The PGA tour heads to the Riviera Country Club in California this week for the Northern Trust Open where Bubba Watson will be hoping to hold on to the title that he won last year.
Watson’s win was thanks to some flawless golf over the weekend. Back-to-back 64s that saw him finish at -15, two shots clear of runner-up Dustin Johnson.
Both players will be part of a strong field this week that also includes the likes of Jordan Spieth and last week’s winner Brandt Snedeker.
Watson will be looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow left-handers Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir, the last two players to defend the Northern Trust Open.
Johnson is feeling good about his game and will be hoping that he can go one better than last year and win his first tournament since returning to the tour. The 30-year-old American only came back from a six month absence two weeks ago at Torrey Pines. He missed the cut there but there were some very encouraging signs last week where he finished tied for fourth.
Following last week’s tournament, Johnson said “Second week back out playing and it keeps feeling better and it’s getting close.”
Watson, Johnson and Spieth are the bookmakers favourites to take home the $1.2m first prize but there are plenty of other players in the field that are more than capable of winning.
Jimmy Walker has started off 2015 strongly with a win and two other top 10s in just four starts. The 36-year-old hadn’t won before last season but four wins in just over a year have propelled Walker into the world’s top 20 and seen him become a genuine contender in any event that he plays.
Nick Watney and J.B. Holmes have both finished inside the top 10 in the past two weeks and will hope that they can carry that form into this event. Holmes has a good record at Riviera with two top 10 finishes in the past 5 years in the Northern Trust Open.
This is the time of the year that players start worrying about getting into the world’s top 50 and securing their places at the majors and World Golf Championship events. Snedeker’s win last week moved him from 63 to 31 and secured his place at the Masters this year. All the players will be hoping they can emulate Snedeker as the build up to the first major of the year continues.
With so many players in good form coming into the week it should be an exciting event. The event starts on Thursday with coverage on Sky Sports from 10pm.