Tiger Woods' T-9 finish at Torrey Pines is his best to begin a calendar year since 2012, when he finished T-3 at Abu Dhabi.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) January 27, 2020
Marc Leishman couldn't find a fairway on Sunday. Almost literally. He hit just three of 14 fairways over the final round of the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open but somehow strung together a 7-under 65 to defeat Jon Rahm by one and Rory McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker by three.
"I didn't actually hit it that well off the tee today," Leishman told CBS Sports after his round. "[The knack for coming from behind is] putting, always. You're not going to win PGA Tour events if you're not putting well. I putted as good as I've probably ever putted today."
This is true. Leishman led the field in putting on the day and on the week, and despite finishing nearly last in strokes gained off the tee (it was a tough day for the strokes gained tee-to-green folks like myself!), he held on for the fifth win of his career.
"Number five, that sounds pretty good," Leishman told CBS Sports. "On Australia Day. I didn't have my best stuff today. This feels pretty amazing."
Leishman made 11 one-putts and sank 151 feet of putts to close out the win. It's not a sustainable formula, and if you would have told me that someone (anyone) would hit just three fairways in the final round at Torrey Pines but that person would also shoot 65 and win, I would have laughed. Yet here we are.
It's a testament to Leishman's ability to score and to stay the course when everything was missing right off the tee down the stretch. This day at Torrey will be remembered for many things -- including a crazy, sad interlude in which Kobe Bryant passed away -- but the champion's script on Sunday was one of scratching out a score where one seemed to not exist and downing probably the two hottest players in the world (Rahm and McIlroy) in the process. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open.
Jon Rahm (2nd): Closed like an absolute boss with four birdies and an eagle over the last six holes, but it wasn't enough to overcome a start that left him 4 over through five holes. The tough part for Rahm to swallow is that he finished second in putting and didn't win. Guys like Rahm should almost always win when they finish that high in that stat. Still, I was stunned by how much control Rahm had with his driver all week. He finished T12 in fairways hit, and looked as if he could place it wherever he wanted to place it with that quick-draw swing of his with the driver. Excited about the rest of his season. Grade: A
Rory McIlroy (T3): The (still) No. 2 player in the world was (similarly to Rahm) undone by a 5-5-3-5 start on Sunday. Other than that horrendous beginning to his final round, McIlroy was tremendous. His statistical profile is as advertised for probably the best ball-striker in the world. He finished top 10 from tee to green and not even top 40 in putting. I would have liked to have seen him put the gas down on Sunday, but his work on some of the par 5s this weekend -- he played them in 8 under over the last two rounds (and these aren't the easiest par 5s!) -- was incredible. He missed out on becoming No. 1 in the world, but he's still the best player alive right now. Grade: A-
Tiger Woods (T9): His spot on the leaderboard won't reflect it, but Tiger played some really solid golf this week. The only detailed stats we get come from the South Course at Torrey Pines -- where Tiger played his final three rounds -- and he ranked No. 6 in the field from tee to green over those last 54 holes. The putter wouldn't cooperate, but his swing looked as good and fluid and easy this week as it did last fall when he won at the Zozo Championship. My prediction that Tiger won't win in 2020 is not going to age very well if he keeps swinging it like he did this week. Grade: B+