• The Betting Bunker

Tiger to turn it on at Torrey Pines

Alex Livie January 23, 2013
Tiger Woods will look to bounce back from his troubles in Abu Dhabi last week © Getty Images
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Click here to bet on the Farmers Insurance Open at bet365

Now it's fair to say the title 'Farmers Insurance Open' does not exactly make you leap off your chair with excitement, but if you delve over the page it's a PGA Tour event that perks the attention.

Some big names will tee it up in California, including the biggest of the lot: Tiger Woods. He is joined on the cast list by Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley to name but a few.

Those names alone would be enough to make you want to tune in, but they are playing on Torrey Pines and that seals the deal for us. The host of the US Open in 2009, this place takes the breath away. Sat atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you will have to go a long, long way to find a more picturesque spot to play or watch golf.

Betting bullet

  • Tiger Woods - 5/1 E/W at bet365
    Phil Mickelson 18/1 E/W
    Kyle Stanley 100/1 E/W

Now the sales pitch is over with, let's get down to the business of finding a winner. After a brief respite to recharge the batteries, the Betting Bunker is back and we feel this week offers a superb chance of reward.

We have a desire to avoid the favourite, but on this occasion we cannot resist. The Bunker's faith is being pinned on a certain Tiger Woods. Form is not the contributory factor that convinced us to go with the world No. 2, he was pretty poor in missing the cut - admittedly because of a rules infringement - at Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Too often he was wayward off the tee, but he did start to put it together on the back nine of his second round and would have made the cut but for a two-shot penalty incurred after a mix up over a buried ball.

With the negative out of the way, we can focus on why we feel he's such an enticing bet. Woods has won on seven occasions at Torrey Pines, including the 2009 US Open when he emerged victorious despite playing with torn knee ligaments. He holds the 72-hole record and the 18-hole record, so it's fair to say he likes playing at the San Diego track. If he can't get it round in orderly fashion here, we're not sure where he'll be able to.

With cobwebs blown away over two days in the desert, we feel he could be primed to strike - and at 6/1 he offers an each-way snip.

We'll throw another couple of darts at the board, one of which is a huge price. Phil Mickelson can be backed at 18/1 and for a player of his class, that is decent value. He was solid rather than spectacular in his season opener at the Humana Challenge last weekend. But towards the end of last term he was in sizzling form. Another positive is that he has spoken about having ironed out problems with his driver and putter. He will also be desperate to up his world ranking, having dropped out of the world's top 20 on Monday.

The third selection is Kyle Stanley, who is freely available at 100/1. 12 months ago, Stanley should have won the Farmers Insurance Open. He stood on the 18th with a three-shot lead, but made a triple bogey and was beaten in a play-off by Snedeker. Stanley demonstrated tremendous mental strength as he came back the following week to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open and although his form fell away, it would not be the biggest surprise to see him exorcise the demons of 12 months ago.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

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Alex Livie was editor of ESPN.co.uk