2023 Farmers Insurance Open Early Picks: Can Anyone Beat Jon Rahm?
Pictured: Will Zalatoris. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
The golf world belongs to Jon Rahm right now and everyone else is just living in it. Rahm closed out his second win in as many starts in 2023 as he held off Davis Thompson to win another American Express title. Rahm has also won his past two starts on the DP World Tour and he has gone scorched Earth on professional golf. He now heads to the site of his 2021 US Open title at Torrey Pines. We can expect some really short numbers on the Spaniard going into the week and it’s certainly merited for the No. 3 (technically) player in the world.
I don’t usually bet the favorites and I likely won’t again this week, but Rahm’s the player we are expecting the field to have to beat heading into this week’s Farmers Insurance Open. We’ll kick things off early this week as the players get set to tee it up for tournament play from Wednesday to Saturday in order to get out of the way of the NFL’s Conference Championship weekend.
Below are some players not named Rahm, who I will be eyeing when odds open on Monday.
I was in wait and see mode on Will Zalatoris to start the new year as he returned to tournament play after a tough back injury ended his season during the playoffs. He has shown no ill effects from that injury through two starts in 2023 and now gets a chance for vindication after he fell short in a playoff at this tournament last year.
Zalatoris put together four rounds in the 60s this past week at the American Express, which built off of his weekend charge at the Tournament of Champions earlier in the month. Torrey Pines is a perfect venue for his game and he is one of the top names I will be looking for when odds drop.
It’s hard to ignore the run Taylor Montgomery has made in his rookie season on Tour. He essentially hasn’t missed a beat from his step up from the Korn Ferry Tour where he stacked up top-10 finishes. He has seven top-15 finishes in eight starts this season with four of those finishing in the top 10. We have every reason to think Montgomery will keep it rolling this week in San Diego as he has shown his game can travel to any course. Montgomery really made his first statement about his potential arrival at this tournament last year when he finished T11. He’s now at the stage where we are wondering when, not if, his first win will come.
I (and many others) have been waiting patiently for Maverick McNealy to break through with his first win on TOUR. Many will expect him to be involved next week at Pebble Beach, but he has the game to show up here at Torrey Pines. He’s quietly put together a fantastic start to the new season as he posted four top-20 finishes in his final five events of the fall and then came out with a 7th-place finish at the Sony Open. If McNealy continues that top-level play and brings the long iron and putting game with him to Torrey Pines, he will be a player to watch over the weekend. Hopefully we can get some decent odds on him before his number gets really short next week.