It’s the end of the West Coast swing, but not before stopping in LA at Riviera Country Club for one more event, the Northern Trust Open.
Here’s a song to listen to while you read:
And here’s what to watch for:
5 of top 10, 15 of top 30
It’s funny how surprised I get when I see all these top players in these non majors. This probably dates back to Tiger, when a PGA Tour field could only have been considered “strong” if Tdubs was in the field. These days, there are a more than a few players who, when lumped together, can turn a weak field into good field. This is one of those cases.
Having Rory, who plays in Europe for the most part, gives the tournament a big bump in quality.
It might just be me, but I’m way more interested in watching Rory play than watching Spieth play. Keep in mind, this isn’t a comment on who’s better, and I’m not implying at all that I don’t like to watch Spieth. But right now, I’m more inclined to see how Rory does. A disappointing 2015, and being out-shined by Spieth seemingly gave him a new drive to play better. Getting to watch him play on US soil is a must.
Plus I love watching Rory’s swing. Seriously, it’s so good. Actually might be a feature article soon – best swings on tour.
Riviera, the best course on tour that you wouldn’t think of being a best course
I got to play at Riviera in college and came in with no expectations, and as the day progressed I was blown away by all the intricacies. Usually the PGA Tour does a great job of photographing the courses for the previews, but I don’t really think this week’s set does the course justice. But take a scroll anyway and you can see part of what makes it special.
Here’s the GOTM lineup for the week:
Check out the tournament preview here.
Dustin Johnson ($13,700) — Alright fine, I talked about him in the preview, and looking at the top tier players, Johnson just seems like the best choice. I’ll copy over my reasoning “Having finished runner up both of the last two years, clearly he’s familiar with the course. He’s coming off his over 6 month hiatus from golf, but his game doesn’t seem to be rusty like one might expect – he finished T4 last week after a final round 66.”
Hunter Mahan ($8,200) — Solid play this year, but nothing particularly impressive. He’s been around on tour for a while which means he has plenty of experience on this course. Young enough and hits it far enough to get it around. At his reasonable price, Mahan can be counted on to at least finish decently. But he could easily pull a Snedeker and win after not winning since last August, a long time for someone like him.
The West Coast Swing continues in California by moving down the California coast to Los Angeles and the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club. TV viewers won’t be treated to the ocean views like last week at Pebble, but frankly, I think most people will trade those for not having to watch amateurs play with the pros. If I’m watching a PGA Tour event, I don’t really care to watch the 60 year old CEO of some fast food company miss a 6 footer. But enough dwelling on last week, on to the third financial services sponsored tournament of the wrap around schedule!
Checkout the DFS picks here.
If a course has the nickname Hogan’s Alley, it obviously has a rich history. Besides hosting a PGA Tour event since 1926, the course has also hosted three major championships (a US Open and two PGAs). Stretched to 7,349 yards at par 71, Riviera is certainly no slouch at length.
The entire course is contained in a semi valley, with houses lining the outside, and the clubhouse perched on the top of a hill. Looking out from that hill you can see pretty much the entire course, or at least everything that isn’t hidden by the giant eucalyptus trees which frame many of the holes.
Picking just one hole as a hole to watch is a little too much at Riviera. Obviously the sixth hole comes to mind. A mid length par three with a bunker smack dab in the middle of the green. Adding to the quirkiness is the seventh hole (a long par 4 with a split fairway), and the tenth hole (a drivable par 4 with a sliver of a green and bunkers all around). The most impressive part of the design is even with the those oddities, the course doesn’t give off an unfair vibe. It’s difficult, requires a whole bunch of planning, and is absolutely one of the most fun courses that pros get to play during the year.