We head to Los Angeles, California for The Northern Trust Open this week fresh off a great win. Phil Mickelson shot a final round 64 to give us a nice payday at 20 to 1!
Let’s continue the success this week and go for two straight. Below is a bit about Riviera Country Club, which will host this week’s stop on the PGA Tour.
Riviera Country Club
This week the PGA Tour professionals will tee it up at this 7279 yard Par 71 gem of a course. Located in the Santa Monica Valley, Riviera has been home to the Northern Trust Open 47 times with the first tournament occurring here in 1941. The designer of the course, George Thomas, forces players to manoeuvre around various doglegs and oddly shaped/placed bunkers. Riviera has no water holes but as previously mentioned the oddly shaped and perfectly placed bunkers make up for the courses lack of water.
The course does not give up crazy low scores but the winner figures to have to shoot around the minus 14 number. Ted Tryba achieved the course record here in 1999’s 3rd round with a blistering 61. For one of the pros to go low at Riviera this week they will need to take advantage of certain holes, while escaping other ones. Here is a quick overview of the holes you should pay attention to this week.
The 1st Hole is a must birdie for the players. At only 503 yards, this Par 5 can be had by almost every player in the field. Trouble looms on both sides of the fairway if it is missed but with accuracy off the tee comes an excellent birdie opportunity.
The 4th Hole is a monstrous Par 3 measuring 236 yards in length. Many players will need to utilize their short game on this hole as the green is protected by a large bunker at the front. This bunker will see plenty of action this week and players will be very happy to walk away with a 3 on the difficult 4th Hole.
The 18th may be the most difficult hole on the course and could very well decide the tournament this week. It is a 475 yard Par 4 that forces the players to be extremely accurate. Many players will be taking a mid to long iron on their approach to an oddly shaped green that has a stadium like feel around it. A great finishing hole but one that will test even a Pros nerves.
The field this week will include all the winners on tour this year except for Steve Stricker (He won at Riviera in 2010 but will be taking this week off). Aaron Baddeley will be back to defend his 2011 championship and will be joined by 8 other past champions.
The other past winners of The Northern Trust Open joining Aaron will be Phil Mickelson (2008, 2009), Charles Howell (2007), Rory Sabbatini (2006), Adam Scott(2005), Robert Allenby (2001), Ernie Els (1999), Billy Mayfair (1998), and Fred Couples (1990, 1992).
This week we will also have the pleasure of seeing 4 of the Top 10 golfers in the world teeing it up in San Diego (Luke Donald (1st), Jason Day (7th), Adam Scott (8th), and Dustin Johnson (10th)). They will be accompanied by young guns such as Rickie Fowler, Chris Kirk, Danny Lee, Kyle Stanley and Gary Woodland.
Sneak Peak Pick
Bill Haas 50 to 1
There is absolutely no way Bill should be at 50 to 1. The only reason for these odds could be that he does not have the greatest previous record at Riviera, but Bill isn’t the same golfer he was in past years. Bill did finish T12 here last season and that included a brutal second round 74. Bill is 8th on Tour this year hitting an excellent 75.35 % of his Greens in Regulation. Bill has been in contention this year and I think this could be the week where he puts 4 great rounds together.