PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – I like to get to the course early. After finding my parking spot here at the Northern Trust Open, I walked to the media tent, which is between the first and second holes at Riviera. As I started to cross the first fairway, I noticed a player and a caddie walking down the cart path. Now it’s 6:34 a.m. on Tuesday, the sun isn’t even close to visible and some fog is hovering over the course. The lack of light didn’t stop Nicholas Thompson, who was walking down the first hole as the mowers were cutting grass with their lights on.
“It’s never too early,” Thompson said. “Never too early.”
As I continued to walk I noticed a player hitting balls on the range and under the lights. I walked over to the range, which is just on the other side of the second fairway. Briny Baird was pounding balls. No one else was on the range. As I walked back from the driving range to the media center, there were five or so guys dew sweeping the second fairway. Just in time for Thompson, who will be just behind them in a few minutes.