong long irons could be rewarded here because 45% of approach shots come from 175 or more yards, per Fantasy National. Overall, shots from 200-plus make up 26% of those approaches.
This is an obvious one, but one golfer who fits this course is Rory McIlroy. He’s averaged 315.2 yards off the tee over the last 75 weeks, along with -2.2 and -6.4 adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s over the same time frame. Further, over his last 50 rounds, he ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach and first in proximity from 175-200 yards.
Someone who may not be the best fit is Jordan Spieth. Spieth has hit just 63.5% of GIR over the last 75 weeks while sporting an average driving distance of just 294.6 yards. His GIR rate is the seventh-lowest mark in this entire field. His irons have struggled for awhile, ranking 111th in Strokes Gained: Approach over his alt 50 rounds.
Key metrics: GIR, birdie or better scoring, driving distance, par-4 and par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Approach
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Pictured above: Rory McIlroy
Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images