|Northern Trust Open - February 01, 2010
NORTHERN TRUST OPEN
Riviera Country Club
Pacific Palisades, CA
Par: 35-36—72Yards: 7,325
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,400,000Winner: $1,152,000
2009 Champion: Phil Mickelson (269, -15)
Mickelson Aims for Three Consecutive Wins
at Northern Trust Open
With back-to-back Northern Trust Open wins and a runner-up performance in 2007, Phil Mickelson has dominated at the early season PGA TOUR event at Riviera Country Club in recent years. Mickelson goes for his third consecutive win this week at the venerable Pacific Palisades, CA, course. An interested observer will be NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, who is in his first year as the tournament’s executive director.
Heading into the final round a year ago, Mickelson had built a four-stroke lead over Andres Romero. But a 1-over 72 Sunday forced Mickelson to hang on when Steve Stricker came from off the pace. Mickelson eventually defeated Stricker by a stroke.
Mickelson opened his 2010 season last week at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, CA. At Torrey Pines Golf Course, Mickelson finished 19th. A year ago, Mickelson finished second in the FedExCup on the strength of three victories. Besides his Northern Trust Open win, Mickelson took home titles at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship and THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
Northern Trust Open Notes
Outside the major championships, the Northern Trust Open is the fourth-oldest event on TOUR, trailing only the BMW Championship (1899), the RBC Canadian Open (1904) and the Valero Texas Open (1922). The Northern Trust Open has missed only one year—the canceling of the 1943 event because of World War II—since its first tournament in 1926.
The Northern Trust Open has a history of producing some of the most-exciting finishes on the PGA TOUR. There have been 16playoffs at the tournament, with five coming since 1998, including wins by Billy Mayfair (1998), Robert Allenby (2001), Mike Weir (2003), Adam Scott (2005) and Charles Howell III (2007). Dating to 1989, the tournament has ended in a playoff or with a one-stroke win 13 times—including Phil Mickelson’s one-stroke win in 2009.
Phil Mickelson is the only modern player to win all four current California PGA TOUR events. This week, he is trying to become the first player to win the Northern Trust Open in three consecutive years. Mickelson has finished second (in a playoff) and won twice in his last three appearances at Riviera Country Club. Before the 2007 runner-up finish, he had played in the event eight times, missed four cuts and recorded no top-10 finishes.
Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, 18, returns to the course where he made his PGA TOUR debut in 2009 to play in his first TOUR event of 2010. Ishikawa played six official PGA TOUR events in 2009, including the Masters Tournament, the British Open and the PGA Championship. After missing the cut in his first start at the Northern Trust Open, Ishikawa qualified for the weekend and finished 71st in his next event, the Transitions Championship. He carded his best finish of the season, a T56, at the PGA Championship in August. He was also 3-2 as a Captain’s selection at the 2009 Presidents Cup, held at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco.
Rory Sabbatini, the runner-up at the season-opening SBS Championship, has had great success at Riviera. In 10 previous attempts at the Northern Trust Open, Sabbatini has a victory (2006) a runner-up in 2002, four top-10 finishes and has only missed the cut once.
Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Wooding of Riverside, CA, a 2007 graduate of the University of Southern California, was chosen from a pool of applicants to receive the annual exemption, sponsored by Northern Trust, which provides a playing opportunity for a top golfer who represents the advancement of diversity in golf and wouldn’t otherwise be eligible to compete in the 2010 tournament. Wooding was an All-American in 2005 and earned all-Pac-10 Conference honorable mention all four years of his collegiate career (2004-07).