Farmers Insurance Open to be held in January without fans

Sports

SAN DIEGO — Torrey Pines typically hosts tens of thousands of fans each January for the Farmers Insurance Open, but this year the tournament will take place without spectators.

Monday’s announcement that fans will not be allowed at the Jan. 25-31 event because of COVID-19 concerns was disappointing to some but not unexpected, though it would seem of any sport, golf would be the safest for fans to watch. It’s outdoors in the open air with no seats and plenty of room.

“If Tiger Woods is on the 18th, everyone is going to gather and that’s a hard thing to control,” said Marty Gorsich, CEO of the Century Club, which puts on the event.

The tournament, part of the PGA Tour’s “West Coast Swing,” is televised annually on the Golf Channel and CBS. Australian Marc Leishman won the 2020 event. The pot was $7.5 million.

The event is about more than golf. The Century Club and PGA Tour have turned it into a premiere event that raises millions of dollars for local charities each year. While the large donations may not be there in 2021, The Century Club is committed to making an impact in other ways.

“That impact is going to come in forms beyond monetary. So while we may not be able to generate as much money for them, it’s a big time of need,” Gorsich said. “We will continue to drive that awareness of those charities that we support, what they do, what their missions are and find ways to help them better themselves as a charity, both financially and how they operate.”

The Farmers Insurance Open will be held Jan. 25-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course. It originated as the San Diego Open in 1952. Since 1968, the event has been played at Torrey Pines.

“We are grateful for the support from the entire San Diego community throughout the years,” Gorsich said. “Our team is ready and fully committed to continue providing a first-class tournament to benefit our charity partners and showcase the City of San Diego to a national and international broadcast audience.”

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