Welcome to Riviera Country Club and the PGA tour stop of the week at the Northern Trust Open. Riviera Country Club, located in the Santa Monica valley, has hosted this event 47 times. The course will play to 7,279 yards and a par of 71.
The course known as “Hogan’s Alley” is a challenging track that has been ranked number three on tour by PGA Tour professionals. It is not the type of course where a player can load up and bomb it. It is rather a track that requires the professional to work the ball, play crisp irons and use imagination around the challenging greens. In short, Riviera is no push over.
If you break down some of last year’s stats from the Northern Trust it further explains the challenge this classic layout presents. The average score for the 2012 edition of this tournament was 72.6 which could be partially attributed to the fact the course played the longest it had in a decade. The field as a whole only managed to hit 53% of the fairways along with only 53% of the greens in regulation.
Like many historic courses, Riviera has been the venue where many of the greats of the game have finished the weekend on top. Players like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, Phil Mickelson and others have all tasted victory at least once here. This year boasts a quality field including past winners Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III and Bill Haas. Other players in the field this weekend are Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell just to name a few.
Like almost all PGA tour events there is a charity at work here as well. Enter the “City of Hope,” charged with research, education and treatment for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and many other life threatening diseases. The belief of the organizers of the Northern Trust Open is to assist City of Hope in creating longer and healthier lives for people everywhere.
There have been some great moments at the Northern Trust Open. Here are a few to remind you.
YouTube Video Courtesy of pgatour
But who on earth is going to win this weekend? That is one of the reasons you are reading this right? A young upstart? Established veteran? Defending champion? Past winner? Lets take a look into my crystal ball and see if we can find ourselves a few contenders this week at “Hogan’s Alley”
Up Next: The Contenders