Golf, schedules and tournaments of the week
by ANDREA GUSSONI | VIEW 1208
In the week from 23 to 29 January there will be two golf events not to be missed, on the most important men's tours. This week's Farmers Insurance Open, January 25-28, is better known by the name of the host course Torrey Pines or, for a nostalgic crowd, by that of the San Diego Open.
The tournament has been part of the PGA Tour since 1952 and boasts an impressive list of winners, from Tiger Woods (six wins) and Phil Mickelson (three) to Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer (two each). Torrey Pines has two courses, both of which are used for the tournament, although the more well known is the South Course and it will be the main course, which will host the final two rounds of the tournament.
Having been the scene of two US Opens (in 2008 and 2021), the South Course gets the most attention, especially for its spectacular cliffside location overlooking the Pacific. The publicly owned course underwent a major $14 million renovation by Rees Jones ahead of the 2021 US Open.
Holes have been lengthened and fairway bunkers moved to bring them back into play. as hurdles, off the tee.
Last year, after 206 starts on the Tour, Luke List scored his first win at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The 37-year-old champion started five strokes behind, but thanks to a final round of 76 strokes (the best of the day) he reached a result of 15 under PAR, equaling the leader of the 3rd round, Will Zalaris. List won in the playoffs and will be on the court this week to defend his title.
Among the players in the field, for an $8.7 million prize pool, is current FedExCup No. 1 and former world No. 1 Jon Rahm. According to the experts, the Spanish champion is in the position of "seeming practically unbeatable": he is playing well and this field, in particular, is one of those for which he has a particular predilection.
In Torrey Pines he won his first title on the Tour, but also the 2021 US Open, his first Major. There will also be other talent on the pitch, including five players in the top ten in the world. Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and last year's runner-up Will Zalaris.
According to American bookmakers, the presence of Jason Day is also very interesting, whose game last week at American Express was nothing short of promising. Day's record at Torrey Pines is enviable: two wins and three other top-five finishes in 13 starts.
All the premises for an excellent result are there. Also interesting and to follow is the champion who had excellent results at the end of 2022: Tony Finau, who, in the past, at the Farmers Insurance Open obtained three top5 placements.
After the two tournaments in Abu Dhabi that kicked off the new year, the DP World Tour moves to Dubai for the second event of the Rolex Series, continuing the so-called Desert Swing. The Hero Dubai Desert Classic is the third competition of four in the Middle East and was elevated to Rolex Series status for the first time in 2022.
This year it was confirmed as one of five premium events in the Race to Dubai. The 34th edition of the tournament, the longest-running event of the DP World Tour in the Middle East, is celebrated from 26 to 29 January. First held in 1989, the tournament has been hosted by the Emirates Golf Club on all but two occasions (at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club in 1999 and 2000).
The last seven editions have seen champions win “for the first time”, such as Viktor Hovland who became the first Norwegian player to capture the title at a Rolex Series event last year. Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy will return to the site of his first professional win and look to capture a record-breaking third title of the Dubai Desert Crown.
If he were to win, in fact, the 33-year-old champion would equal the record set by Ernie Els, who lifted the Dallah trophy in 1994, 2002 and 2005. The Northern Irish champion first won the event in 2009, before repeating the feat in 2015.
This year marks his 13th participation, with nine top-10 finishes. Among the favorites in the field, for a prize pool of 9 million dollars, is Victor Perez, fresh from victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, who became the first Frenchman to win a Rolex title