News & ToursJanuary 27, 2010

Torrey Pines has its own field woes

The big story at the Bob Hope Classic was the lack of star power in the field. Even with Phil Mickelson in attendance at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, this week's field can also be classified as a disappointment. Mickelson, making his season debut, adds heft, but he is one of just two top-15 and six top-30 players in San Diego. There are nine players ranked in the top 50. Last week's Hope had seven.

Only two of the 10 highest-ranked Americans on the World Ranking are playing. Lucas Glover, ranked 21st, is joining Mickelson.

Among those not in the field include Tiger Woods (on hiatus), Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk (who has only played this tournament three times), Kenny Perry (in Qatar), Sean O'Hair (nursing a sore arm), Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Anthony Kim.

'I can't really speak on why those guys aren't coming," defending champ Nick Watney said during his pre-tournament press conferece Tuesday. "Me personally, I'm from the West Coast, and I love playing golf out here. Maybe some of the knock on the West Coast is the weather, but a lot of other places in the country you can't even play golf."

Unofficially, the winner this week will receive 42 World Ranking points, more than the 30 points Bill Haas got for winning at Palm Springs, but a far cry from the 60 points Tiger Woods earned for winning in 2008 or the 50 he got when he won in 2007.

Last year only seven PGA Tour events that earned full FedEx Points were allotted 42 or fewer World Ranking points to the winner. That's a precipitous decline for the former Buick Invitational, the tour's sixth-highest rated non-major or non-WGC regular season event in 2008. The field spiked that year because many players, including Furyk, appeared in anticipation of that June's U.S. Open on the same venue.

Meanwhile the European Tour field this week in Qatar remains strong. There are 18 members of the top 50 at Doha GC for the Commercialbank Qatar Masters including non-European PGA Tour members Perry, Retief Goosen and Camilo Villegas. Former PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel is there, as is two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, who was given a sponsor's exemption.

-- John Antonini

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