Northern Trust Open Preview

Northern Trust Open Preview

Northern Trust Open Preview

The way some of golf’s top names have been playing lately, they’re lucky that Tiger Woods has taken the last couple of weeks off. Woods won’t be seen this weekend either when the PGA tees off at the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. If this event doesn’t sound familiar that’s because it’s gone through a name change since last season; in 2007 this event was known as the Nissan Open.

While still named the Nissan Open last season, Charles Howell III finished on top of the leaderboard in this event. Howell III shot a combined 16-under par to finished tied with Phil Mickelson before heading to a playoff. In the playoff, Howell defeated Mickelson by a single stroke to win the tournament.

A playoff was also needed last weekend to decide the winner at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It came down to Steve Lowery and Vijay Singh, who both finished 72 holes at 10-under par. Lowery outdueled Singh in the playoff to cap what turned out to be quite a collapse by Singh. At one point in the final round Singh led by three strokes, but went on to bogey the next three holes and lose his lead. Singh’s embarrassment was likely also felt by Mickelson, who knocked himself out of contention on one hole after carding an 11 on a par five to fall from 2-under to plus-4.

Despite their troubles last weekend, Mickelson and Singh are the favorites to win this weekend on the Vegas odds. Mickelson, who is looking for his first career win in this event, comes in as a 7/1 favorite while Singh, also winless in the event, is at 10/1. Following the big two on the odds list is Jim Furyk at 12/1, while Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia will both be making their 2008 season debut and come in at 15/1.

The defending champion of the event, Howell III, isn’t expected to challenge for the title again according to the oddsmakers. Howell III is a 40/1 long shot to repeat. A repeat win in this event wouldn’t be anything new, as Mike Weir won back-to-back in 2005 and 2006. Weir is a 30/1 underdog this year. Some other former winners of this event looking for a victory this weekend include 2006 champ Rory Sabbatini (25/1), 2005 winner Adam Scott (20/1) and 2001 champ Robert Allenby (40/1).

Odds to win Northern Trust Open

Phil Mickelson 7/1
Vijay Singh 10/1
Jim Furyk 12/1
Sergio Garcia 15/1
Luke Donald 15/1
K.J. Choi 20/1
Padraig Harrington 20/1
Retief Goosen 20/1
Aaron Baddeley 20/1
Adam Scott 20/1
Justin Rose 25/1
Geoff Ogilvy 25/1
J.B. Holmes 25/1
Rory Sabbatini 25/1
Trevor Immelman 25/1
Steve Stricker 30/1
Mike Weir 30/1
D.J. Trahan 30/1
Daniel Chopra 30/1
David Toms 35/1
Stuart Appleby 35/1
Zach Johnson 35/1
Robert Allenby 40/1
Davis Love III 40/1
Charles Howell III 40/1
Chris DiMarco 45/1
Jerry Kelly 45/1
Angel Cabrera 45/1
Chad Campbell 45/1
Scott Verplank 45/1
Field (all other players) 2/1

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Re: Northern Trust Open Preview

Brian Gabrielle

At this week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera,formerly the Nissan Open, take Zach Johnson (50-1),1/6 unit: Don’t forget about this guy, especially on a shot maker’s course. Patience is key at Riviera; I think we learned about Johnson’s shot making and patience at Augusta. He’s only played in two events this year and finished with T20 and T32, respectively.He hasn’t missed a cut at Riviera in four tries,finishing as high as T22 in 2005. Take Jim Furyk (20-1), 1/6 unit: It should come as no surprise that Furyk has a strong record at Riviera.He’s played it a lot (he had a T9 all the way back in 1995). There’s been no drop off so far this year after another strong year in 2007. He’ll be grinding for you this week, as he does every week. Take Mike Weir (33-1), 1/6 unit: He won the Nissan Open at Riviera twice (2003 and 2004). But it’s also about how well he’s playing now. He looked in mid-season form at Kapalua and last week he finished T14 at Pebble with a 69 on Sunday.

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