HUMPDAY HAMMERS - 2022 Farmers Insurance Open
I will never forget the week I spent in San Diego, or as it was once known, The Whale's...nevermind. Anyway, it was a magnificent setting, with sweeping vistas of the piercing blue ocean, perched below the towering cliffs of La Jolla. It's no wonder John Rahm ($11,200) chose this idyllic setting to propose to his now wife, and a short time after, claim his first major breakthrough at last summer's US Open. My new Epic driver aside (thanks again for that Callaway)-we must not overthink this one and play Rahmbo any time he tees it up here. Oh, and remember when he sank the second most clutch putt ever on 18 (sorry Uncle Rocco) to secure his first PGA Tour win? I do. Not only do his whiplash recoils off the tee suit him well for the task of taming the South Course-a behemoth not suited for all, but for a man who isn't afraid to show his emotions (as we amazingly heard on a hot mic last week in Palm Springs, we need more of that btw) clearly this place is near and dear to his heart and I surmise he will go balls to the wall to get the job done here yet again...
To round out the top of the board, I am especially keen to a few other top dogs above $9,000 on Draftkings, primarily: Big Bad Bryson DeChambeau ($9,900), Slick Willy Z ($9,200), Uncle Tony Finau ($9,100), and The Wild Leishdoggie ($9,000), as we call him. Starting with Bryson-simply enough, he was a few holes away from claiming a second US Open trophy here last summer until his large hiccup on the back nine. We saw what he did to another gargantuan poa track in Mamaroneck in 2020 and I surmise he will be out for blood again this week at Torrey Pines.
Slick Willy Z is evoking nostalgic images of Mr. Hogan, that being a ball-striking aficionado of the highest order, looking more than up for the task last year here, as well as last week in the desert as he looks to pick up right where he left off last season, surely with visions of the FedEx Cup coin this time around. Let's not forget-this kid was runner up at ANGC-he can game it anywhere, anytime.
Uncle Tony Finau is up next at the top. After years of close-calls, he finally got that next W across the river from us at Liberty National at the end of last season which was a thrill for all to witness. The gregarious big fella loves himself a West Coast slug fest more than anyone-as we've seen with his success here and at the Riv over the years. Here specifically, if you throw out the shocking MC at the USO, he's 7/7 on T25s, with four T10s including a runner up-that's as exemplary as it gets. He ranks at or near the top of every strokes gained metric on the South Course (and on poa/bent green complexes in general), and his ownership should not be astronomical considering his run-of-the-mill outing at the Amex last week. His next win may only be a few days away...run to Home Depot and Hammer accordingly.
Rounding out the top of the board is the bomba from down unda, Marc The Wild Leishdoggie. Absolutely no reason for that nickname other than we've been saying it for years. He is a wild man no doubt, but when he finds a course that suits his eye, take notice. For a guy who's lost an Open playoff, lurked at Augusta numerous times, and won this event a few years back, along with a runner up and an 8th within the last decade, his affinity for this place is clear. Coming in playing the best he has since the pandemic began, I expect a T20 at the very least for the Outback Assassin (hmmm) this week.
Diving down into the $8K and $7K ranges, I will speed this along as best as possible...
$8,100-IMMORTAL HAMMER SPECIAL-Ryan Palmer: has anyone ever seen this guy and Coach Taylor in the same room? I think not-Google it and tell me I'm crazy. Regardless, I am admittedly biased towards this kind-hearted Texan. Where to begin...Four T21s or better including two runner-ups in his last five here, top tier ball-striking and GIR percentages for the majority of the last three seasons, especially here, his unique friendship and correlated high outcomes to his buddy, the aforementioned #1 ranked player in the OWGR Jon Rahm, the list goes on and on for me. Will this time be the one for Ryan? I certainly hope so. Perhaps the spirit of the other Mr. Palmer will guide him to victory this week-and even if not we should get him sub-10% owned with legitimate T10 upside.
KEEGS ($7,900) has four T35s or better, including a 4th and a 5th his last four outings here. Our guy @RomeoTheCaddy (and fellow Wheatley Hills alum) loves him FRL this week for his ball-striking prowess and tendency to lurk on big boy tracks. Joaco Niemann ($7,700) makes a ton of sense at a long, bent/poa track; I just wish he's played a bit more to start the year, but I can give that a pass at this price with T15 upside. The same goes for our friend from North of the Border, Mac Hughes ($7,700)-who if not rusty, can putt his way to victory much as Sneds has done here twice. The poor guy was in control of the US Open here last summer til an unlucky run-in with a rogue cypress tree. He has some good juju coming his way (200-1 at Augusta btw in case anyone's feeling a Willett-level of friskiness this afternoon...)
Lanto Griffin ($7,700) rounds out the $7,700 Club with his stellar play last week, coupled with two Top 12s here, and some impressive play up the 101 at Harding Park not too long ago...Luke List ($7,600) has burned me way too many times (just like the rest of yas), but yet I still have a weak spot for the Cali kid, at a course better suited to his arsenal than most. I was very intrigued by what I saw from my paesano Francesco Molinari ($7,600) in the desert last week-and he should continue his resurgence this week at a place he loves, now residing in SoCal (and maybe even a couple months from now in Georgia, currently 100-1).
Heading down into "Sicko Territory" (sub $7K) there are a few more names that tickle my fancy...
Cousin Kyle Stanley ($6,900)-much like we saw with Hideki In Hawaii (new reality show possibly??): if a preeminent ball-striker catches a hot putter, watch the eff out. Kyle lost a heartbreaker to Sneds here years back, and we have had a soft spot for him ever since. He could be the guy that takes down a GPP if just A FEW putts roll in.
Joey B ($6,700)-pure chalk as our buddy Coach will attest to-but warranted as the Stanford product is comfortable on this turf and is really rounding back into form from a ball-striking standpoint. Sprinkle (or pepper) accordingly.
And last but not least, a guy I would never normally tout unless it was on Floridian bermuda, but this week I cannot resist Sam Ryder ($6,400). He lurked here last year for no apparent reason to a Top 10 finish, and played tremendously in Palm Springs early last week before fading back a bit on the weekend. However, at this price, he has T20 upside and can offer well-needed salary relief if you choose to unleash the Rahminator up top.
That's all folks, enjoy the early-week spectacular live from San Diego, and if you run into a friendly fellow from Kentucky named Rob, make sure to hit him up for a brewski. Cheers, and BOL!
Follow along for more on da Twitta @Blatant_Chief and @BlatantGolf