2016 Northern Trust Open Golf Preview and Picks
The PGA Northern Trust Open comes our way from Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California this week. Five of the world’s top 10 golfers on the planet will tee it up in hopes of claiming first prize.
2016 PGA Northern Trust Open
When: February 18 – 21, 2016
Golf Course: Riviera Country Club – Pacific Palisades, California
Purse: $6,700,000 – Winning Share: $1,206,000
Defending Champion: James Hahn
FedExCup Points: 500
Updated Sportsbook Bonuses For Today
This annual stop is always among the tougher events the pros play – the 7,322 yard track was the most difficult par 71 on TOUR last year and figures to be again this week.
Greens are notoriously hard to hit and the greens promise to be a serious challenge as always.
Premium ball strikers always do well at Riviera – will that pattern hold true again this week?
Let’s take a look.
2016 PGA Northern Trust Open Favorites:
Jordan Spieth 6/1
The world #1 had a somewhat disappointing week at Pebble Beach but did record a final round 66 to finish T21.
He has three top five finishes to start 2016 and has never been worse than T12 in this event – he tied for fourth last year. Spieth was under par in every round last year – the only golfer to do so and he is due for a bounce back after last week’s finish.
Never, ever overlook Jordan!
Rory McIlroy 7/1
Will play this tournament for the first time. He has been very good lately – he hasn’t been worse than 11th in his last five starts worldwide and hasn’t been outside the top 30 since May – remarkably consistent and always competitive.
He won 2015 Race to Dubai, had a T3 at Abu Dhabi and a T6 in Dubai. He is a master of hitting greens (the TOUR leader so far) and should be motivated to upstage Mr. Spieth this week.
2016 PGA Northern Trust Open Contenders:
Hideki Matsuyama 16/1
Won the Waste Management a couple of weeks ago – he hit a lot of greens which should serve him well this week. He’s been good at Riviera – two top 25s including a T4 last year.
Matsuyama comes into this week HOT and with the perfect game to contend.
Dustin Johnson 16/1
Was disappointing last week at Pebble Beach en route to a T41 but has had success at Riviera – five top 10s since 2009, including a solo second (2014) and a P2 (2015).
His inconsistency scares me but his talent and track record here has Johnson firmly on the radar.
Bubba Watson 25/1
Somehow missed the cut at Pebble Beach and wasn’t great at the Waste Management either but has done well in the past at Riviera including a win in 2014.
He has four top 20s in this event in addition to his win in 2014 but like DJ arrives in less-than-spectacular form.
Sergio Garcia 26/1
Has been playing consistently good golf lately – top 11 finishes in each of his last five starts including a win at the Asian Tour’s Ho Tram Open and a tie for seventh at the Qatar Masters in his only 2016 start.
He has played this track well – T4s in 2012 and 2015 to go along with another top 25s at Riviera in his career. Rust may be a factor but there is no denying Garcia’s affinity for this track.
J.B. Holmes 29/1
Holmes has really been coming around! He has finished T6, T6 and T11 in his last three starts and has developed a terrific all-around game along the way. He finished T22 here last year and now has six top 25s on this track in his career.
Holmes loves this course and arrives at this year’s edition in better form than he has in the past. This could be a breakthrough spot.
Bill Haas 35/1
The 2012 champ finished T8 at Pebble Beach last week – in decent form ahead of this week. He also finished in a tie for third here in 2013 and had another pair of top 25s in this event.
Track history certainly points to a good week – present form is OK too.
2016 PGA Northern Trust Open Sleepers (50/1 or higher):
Harris English 60/1
Was last seen finishing solo third at the Waste Management – in decent form ahead of this week. He has made the cut here all three times he’s played with a top 10 in 2014 and a tie for 30th last year.
English is one of the more consistent guys on TOUR and is a premier ball striker – great value at 60/1.
Keegan Bradley 60/1
Bradley has officially fallen off the radar and is a shocking 60/1 this week. It’s true that he is trying to get adjusted to his new putter but he looked good with the flatstick at TPC Scottsdale.
His history here is good – four-for-five with a pair of top fives and two other top 20s.
Freddie Jacobson 65/1
Has finished inside the top 5 in three of his last four starts – as consistently good as there is on TOUR right now. Add in the fact that he finished T3 here in 2013 and Jacobson is firmly on my radar!
2016 PGA Northern Trust Open Picks:
It is certainly tempting to go with Jordan Spieth this week after his final round 66 at Pebble Beach.
A lot of people like Hideki Matsuyama at 16/1 this week – myself included. He ranks second in strokes gained tee to green and 25th in scrambling – perfect attributes for this track.
Matsuyama continues to sizzle and wins again this week.
The Sleeper is Freddie Jacobson at 65/1. He enters having finishes top four in his last two starts – in terrific form ahead of this weekend.
He is still playing for his son who is recovering from open heart surgery – a little extra motivation ahead of this week.
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