|Northern Trust Open - February 17, 2009
NORTHERN TRUST OPEN
Riviera Country Club
Pacific Palisades, CA
Par: 35-36—71Yards: 7,298
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,300,000Winner: $1,134,000
2008 Champion: Phil Mickelson (272, -12)
Mickelson Goes for Repeat in L.A. at
Northern Trust Open
Phil Mickelson makes the first of two title defenses in 2009 when he looks for back-to-back victories at the Northern Trust Open. A year ago, Mickelson took a four-stroke lead through 36 holes, led Jeff Quinney by one stroke going into the final round and won by two strokes. It was Mickelson’s first victory at the venerable tournament that began in 1926. Later this year, Mickelson will defend his title at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
This season, Mickelson has played three events, including last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he tied for 55th. His best finish in 2009 was a tie for 42nd at the Buick Invitational. He also missed the cut at the FBR Open.
Twenty-nine of the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will be at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA, this week, led by Padraig Harrington (third), Vijay Singh (fourth), Mickelson (fifth), Geoff Ogilvy (eighth) and Kenny Perry (10th).
Riviera Country Club has hosted this event 46 times, with the first tournament held there in 1929 when Macdonald Smith defeated Tommy Armour.
Northern Trust Open Notes
Reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year Padraig Harrington has enjoyed two top-10 finishes in two career starts at the Northern Trust Open, including a tie for third last year.
Fred Couples, the 2009 U.S Presidents Cup captain, is in the field this week and will be making his 27th start at the Northern Trust Open. Couples is a two-time champion of the event, winning in 1990 and 1992. His record at the tournament includes 24 made cuts, 18 top-25 finishes and 12 top-10 finishes.
Seventeen-year-old Japanese player Ryo Ishikawa will make his PGA TOUR debut at this week’s Northern Trust Open. Ishikawa is currently the second-highest ranked Japanese golfer (No. 67) in the Official World Golf Ranking. By the close of 2008, he had become the youngest golfer to break into the top 100 in the OWGR. Ishikawa won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup on the Japan Golf Tour when he was 15 years, 8 months. He was almost five years younger than Seve Ballesteros, who held the previous Japan Golf Tour record as the youngest winner. Ballesteros was 20 years, 7 months when he won the 1977 Japan Open.
Mike Weir Is one of six players to win the Northern Trust Open in back-to-back seasons, joining Macdonald Smith (1928-29), Ben Hogan (1947-48), Paul Harney (1964-65), Arnold Palmer (1966-67) and Corey Pavin (1994-95). Weir won in 2003 and 2004 and also holds the tournament 54-hole record (196) and a share of the 36-hole record (130). He set both records in 2004.
When Phil Mickelson won last year’s Northern Trust Open, he became just the third player to win all four of the current California TOUR events. The San Diego native joined Billy Casper and Johnny Miller, also California natives from San Diego and San Francisco, respectively, as the only players to win the Buick Invitational, Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Northern Trust Open in their careers.
Phil Mickelson’s win at the 2008 Northern Trust Open marked his 11th win in California and his first at Riviera Country Club. Mickelson’s victories in the Golden State include three wins each at the Buick Invitational (1993, 2000-01) and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (1998, 2005, 2007); two titles each at the Mercedes-Benz Championship (1994, 1998); and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (2002, 2004) and one victory at the Northern Trust Open (2008).