Having spent its first six years of life as a part of the low-key now defunct Fall Series, following a change to the PGA Tour's scheduling, the seventh edition of the Frys.com is now the 2013/14 season opener. With FedEx Cup points and a place in the 2014 US Masters now up for grabs we might have expected a lift in quality from recent renewals but the event is every bit as weak as previous renewals.
CordeValle Golf Club, San Martin, California
Par 71, 7,368 yards
Stroke index in 2011 - 70.26
After three years at the Grey Hawk GC, Arizona, the tournament moved to California and to the Robert Trent Jones Jnr designed CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin in 2010 - a venue Jones himself described as "perhaps my finest golf course creation.
So the good news is that we have three years of course form to ponder. The bad news is that this will be the last year that we can put that experience to good use - the tournament moves to the Silverado Resort's North Course next year.
Set in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the course has an elevation change of around 150 feet over the 18 holes. The greens will be running at around 11 on the stimpmeter and there are just two water hazards.
Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 22:00 on Thursday
First Six Event Winners
2012 - Jonas Blixt -16
2011 - Bryce Molder -17 (playoff)
2010 - Rocco Mediate -15
2009 - Troy Matteson - 18 (playoff) (Grey Hawk)
2008 - Cameron Beckman -18 (playoff) (Grey Hawk)
2007 - Mike Weir -14 (Grey Hawk)
What will it take to win the Frys.com Open?
Length off the tee is irrelevant (no winner ranked better than tied 41st for driving distance) and driving accuracy isn't the be-all-and end-all either. Last year's winner, Jonas Blixt, ranked only 43rd for fairways found and Briny Baird lost a playoff to Bryce Molder having ranked just tied 27th for driving accuracy twelve months earlier.
You don't even need great greens in regulation figures either, the three course winners have ranked just 58th, 46th and 52nd for GIR, but you do need to scramble brilliantly and putt the lights out.
The three winners have ranked inside the top-four for scrambling and either first or second for putting.
Blixt and Mediate both topped the par four scoring stats the week they won and Baird played them better than anyone else, in 12 under-par, when he lost to Molder in the 2011 playoff.
The stats to concentrate on are Par 4 Performance, Strokes Gained Putting and Scrambling.
Is there an angle in?
With its move in the schedule comes a big shift in the way we need to view this event. For the first six years it made sense to look closely at those desperately trying to keep their PGA Tour cards but now we might be better served to look at the rookies.
Remember the first full field event at the start of the 2013 season, when rookies Russell Henley and Scott Langley went toe-to-toe at the Sony Open. At the beginning of the 2012 season, Kyle Stanley won his first tournament, at the Phoenix Open, and in 2011, Jhonattan Vegas edged out fellow rookie, Gary Woodland, in a playoff to take the Humana Challenge, the second full season event of the season.
The days of waiting for the youngsters to bed themselves in on Tour are long gone and now that this event kicks off the new PGA Tour season, very soon after the conclusion of the Web.com Tour's season, the chances are we'll see a number of fearless Web.com grads right in-the-mix.
With all that in mind, you may want to peruse last year's Web.com stats for Par 4 Scoring, Putts Per Round and Scrambling.
Rocco Mediate won wire-to wire in 2010 but Blixt and Bryce Molder were six and four shots behind at halfway so being up with the pace isn't essential. In fact, if we look at last year's final round, off the pace might be the way to go...
When interviewed after the final round last year, Tim Petrovic, who shot 64, revealed that he hadn't even considered winning before play began but he came within a whisker of a playoff and Jimmy Walker, who started the day ten back, blasted a 62 to lose by just two, so someone winning from miles back is perfectly possible.
With plenty of players getting in to contention, laying the third round leaders and then trading in-running proved a profitable exercise twelve months ago, despite one of those in the final group winning. I'll be looking at the state of play after the third round again this year and if the leaders look vulnerable I'll adopt the same tactics again.
If you decide to trade in-running, bear in mind how easy the finish is. The 14th is tricky but the par 5 15th is the easiest hole on the course, the par 3 16th isn't too demanding, the 17th is a drivable par 4 and the 18th is straightforward enough too. Playing the last four holes in at least two-under par isn't difficult so anyone that does post an early score may well be vulnerable in the clubhouse and they'll probably trade too short.
My first thoughts this week were that I may well look to lay the favourites from the outset and build a book from there - as I did at the Travelers Championship earlier in the year but I'm not so sure I want to take on the likes of recent winner Gary Woodland, defending champion, Blixt, and in particular, the classy Billy Horschel, who also has course form to boast, having finished seventh two years ago.
Billy's seventh place finish at the Tour Championship last time out is far and away the best form on display here and if he gets off to a quick start he'll take some beating. Woodland bossed the field in Reno the last time he was dropped in grade and Blixt has moved his career onto the next level with a sparkling performance at the USPGA Championship.
Hideki Matsuyama looks short enough after a draining Presidents Cup and Jimmy Walker has shown an out and out aversion to the winning line so far in his career but they're the only two at the head of affairs I can comfortably say I'd want to take on so those initial thoughts were soon dismissed.
I really wanted to get with one or two Web.com grads here but I've struggled. John Peterson looks very short and I wasn't entirely convinced that Russell Knox or Ben Martin (at the prices) fitted stats-wise but after much digging I have found one that I like the price of...
Brendon Todd ranked 9th for scrambling and third for putting last year and last time out he finished a fast-finishing second at the Web.com Tour Championship, where nobody putted better. I can't say I'm bursting with confidence, especially as he missed the cut here on debut 12 months ago but at 95.094/1, I thought he was just about worth a small wager.
Nobody really got my juices flowing here but I did find a couple of vets that I thought were worth backing.
Ben Crane is one of the best scramblers in the game and when the mood takes him, he can putt very well too. He's already won in California, at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where Mediate came so close to winning the US Open, so that's a positive and he wasn't in bad nick last time we saw him either.
He had to withdraw with a disk injury after an opening 67 saw him just three off the lead at the Barclays, where he had this to say afterwards.
"Just bummed," Crane said. "I just figured some stuff out this week, and was really excited about it. And it showed up in the first round, and then, you know, obviously not feeling good prevents you from doing what you want to do."
It sounds as though the injury has all cleared up now as he tweeted this yesterday.
"Excited to kick off the 2013/14 season this wk @frysopengolf. Gr8 break to practice & be w fam but @JoelStock (his caddy) & I r ready to get back at it."
Obviously, it's a bit of a stab in the dark, but Crane is top-class when fit and in-form and I thought he was worth chancing at a huge price.
And last but not least, from even further leftfield, I've thrown a few pounds at multiple winner, Stephen Ames, who ranked third for strokes gained putting last season, despite the fact he missed more cuts than he made.
His course form of two missed cuts and a tied 64th doesn't inspire confidence but then again, he is 500.0499/1.
Brendon Todd @ 95.094/1
Ben Crane @ 150.0149/1
Stephen Ames @ an average of 520.0519/1
I'll be back on Friday with the In-Play Blog.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter