This week the PGA Tour keeps things in California. After picking up his 40th career victory, Phil Mickelson and company now make the 6(ish)-hour trek south to Los Angeles' Riviera Country Club for the Northern Trust Open.
Riviera CC ranks as the PGA Tour's 10th toughest course. Each hole, from 1 through 18, sees the course rise steadily, ultimately culminating with the 475-yard par-4 18th hole, where the green sits in the shadows of the club's beautiful (and massive) clubhouse.
You could classify Riviera Country Club as a "thinkers course". There are plenty of bunkers that will keep players from putting the ball exactly where they want. Making things even harder, many of the holes dogleg left or right, leaving players with angled approach shots into greens that are often small or protected by deep bunkers
Where they'll struggle:
#12 - Par-4 - 479 yards
Headwinds make this long par-4 even longer. Off the tee this dogleg right poses few problems. Players will have a nice wide landing area, but from there things get a bit more challenging. Caddies will be reaching for the long irons as players will have to dig deep to reach the narrow green in two. The distance is one thing, but approach shots must be accurate as well. One of the PGA Tour's deepest bunks protects the green's right side, and "Bogey's Tree" sits on the left. Named for actor Humphrey Bogart, this large sycamore tree has gobbled up more than a few errant approach shots. Last year, players logged just 30 birdies at hole 12 during the entire Northern Trust Open
Where they'll score:
#1 - Par-5 - 503 yards
Players can jump out to a quick start on hole 1. The short par-5 is made even shorter because players can get a big drive off the tee, which sits 75 yards above the fairway. This gives Tour players a great shot at being on the green in two and putting for eagle. The only thing to worry about is out-of-bounds on the left of the fairway and trees to the right
Kent Lister is a journalist working in the Midwest. He's covered a number of PGA Tour events over the years, and has spent the better part of his life playing competitive golf. From junior tournaments all the way up to NCAA tournaments, and while organized golf has come to an end for Lister, he continues spending a disproportionately large amount of time perfecting his game. Follow him on twitter @listerkent for a complete rundown of all his previews.
- PGA Tour
- Riviera Country Club