The $8.7 million Farmers Insurance Open begins Wednesday at Torrey Pines Golf Course, the first since local star Phil Mickelson defected to a rival tour.
The field, however, does not lack for star power. It includes five of the top 10 players in the world – Jon Rahm (3, fresh off his second-straight tournament win), Xander Schauffele (6, now the most prominent of the players with local connections), Will Zalatoris (7), Justin Thomas (8) and Collin Morikawa (9).
Rahm, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, Thomas, winner of the 2022 PGA Championship and Hideki Matsuyama, who won the 2021 Masters title, are among the 10 players who have victories at majors and will appear, along with Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Morikawa, Justin Rose, Jimmy Walker and Gary Woodland.
Rahm, Day and Rose are also among the five previous winners at Torrey Pines to return, a group that includes Nick Watney and last year’s top finisher, Luke List.
Among the locals who will be on the course in La Jolla – 2020 Olympic gold medalist Schauffele and J.J. Spaun, both San Diego State graduates, Charley Hoffman (Poway High School) and Rickie Fowler (Murrieta).
Missing though are Mickelson and Torrey Pines High alum Pat Perez, who left for the upstart tour, LIV Golf. The defectors include past winners Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson, along with past Farmers participants Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Marc Leishman and Hudson Swafford.
Yet despite changing times, local tournament officials are not repining their losses.
“LIV Golf didn’t take our best golfers,” Marty Gorsich, tournament director of the Farmers Open, told Golf Digest. “They took the villains and took the guys whose names were bigger than their games.”
Grounds tickets are $80 per day for Full Field Days from Wednesday and Thursday, and $90 per day for Championship Days Friday and Saturday.
Many appearing at Torrey Pines just competed at the American Express PGA tournament in La Quinta. Rahm finished atop the leaderboard, winning $1.44 million of the $8-million purse.
Rahm and rookie Davis Thompson shared the lead entering Sunday’s final round of the American Express tournament. Rahm had entered Saturday’s third round trailing the rookie by two shots, then shot a 7-under-par 65 to Thompson’s 5-under-par 67.
The Spaniard overtook Thompson Sunday, with a 4-under 68 to win by one stroke, and move up a spot in the world rankings. Schauffele, on the strength of a 10-under-62, climbed up to tie for third with Chris Kirk, two strokes off the pace.
– City News Service contributed to this report