Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:20 18/02/2015
Have to say it's good to have last weeks Pro Am over at Pebble Beach. Afraid six hours of watching Ray Romano, Kenny G and Larry the Cable Guy (no idea either), hacking it about is not my idea of fun. Thankfully the Northern Trust Open (Riviera Club) in California returns, and it is a real cracker of an event. This Par 71 course measures 7349 yards, and whilst not the longest course, will still test the players ability, as the greens are small, and those missing the fairways will encounter tangly rough. So players who are straight, and can scramble around the greens will have an advantage. In short, we are looking for form players who are great ball strikers.
Faders have also done quit well here in the past. Most golf fans will remember the sixth hole, as it has the odd design feature of having a bunker in the middle of it, and players sometimes need to chip over it whilst on the green! Would hate to to hear the language my greenskeeper would use if I did the same on the sixth at my local course.
My first pick is one of the mighty bombers of the tour, J B Holmes. He has a cracking record at this course, and was in the top 12 here from 2008 to 2012, with a best placing of 3rd. He hasn't done much lately at this event, but he's has a tough few years and has been dogged with ill health, resulting in brain surgery at one point. Thankfully he's back to his best and posted a fast finishing tied 10th last week, and was just tipped off in the Farmers Insurance Open. He's a strong fader of the ball, and I'm expecting a big week from him. I will also be backing him in the top twenty market as well.
It's been good to have Dustin Johnson back on tour. He's looks as if his mind is focused this year, and he played really well last week at Pebble Beach, though it's a course he has always liked. He definitely has an affection for Riviera as well, with three top fours in the past. It's about time he starts fulfilling his talent, and his good form look as it will continue this week.
Other players to watch are Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Bill Haas. All have form here, and all could go close, but I'm happy to stick with just the two players this week.
J B Holmes 40/1 E/W Bet365
Dustin Johnson 11/1 E/W Paddy Power (6 places)
J B Holmes 2/1 Betfred