2023 Farmers Insurance Open Predictions: Winners, Sleepers, Busts, and Holes to Watch at Torrey Pines

The PGA Tour makes its annual stop at Torrey Pines this week for the 2023 edition of the Farmers Insurance Open. And as it typically goes with this tourney, we’ve got a fantastic field of golfers set to tee it up.

Ten of the top 25 players in the world rankings are in La Jolla, led by red-hot Jon Rahm (No. 3), who’s coming off back-to-back PGA Tour victories and has won four of his last six starts worldwide. And Rahm certainly has the chance to make it five of seven, as he’s got a fantastic track record at Torrey Pines. He won this tournament in 2017 and also took the U.S. Open here in 2021.

PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open sign
PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open signage at Torrey Pines | Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

Joining Rahm from the top 25 are Xander Schauffele (No. 6), Will Zalatoris (No. 7), Collin Morikawa (No. 8), Justin Thomas (No. 9), Tony Finau (No. 12), Max Homa (No. 16), Sungjae Im (No. 19), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 20), and Keegan Bradley (No. 25).

Defending champion Luke List, who defeated Zalatoris in a playoff a year ago but has dropped from 56th to 92nd in the rankings since then, is also in the field.

2023 Farmers Insurance Open predictions

Here are a few predictions for the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open from Sportscasting golf experts Luke Norris and Jack Dougherty.

Winner

Luke Norris: Xander Schauffele

At the American Express, Xander Schauffele was my pick for the bust of the week as I was convinced the back issues that forced him out of the Tournament of Champions would be a problem. And I’m brave enough to admit that the reigning Olympic gold medalist made me look like a fool as he shot 65-68-68-62 to tie for third. So I’m now convinced that he’s just fine.

Outside of his withdrawal at Kapalua, Schauffele has finished inside the top 10 in every start he’s made this season. In fact, his last finish outside the top 10 was in last year’s FedEx Cup Playoffs when he tied for 57th in the opener in Memphis.

And let’s not forget that the San Diego native grew up playing Torrey Pines. And while his overall track record at the Farmers Insurance Open isn’t great, he did tie for second here just two years ago.

Jack Dougherty: Jon Rahm

I normally think picking the favorite is a cop-out move, but it’s impossible not to like Jon Rahm this week. The Spaniard just won the American Express for his second straight victory and the fourth win in his last six starts worldwide.

Now, he returns to his favorite golf course in the world in Torrey Pines, where he’s won twice and has recorded six top-10 finishes in seven career starts. He deserves to be a massive favorite.

Biggest sleeper

Luke Norris: Justin Rose

While it seems like a lifetime ago, it really hasn’t been that long since Justin Rose was the most consistent player on the PGA Tour. The former world No. 1 has certainly had his struggles recently, but I think he can get back on track this week.

It was only four years ago that Rose won the Farmers Insurance Open, shooting 21-under, and he tied for sixth here a year ago, finishing just two shots out of the playoff between Luke List and Will Zalatoris. I like the 42-year-old to contend again this week.

Jack Dougherty: Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler, once a top-five player in the Official World Golf Ranking, has dropped outside the top 100 due to his poor play over the last few years. The 34-year-old is starting to feel the pressure, so he changed his caddie, swing coach, and putter in the offseason.

We’ve already seen some signs of life from the new-look Fowler, with two top-six finishes this season. I think he can keep the momentum going at Torrey Pines.

Most likely bust

Luke Norris: Collin Morikawa

I picked Collin Morikawa to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and he made me look really good for three and a half rounds at Kapalua. Of course, we all know he imploded on the back nine on Sunday and lost by two to Jon Rahm. But I promise picking him to bust this week isn’t sour grapes.

There’s just something that tells me that he’s not going to have a great week. His putting has been a bit suspect in recent months — at least on more demanding courses than Kapalua — and his short-iron play hasn’t been great either. And he’ll need both of these things to be working in order to win at Torrey Pines.

Jack Dougherty: Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas is unquestionably one of the five best players in the Farmers Insurance Open field, but I don’t love his chances this week. Thomas is coming off a disappointing T25 in the 38-player Sentry TOC field, and he shot 73 and 74 on the weekend last year after firing a second-round 63. I’m not predicting a missed cut, but I don’t think Thomas will be in contention come Sunday afternoon.

Make-or-break hole

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Why Is the Farmers Insurance Open Starting on Wednesday and Ending on Saturday?

Luke Norris: No. 16

The 227-yard, par-3 16th at Torrey Pines is one of those holes where you just want to get your par and get outta there. On Sunday, the pin is typically set on the back-left portion of the green, and it’s not one with which to try and get cute. Hit your tee shot in the middle, take your two-putt, and move on.

Of the top 10 finishers at the Farmers Insurance Open a year ago, only one made birdie on the 16th, that being winner Luke List.

Jack Dougherty: No. 18

Is there any other answer here? The par-5 18th at Torrey Pines is an iconic hole on the PGA Tour circuit. Off the tee, you have to avoid four bunkers that surround the narrow fairway. Then comes an intimidating approach shot in which you need to fly the front left pond from 250 yards out and attempt to keep your ball from running through the green to the back bunker. Everything from eagle to triple bogey is in play on the finishing hole.