Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The.Frozen.Predictions- Northern Trust Open


   While the world has its eyes on Sochi and the Olympic failures and the everyday sports fan is watching the flash and awe of the NBA all star weekend, us golf fanatics are enjoying one of the game's greatest courses with the added bonus of a Hollywood back drop, that's right the Frozen Golfer returns just when the lights shine brightest. If your not in the know the PGA Tour is playing at Riviera, a mere stones throw from the Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Hills.

   Riviera is full of history being nicknamed Hogan's Alley, its the site of his 1948 US Open victory just a year after he almost died in a car crash. He's also won this event twice, as such one of the game greats has a statue on the property. There's also the Bogey's Tree named after Humphrey Bogart of course, he was known to spend afternoons off the 12th fairway reading & drinking alone for hours at a time, obviously one of my favourite golf stories.

   The Course:
    Riviera opened in 1926 at the time was the most expensive golf design in America, but it's what you would  expect from Hollywood right. The original designer George C. Thomas Jr. created a master piece with some  help from Alister MacKenzie. over it's almost hundred year history there have been a few changes but in 1992 the famed design team of Ben Chenshaw and Bill Coore, returned much of the bunkers and sight lines to its original layout with very little length being added. to this day the course still plays as one of the toughest challenges on tour, last year the average scores for the week were over par. 

This week Riviera will play as a par 71 measuring just 7,279 yards. featuring a mix of short and long holes like the reachable 315 yard 10th hole, guarded by a series of bunkers and a small green. Even the worlds best players still struggle to make par on. Or the famous par 3 6th hole that features a bunker in the middle of the green, although you have a wedge in your hand your bride isn't garenteed. opposite to the short longs are the long finishing holes the 17th which is the longest on the course is an uphill par 5 playing 590 yards. followed by the par 4 18th which also plays uphill and both maybe two of the most demanding second shots you'll see all year. its no wonder year after year this tournament isn't decided until the final putt on 18, in one of the best natural amphitheatres in all of golf!

Past Winners:
2013  John Merrick (-11)
2012  Bill Haas (-7)
2011  Aaron Baddeley (-12)
2010  Steve Stricker (-16)
2009  Phil Mickleson (-15)          

 Yahoo Fantasy Picks:

 Starters A-list: Matt Kuchar  B-list: Hideki Matsuyama  B-list: Graham Delaet C-list: Fred Couples

        Bench  A-list: Charles Howell III  B-list: Jason Dufner  B-list: Dustin Johnson C-list: Luke Guthrie

The Back Nine:
  • The Charlie Sifford exemption is a sponsor exemption awarded to a minority player this year that is Harold Varner III
  • Golf Digest released it's annual Hot List this month, if you ask me the guys at MyGolfSpy do it better.
  • There's been a lot of press done about Trump Doral this week, but he also quietly brought another great golf property, Doonbeg in Ireland.
  • Jason Sobel of Golf Channel had a very interesting look at the  changes the PGA has taken to try and win the Ryder Cup this fall in Scotland.
  • You would have to be living under a rock to have missed Tiger's niece Cheyenne Woods, winning Australian Ladies Masters. It was a LET event but keep your eyes on the lady Woods.
  • Hashtags have become part of our lexicon in the last few years, so I thought it would be fitting to include my favourite hashtag of the week; #fallingforgolf. Also make sure to check these videos on ESPN
  • Since I'm The.Frozen.Golfer I would remissed if I didn't mention my native Canada leading the way in Sochi, and it not just medals we also have the best beer fridges