Seventh-ranked Max Homa will feel right at home when he defends his title in what will be the 72nd version of the Farmers Insurance Open beginning on Wednesday at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.
That’s because the 33-year-old Homa (pictured), from Valencia and Cal, has claimed four of his six PGA Tour victories in California, including the Farmers by two strokes over Keegan Bradley last season.
“For some of us SoCal boys, it’s a comfort thing really,” Homa said of playing close to where he grew up. “I think I see the bumps on the poa annua greens and I don’t cringe. I enjoy it. I know people are going to get frustrated, but I like that in a competition.
“Obviously, there’s some comfortability with the grass and how far the ball goes. This golf course in particular does suit me really well; it suits a lot of the shots I like to hit. It’s cool. We’ve got a bunch of the best players in the world from California and some of the best golf courses on the planet.”
Others in the field with California backgrounds include fifth-ranked and hometown boy Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, fifth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, 2023 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Eric Cole of Palm Springs, Maverick McNealy of Stanford, Charley Hoffman of Poway, Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, Cameron Champ of Sacramento, J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State, Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita and Nick Watney of Davis and Fresno State, who won the 2009 Farmers.
Each golfer in the field will play the North and South courses in the first two rounds before the cut is made, before the last two rounds are played exclusively on the South Course.
The Farmers was first played in 1952 as the San Diego Open at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, where Ted Kroll claimed a three-stroke victory over Jimmy Demaret, and Gene Littler won it as an amateur in 1954.
Tiger Woods has won the Farmers a record seven times, the last in 2013, and also claimed an eighth title in the 2008 United States Open on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff over Rocco Mediate when they were tied after 18 extra holes.
Other winners of the tournament include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Bob Rosburg, Tommy Bolt, Billy Casper, Tom Weiskopf, George Archer, Craig Stadler, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Mark O’Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal John Daly and Scott Simpson.
1, Xander Schauffele, United States – The fifth-ranked Schauffele is playing in his hometown of La Jolla, and is coming off a tie for third in the American Express and a tie for 10th in The Sentry to start the new season. Schauffele, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, is making his ninth appearance in the Farmers and he tied for second in 2021 and tied for 13th last season.
2. Patrick Cantlay, United States – Another SoCal guy, the sixth-ranked Cantlay opened the season with a tie for 12th in The Sentry and was in the hunt in the AmEx before closing with a 76 to tie for 52nd. An eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, the former UCLA star is playing in the Famers for only the fourth time and missed the cut twice in addition to tying for 51st in 2018.
3. Mas Homa, United States – Thedefending Farmers champion is playing in the tournament for the eighth time and also tied for ninth in 2020 and tied for 18th three years ago. The seventh-ranked Homa, who has won six times on the PGA Tour, is making only his second start of the new season and posted a tie for 14th in The Sentry with four rounds in the 60s in the opener.
4. Ludvig Aberg, Sweden – After winning three times in Europe, the 24-year-old Aberg claimed his first victory on the PGA Tour in November, when he won the RSM Classic by four strokes after losing in a playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He has climbed to No. 29 in the world, is coming off a tie for 30th in the Sony Open in Hawaii and is making his Farmers debut.
5. Collin Morikawa, United States – The two-time major champion, having won the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 Open at Royal St. Geroge’s, tied for fifth in The Sentry to open the new season, but has not played since. Morikawa, who is ranked No. 12 in the world, is making his third start in the Farmers and was solo third last year after a tie for 21st four season ago.
6. Min Woo Lee, Australia – Claimed his fourth professional victory in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship in November before finishing third in the ISPS Handa Australian Open one week later, and last week he tied for 21st in The American Express. Lee, who has climbed the No. 36 in the World Golf Rankings, is making his first appearance in the Farmers this week.
7. Sungjae Im, South Korea – The five-time winner as a pro, including twice on the PGA Tour, got his season off to a strong start with a tie for fifth in The Sentry and a tie for 25th last week in The American Express, when he was close to the top before closing with a 71. Im is making his fifth start in the Farmers and tied for fourth last season after tying for sixth the year before.
8. Keegan Bradley, United States – The 2011 PGA champion claimed his sixth victory on the PGA Tour in the Travelers Championship last season and almost won again earlier this month when he lost in a playoff to Taylor Montgomery at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Bradley is making his 13th appearance in the Farmers and has three top-10 finishes, including second last season.
9. Jason Day, Australia – The 36-year-old Day has won 13 times on the PGA Tour, including the Farmers in 2015 and 2018. The 2015 PGA champion is playing in this event for the 15th time and has five other top-10s, including a tie for second in 2014, a tie for third in 2022, a tie for fifth in 2018 and a tie for seventh last year. He tied for 10th in The Sentry to start the new season.
10. Eric Cole, United States – The 2023 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has started the new season with a tie for 14th in The Sentry, a tie for 13th in the Sony Open in Hawaii and a tie for 21st The American Express. Cole won 12 times on the Minor League Golf Tour and finished in the top 10 on seven occasions last year, but still is seeking his first victory on the PGA Tour.
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tony Finau, United States; Nicolai Hojgaard, Denmark; Sahith Theegala, United States; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Sepp Straka, Austria; Harris English, United States; Adrian Meronk, Poland; Shane Lowry, Ireland; Daniel Berger, United States.
1. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, South Africa – Has won 10 times as a po, but not yet on the PGA Tour, but was second in The American Express last week. Opened 69-69, T-46 in 2022 Farmers.
2. Stephan Jaeger, Germany – Six-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour tied for 18th in the Sony Open and started with three rounds in the 60s, but closed with 72 to tie for 52nd in The AmEx.
3. Rico Hoey, United States – Won the 2023 Visit Knoxville Open on the Korn Ferry Tour for his second pro victory and had seven top-10s, plus a T-20 in Barracuda Championship on PGA Tour.
4. Paul Barjon, France – Won the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Championship fir his second victory of the season and sixth as a professional. He also claimed three victories on the PGA Tour Canada.
5. Justin Suh, United States – Won the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Championship and was fourth in the 2023 WW Technology Championship on PGA Tour. Finished T-20 in the 2023 Farmers.
For first-round tee times and complete results once the tournament starts, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard