Northern Trust Open - Pacific Palisades, CA   (Odds by Ladbrokes)

The Favorites:

Phil Mickelson (10-1): Claims to love Riviera but prior to last year’s playoff loss, had skipped the event since 2001.  Before ’07, had four MCs, a T52 and a T15 in Riviera starts dating back to the 1995 PGA.  Still, he’s generally playing well (the 14th hole at Pebble Beach notwithstanding), he wins roughly 9% of his PGA Tour starts, and Tiger’s not in the field.  A decent bet.

Adam Scott (14-1): Coming off a three-week brake after shooting a final-round 61 to win the Qatar Masters – will he be hot or cold?  Enjoys a strong (if brief) Riviera record, winning the rain-shortened, 36-hole 2006 edition, then finishing  2nd a year later.  Streaky sort but at 27 might be poised for a breakout year.  My choice.

Rory Sabbatini (16-1): With a win here in 2006, a 2nd in ’02 and a T9 last year, another man with a favorable Riviera history.  Has a 2nd and T3 in four ’08 starts, so despite the seemingly constant distraction of sparring with the press, Tiger, etc., he’s playing well.  Why not?

Jim Furyk (20-1): Has a very limited Riviera record; prior to a T3 in 2007, had only one top-10 (a T9 in 1995) over his entire career.  Playing decent early season golf, but nothing special.  On paper, not a likely winner.

Vijay Singh (20-1): Whispers that he’s on the downside (he turns 45 next week) may be valid, and Singh has only played at Riviera six times (including the ’95 PGA) over his entire career, never bettering a T18.  Playing up and down golf these days, but will likely be motivated after blowing a final-nine lead at last week’s AT&T Pro-Am.  Has recently played some recreational golf at Riviera, so he knows the course.  A good bet at 30-1, perhaps less so at these odds.

Wild Cards:

Luke Donald (33-1): Makes his 2008 American debut after logging two top-25s on the E Tour’s desert swing.  Has an ideal game for Riviera where, after some early MCs, he finished T13 and T12 in 2005 and ’06.

Mike Weir (33-1): Obviously loves Riviera (he won back-to-back here in 2003 and ’04) and came into ’08 with his game apparently on the upswing.  Never a bad bet here.

Robert Allenby (50-1): Closed last season with three MCs, then had a so-so winter back in Australia, but his game is well-suited to Riviera, where he won in 2001 and finished T7 and T3 in 2005 and ’07.


Anthony Kim (66-1): A Southern California native and touted youngster who, in his 2007 Riviera debut, closed with 64 to finish T9.  At 66-1, he’s a good bet anyplace.

Corey Pavin (100-1): At age 48, his best days are clearly behind him, but last week’s closing 66 at Pebble Beach, plus his back-to-back wins at Riviera (1994 and ’95) make for a decent longshot bet.

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 at 01:45PM by Registered CommenterDaniel in | Comments3 Comments

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