Stars are out as L.A. revs up for the Riv

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Jerry West: New face of the Northern Trust.

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – The preliminary deduction here is that Dan Tana’s restaurant in West Hollywood is something of an L.A.-area hot spot.

Upon pulling up front before dinner Monday night, your correspondent noticed Jerry West, NBA legend and current Northern Trust Open executive director, standing outside talking on his cell phone. As learned a few minutes later, he interrupted his meal to do an interview about Kobe Bryant’s passing West as all-time Lakers scorer.

After his dinner in the small but packed eatery, a favorite of his for about a quarter-century, he said he was proud that tournament sales had about doubled from last year. That means more for charity. “That’s why I got in this,” he said of the new job.

West also bubbled about his plans to play golf the next day with former President George W. Bush and Phil Mickelson at Los Angeles Country Club’s South Course. Those three and three others were scheduled on the South because the more highly renowned North is under renovation.

Upon arriving at Riviera on Tuesday morning, West was the first person whom I encountered up by the clubhouse on the hill. The brief conversation went thusly:

“I thought you were playing golf with the president and Mickelson?”

“I’m going there right now.”

“Better get ready for Mickelson’s needle. He needles every hole.”

“Me? I’m the worst (at needling).”

Tour bon vivant Tommy Armour III, like West, was at Tana’s on Monday for the second night in a row. (Armour isn’t playing the tournament, but he is playing L.A. for a couple of days.) Upon informing the veteran maitre d’ that I was joining the Armour party, he said Tommy was running late and that he set aside a table for 10 even though Armour originally said five. He understands that often eating dinner with Armour isn’t so much about quick-bite dining experience as it is social production.

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Nicollette Sheridan

As it happened, 17 people showed up, including longtime Armour friend Nicollette Sheridan, the personable actress. Yes, I know I’m burying the lead here, but we’re a golf Web site. That said, I’ll answer your questions: Yes, she’s beautiful, fit, friendly, tan and cool. She projected no trace of Hollywood attitude. She was, however, sore from riding a horse that day.

We were in the back of the restaurant visiting when Armour informed my son and me that we’d be seated in the two-person booth in the bar area (11 others in his party sat at one table, four more at the bar).

“I’m being sent to the kiddie table,” I mentioned to Armour and Sheridan.

“Yeah, and you have all those (butts) from the bar near your face,” she said. “That’s no good.”

“Depends on whose butts they are,” I said.

“Good point,” she said, smiling.

The whole scene was enough to actually make you stop thinking about grooves and Tiger Woods for a minute.

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