Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Northern Trust Open Preview and Predictions

The PGA Tour moves south this week to Riviera Country Club for the 2013 Northern Trust Open.  Many top golfers are making their 2013 debut this week at the tournament and the field boasts some of the biggest names in golf.  "Hogan's Alley" will once again host a great tournament for the PGA professionals.

TV and Radio Schedule
Thursday, February 7th: 3:00-6:00 PM ET The Golf Channel
Friday, February 8th: 3:00-6:00 PM ET The Golf Channel
Saturday, February 9th: 1:00-2:30 PM ET The Golf Channel; 3:00-6:00 PM ET CBS
Sunday, February 10th: 1:00-2:30 PM ET The Golf Channel; 3:00-6:30 PM ET CBS

Radio: Sirius XM PGA Tour Network:12-6p ET Thur-Sat; 1-7p ET Sun

In the Field
The 2013 Northern Trust Open once again boasts a strong field.  Numerous top players in the world are making their 2013 debut, and others are returning to the PGA Tour for another chance at a win.

Players to Watch
Keegan Bradely: Bradley shot a solid final-round last season and made a clutch putt on the final hole to make a playoff at the 2012 Northern Trust Open with Phil Mickelson and Bill Haas.  Ultimately, Bradley fell to Haas in the playoff.  But his finish last season and solid start to 2013 should give him the confidence to be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

Patrick Cantlay: The former UCLA player and top amateur is coming off a top-10 finish at the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am.  Cantlay received a sponsor's exemption into the field here and should have lots of confidence after his finish last week.

Luke Donald: World #3 Donald is making his worldwide debut in 2013.  Donald should have the game to compete here, and should have a solid finish after taking a nice break from golf.  Donald is looking to gain momentum and capture his first major championship in 2013.

Ernie Els: Els, the 2012 Open Champion, is making his 2013 PGA Tour debut.  Els rejuvinated his career last season, so he will be looking to continue the strong play.

Bill Haas: The defending champion Haas will be looking to win for the first time in 2013 and try to jumpstart his season and regain the form that saw him capture the 2011 FedEx Cup.

Sergio Garcia: Garcia is making his PGA Tour debut in 2013 as well.

Other players in the field:
Fred Couples
Jim Furyk
Peter Hanson
Russell Henley
Dustin Johnson
Matt Kuchar
Phil Mickelson
Webb Simpson
Adam Scott
Charl Schwartzel
Lee Westwood
Bubba Watson

The Course
Riviera Country Club is the traditional host of this tournament, which was once known as the Los Angeles Open.  Ben Hogan once won 3 tournaments here in 18 months (2 Los Angeles Opens and a US Open).  Riviera has also hosted a PGA Championship.

Holes to Watch
#1: An opening par 5, hole 1 gives the players a chance to open up with a solid score, even an eagle.  Out of bounds looms on the left and trees on the right, so an accurate drive is essential.  Players should be able to take 3 wood and still have a chance at reaching the green in 2.

#6: One of the most iconic par-3s in golf, the sixth hole features a two-tiered green with a bunker in the middle.  A well-positioned tee shot will leave a birdie, but a poor shot will leave a strong putt or possibly a chip over the bunker.

#10: Half the field will be opening here on Thursday and Friday.  A reachable par 4, Jack Nicklaus refers to this as "the best 10th hole in major championship golf".  Players who choose to lay up will have a better shot if they approach from the left side of the fairway to the narrow green.

#18: A blind teeshot to an uphill fairway awaits the players at this signature hole.  Players will be shooting up towards the Riviera clubhouse on their second shot and will take a long iron or fairway wood to reach.

After finally getting a winner correct last week, I will hopefully keep up my streak.  With Brandt Snedeker taking a break, a new golfer may emerge as the hottest golfer in the world.  Phil Mickelson has won here numerous times, and Dustin Johnson should have a solid week.  But I am going to go with Keegan Bradley to win this week.  Bradley should have good thoughts after taking second place last year in the playoff and will break through this week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting a preview. I agree with your prediction, I think Keegan Bradley will win this week.