By Paul Myers
The site of the Northern Trust Open, Riviera CC in Pacific Palisades, CA, is one of the classic layouts on the PGA Tour. The course is loved by nearly every player who had had the chance to walk its fairways, and it is a great example of a layout that has stood the test of time even as technology has changed the game. During a week that saw many of the top players in the world tee it up, it was two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson that walked away victorious.
This was the second title at Riviera for Watson, who used a combination of incredible power and a delicate touch to get around Riviera in a total of -15 269. That score was good for a one stroke victory over Adam Scott and Jason Kokrak. Scott was the cause of perhaps the loudest roar of the week, as he chipped in for birdie on the 18th on Sunday afternoon to give himself a chance at the title. In the end, however, Watson was too good, playing the final three holes in two under to claim the win.
Big Names Up and Down the Board
Bubba Watson is certainly a notable name in the golf world, as he has cemented his place as one of the top players on the planet over the last few years. In addition to finding his name at the top of the board for the Northern Trust Open, there were also plenty of other top players dotting the final results. Adam Scott, as mentioned above, tied for second after a consistent week of two 68’s and two 67’s. Dustin Johnson finished 4th alone at -13, Matt Kuchar tied for 8th at -10, and Justin Rose posted a -7 score which was good for T16.
Rory and Jordan
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth came into this even with much of the attention focused on them, and each had a disappointing week in their own way. For Spieth, the week never really got started, as he posted a first round 79 which quickly took him out of contention. Even a second round 68 wasn’t enough to keep him around for the weekend, so Spieth went home on Friday after a rare missed cut.
On Rory’s side, the story was different. McIlroy had an excellent start to the week, shooting 67-69-67 over the first three days for a -10 total. He was very much in contention to start Sunday, only to wind up shooting a four over par 75 to finish tied for 20th. Even harder to believe is the fact that McIlroy eagled the first hole of the day, meaning he played the final seventeen holes in six over par. That was an unexpected finish to the week for one of the world’s best, although it seems as though his game is in good shape moving forward.
With the Northern Trust Open completed, the Tour has finished the West Coast Swing and it now heads off to Florida to start the run up to The Masters. The Honda Classic gets things going on the always difficult Champion Course at PGA National. Padraig Harrington is the defending champion of The Honda Classic, but he will have to contend with a strong field if he wishes to claim the crown once again.