Tuesday, January 24

Torrey Pines Is Bubba Long

The long par-4 12th hole on the South Course at Torrey Pines. (Courtesy of D.Hilgart)

THERE ARE HORSES FOR COURSES, as the saying goes, so it makes a lot of sense that long-hitting Bubba Watson won last year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Of course, Torrey Pines is two 18-hole tracks, the short North Course and the long South Course. How long? At 7,698 yards, the South Course was the longest course on the PGA Tour in 2011. Next was Cog Hill, site of the BMW Championship, at 7,616 yards followed by Congressional Country Club, site of Rory McIlroy’s record-breaking U.S. Open win, at 7,574 yards.

In 2011, Bubba won at Torrey Pines with a combination of distance and accuracy, putting together a near-perfect ball-striking week. He averaged 316 yards off the tee and hit 82 percent of the greens in regulation, leading in both categories. He also led in proximity to the hole (just under 26 feet).

“Bubba Watson was the only 2011 player to lead the field in both driving distance and greens in regulation and win in the same week,” reported PGATour.com.

Bubba did it twice—at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Zurich Classic, which he also won.

At just 6,874 yards, the North Course is as short as the South Course is long. But it has the toughest fairways to hit on tour. Last year driving-accuracy percentage on Torrey North was a shade below 40 percent. The bunkers are no push over either. Sand-save percentage was 37.71, second only to Royal St. George’s (The Open Championship) in difficulty.

The 2012 Farmers Insurance Open tees off on Thursday.

−The Armchair Golfer


Michael Green said...

That's incredible length. Do the pro's like playing this sort of course? I'm sure Bubba does but wonder about the rest of them.

The Armchair Golfer said...

It definitely favors the long hitters like Bubba, so I'm sure they like Torrey South. If you look at the recent history of the event, mostly long hitters have won there. Although Ben Crane won in '10 and he's a short hitter.