|Northern Trust Open - February 11, 2008
NORTHERN TRUST OPEN
Pacific Palisades, CA
Par: 35-36—71Yards: 7,279
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $6,200,000Winner: $1,116,000
2007 Champion: Charles Howell III, (268, -16)
Northern Trust Open
There are several international players who will be making their season debut on the PGA TOUR at the Northern Trust Open. They include Adam Scott, who won the Qatar Masters two weeks ago, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Retief Goosen and Luke Donald.
Phil Mickelson overcame an early season playoff loss to Charles Howell III at the 2007 Northern Trust Open, finishing the season with three PGA TOUR victories, including his first PLAYERS Championship title. Mickelson fell to J.B. Holmes two weeks ago in a sudden-death playoff at the FBR Open, his 21st career runner-up finish. The 21 second-place finishes is seventh-most among active players. Greg Norman leads with 31, followed by Davis Love III (29), Mark Calcavecchia (27), Tiger Woods (23), Vijay Singh (24) and Mark O'Meara (22).
Charles Howell III snapped a streak of four consecutive wins by international players in this event when he defeated Phil Mickelson with a par on the third playoff hole to capture the 2007 tournament. Howell fired a 6-under 65 in the final round to come from three shots behind and tie Mickelson at 16-under 268. They halved the first two playoff holes—Nos. 18 and 10—with pars before Howell won his second PGA TOUR title with par on the par-3 14th hole. Howell, at age 27, was the third player in a row under the age of 30 to win the tournament, but only the fourth of the last 18 winners.
Recent past champions playing at the Northern Trust Open this week include defending champion Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini (2006), Adam Scott (2005) and Mike Weir (2003-04), Len Mattiace (2002), Robert Allenby (2001) and Billy Mayfair (1998), who defeated Tiger Woods for the title in a playoff in 1998 at Valencia Country Club.
Kevin Streelman, a rookie from the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, earned a sponsor’s exemption this week after his performance at the Buick Invitational. Streelman entered the Buick Invitational No. 1,114 in the Official World Golf Ranking but moved up 298 spots to No. 816 after his tie for 29th at Torrey Pines.
- Scott Verplank enters this week’s Northern Trust Open with a streak of 23 consecutive rounds of par or better dating back to the final round of last year’s The Barclays.
- Rookie Dustin Johnson is 4-for-4 in making cuts with two Top-10 finishes to his credit, including a career-best T7 last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Johnson is 16th in the FedExCup points race and leads all rookies.
- Two other rookies, Jason Day and Y.E. Yang, each had their first career Top-10 finish last week at Pebble Beach. Day, the youngest player on TOUR at age 20, finished solo sixth while Yang finished in a T9.
- Steve Lowery is 3-0 in playoffs in his career after his win last week over Vijay Singh. No active player has a better record. The only other current players who are 3-0 are Phil Blackmar, Jay Haas and Robert Allenby. One of Allenby’s playoff wins came at this week’s stop, the Northern Trust Open.
- A number of players will be making their first PGA TOUR start of the season this week in Los Angeles, among them Adam Scott (who won the rain-shortened, unofficial 2005 Northern Trust Open), Justin Rose, Retief Goosen and Lee Westwood.
- The field at this week’s Northern Trust Open features 16 of the Top 20 on the current FedExCup points list and 17 of the Top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
- John Mallinger has found the rota at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to his liking. In his first two seasons on TOUR, Mallinger has finished 3 and T3 in the event.
- The field at this week’s ACE Group Classic includes 18 players who won major championships while on the PGA TOUR.
- Jerry Pate has finished 1-T9 in his last two starts at the Turtle Bay Championship and Allianz Championship. It’s the first time he’s had back-to-back Top-10 finishes since finishing 1-T7 at the 2006 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and AT&T Classic.
- When Bob Gilder tees it up this Friday at the ACE Group Classic, it will be his 97th consecutive event on the Champions Tour. Of course, he’s a long way from the record of 264 set by Dana Quigley.
- Steve Lowery’s win last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was the 220th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.
- D.H. Lee is the youngest player on the Nationwide Tour as he won’t turn 21 until April. He makes his Nationwide Tour debut this week at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship.
- The previous six winners of the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship have hailed from three different countries, but New Zealand isn’t one of them. Previous winners of the event have come from Australia (Peter O’Malley twice and Gavin Coles), the U.S. (Ryan Palmer and Nicholas Thompson) and Canada (Jim Rutledge).