The West Coast swing is, well, in full swing after last week’s Humana Challenge. The first three courses of the year yielded winners of short-to-medium length. This week, however, that stands to change at the Farmers Insurance Open. Lengthened, in part, for the ’08 U.S. Open, the South Course is a beast of a test for the short knockers. Keep that in mind this week when perusing the top 10.
Also, keep in mind that this week is the first of several weeks with two tournaments. The deep field assembled in Abu Dhabi is the real kick off to the European Tour season, as well as the jumpstart to 2012 for Tiger Woods. We’re offering power rankings for the start of the Desert Swing this week, as well.
While we humbly submit our power rankings for this week, we always want to hear from you. Share your picks with me on Twitter @RyanBallengeeGC and be sure to use the hashtag #GCFantasy. Also be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Win McMurry.
1. Nick Watney: Watney won here in '09 and has finished inside of the top-10 here in four of his last five starts.
2. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker is second-best on Tour this year against field average and has three top-10 finishes at Torrey in his last four starts.
3. Charles Howell III: Howell remains a great pick this week. He was runner-up in '05 and '07, and has top-15 finishes in three of his last four Torrey Pines starts.
4. Phil Mickelson: Though Mickelson laid an egg last week, he has a great record at Torrey. He was runner-up last year and has three wins and five other top-10 finishes here.
5. Ben Crane: The winner here in 2010, Crane has been in the top 15 at Torrey since 2009 and appears in good form to start the 2012 campaign with two top-10s.
6. Keegan Bradley: The PGA champion is off to a good start in '12, notching a pair of top-16 finishes in Hawaii. He said on Twitter that he loves this event, so expect improvement on T-25 from '11.
7. D.A. Points: Hitting greens is crucial to success at Torrey and Points ranks T-5 in greens in regulation so far this season. He has been in the top 10 here each of the last two years.
8. Camilo Villegas: Villegas was co-leader after day one last week and appears to have turned a corner. He was T-3 at this event in 2009.
9. Rickie Fowler: Though he has new sticks for 2012, he has fared well at Torrey Pines in the past. In two Farmers events, he has finished 20th in 2010 and fifth last year.
10. Ernie Els: Fresh off a playoff loss in South Africa, Els was T-6 in 2005 and T-5 in 2010. The jaunt to California, however, makes high expectations for the Big Easy tough to muster.
Watch live coverage of the Farmers Insurance Open on Golf Channel: Thurs.-Fri., 3-6PM ET.