Ben on The Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO - This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. The Farmers Insurance Open has returned to Torrey Pines and I'd like to help casual golf fans maximize their experience at the tournament with a few golf-watching tips.

1. Thursday and Friday are the best days to go. Work? That's your problem. On the first two days of the tournament, crowds are smaller and spread out over two courses. You'll get a much better view of the action. Don't wait until the weekend.

2. Wear your walking shoes. Some golf fans park themselves in the bleachers in the morning and just wait for all the golfers to come through. In my opinion, that's boring. I don't want to see the same approach shots and same putts for six straight hours. The best way to experience a golf tournament is to get out there on the course and hoof it around.

3. Make a plan. If you want to see Tiger or Phil, you'll be able to do that, but you need a strategy. Look at what time they're teeing off and which course they are playing. Get out a couple of holes in front and stake out a good spot for 45 minutes. If you want to really get a close, figure out how they'll walk off one green to the next tee and stand by the ropes. Who knows, Phil may even toss you a golf ball.

4. Scout out locations with a view of multiple holes. If you need to sit down and rest for an hour, find a location where you can see more than one thing happening. For example, if you stand on the 6th tee on the North Course, you can watch groups hit their approach shots and putts on #5 and tee shots and putts on #6, plus their tee balls on #7. It helps minimize the dull moments between shots.

5. Pick a lesser-known player to follow. Walking a few holes with a group with almost no gallery can be one of the best experiences in golf. Pick a journeyman or young player and jump on the bandwagon. You'll have a close-up view of every shot and will quickly realize that even the guys you've never heard of are amazingly good. Don't forget to chat up the other eight people in the gallery as you walk, too. It's probably the player's wife or friends. They might share a few stories and you may end up with a new rooting interest for years to come.

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