Odds: Vegas likes Lefty at Northern Trust Open

Phil Mickelson tips his hat after hitting his second shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Phil Mickelson tips his hat after hitting his second shot on the 14th hole during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Coming off of an exciting victory Sunday at Pebble Beach, Phil Mickelson is the toast of the PGA Tour. Now the question is, can he maintain the momentum in this week’s Northern Trust Open, his fifth consecutive week of competition?

Mickelson has an odd history after winning an event. In 2009 after he won the Northern Trust Open, Mickelson lost in the Round of 16 at Match Play, but then won his next stroke-play event, the WGC-CA Championship.

After that victory, Lefty missed the cut at the Shell Houston Open and then recorded consecutive top 5s, at the Masters and Quail Hollow.

Mickelson is a 12-1 favorite this week, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers, but he has a peculiar history at Riviera Country Club. Before 2007, Mickelson missed cuts or posted otherwise indifferent performances from 1993 to 2001. After skipping a handful of years, Mickelson returned in 2007 and finished second before consecutive victories in 2008 and ’09.

Though Mickelson has been out of contention during his past two years here -- T-35 last year and a T-45 in 2010 -- Riviera has become one of his favorite Tour stops. Add the fact that he is on his game after that stirring final-round 64 while paired with longtime rival Tiger Woods to win last week at Pebble Beach and Mickelson could win his 41st Tour event.

It would be hard to bet against Mickelson, but if you must, there are others who have had success at Riviera:

Fred Couples’ name has become synonymous with Riviera. He has made 21 appearances at Hogan’s Alley, notably with victories in 1990 and ’92. In the years since, he has recorded 10 top 10s, including a third in 2009 and a seventh in 2011. Couples, 52, is arriving from Dubai, where he competed last week. That long flight could take its toll on his ailing back, but Couples’ love for Riviera should prevail.

Luke Donald had three consecutive top 10s in 2008-10 before an uncharacteristic missed cut last year after a second-round 79. Don’t expect such a lapse in concentration this year. Donald, who is No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, should return to form at Riviera.

Adam Scott, who will be making his 2012 golf debut, is a bit of an unknown quantity 1 1/2 months into the season. A winner in 2005 and runner-up finisher in his title defense in 2006, Scott hasn’t recorded a top 10 since, including a missed cut here in 2010 before skipping the event in 2011. The Australian had a solid 2011, with a victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational among seven top 10s in 18 events. If last years form is any indication of performance, Scott should have a good week.

Others to watch:

J.B. Holmes has had some success at Hogan’s Alley, with three top 10s in five starts, and four top 15s in his past four appearances. However, Holmes, who had off-season brain surgery, has missed the cut in two of his three starts in 2012, with only a T-45 at Phoenix in the money.

K.J. Choi has played at Riviera 11 times, with four top 10s, including a seventh last year. When Choi is on his game, he’s a very solid putter and ball striker. He will need both this week. Choi hasn’t played in the U.S. since the Sony Open, in which he finished 38th.

Ernie Els has played in the Northern Trust only seven times since 1997, winning in 1999. Els has a third in 2007 and a 10th in 2010, but he skipped last year. With only a 52nd in San Diego on his resume this season, Els would seem to be a longshot, but his past success here is worth considering.

• There seems to be no middle ground for Dustin Johnson at Riviera, where he has logged two top 10s and a missed cut. Johnson is playing in his fifth consecutive event, and he is getting progressively better, with a fifth-place finish last week at Pebble Beach. With a weekend scoring average above 71, Johnson will need to step up his game this week. After opening with a 63 last week at Pebble Beach, he would seem to be very capable.

Rory Sabbatini won this event in 2006, but his victory has not been a precursor of solid finishes. Sabo has missed the cut three times, including last year. In his past four starts, the South African has recorded only one top 10.

Charles Howell III has had solid success in Los Angeles: a victory in 2007 and two previous top 10s. Since 2007, however, Howell has not faired as well: a missed cut and three finishes in the bottom 50. Howell will need to break that recent string to be relevant this week.

• Keep an eye on two Riviera rookies, Gary Woodland and Kyle Stanley. Both are long and have solid short games.

• • •

Odds to win

  • Phil Mickelson . . . 12/1
  • Luke Donald . . . 15/1
  • Dustin Johnson . . . 20/1
  • Adam Scott . . . 25/1
  • Sergio Garcia . . . 25/1
  • Jason Day . . . 25/1
  • Hunter Mahan . . . 25/1
  • Matt Kuchar . . . 25/1
  • Nick Watney . . . 30/1
  • Aaron Baddeley . . . 30/1
  • K.J. Choi . . . 30/1
  • Kevin Na . . . 30/1
  • Kyle Stanley . . . 30/1
  • Rickie Fowler . . . 40/1
  • Bubba Watson . . . 40/1
  • Brandt Snedeker . . . 40/1
  • Bill Haas . . . 40/1
  • Keegan Bradley . . . 40/1
  • Charles Howell III . . . 40/1
  • Padraig Harrington . . . 40/1
  • John Rollins . . . 40/1
  • Zach Johnson . . . 50/1
  • Spencer Levin . . . 50/1
  • Justin Rose . . . 50/1
  • Bo Van Pelt . . . 50/1
  • Geoff Ogilvy . . . 50/1
  • Martin Laird . . . 50/1
  • Jim Furyk . . . 50/1
  • Robert Allenby . . . 50/1
  • Gary Woodland . . . 50/1
  • Rory Sabbatini . . . 50/1
  • Jason Dufner . . . 50/1
  • Ernie Els . . . 60/1
  • Retief Goosen . . . 60/1
  • John Senden . . . 60/1
  • Bryce Molder . . . 60/1
  • Carl Pettersson . . . 60/1
  • Vijay Singh . . . 60/1
  • Mark Wilson . . . 60/1
  • Bud Cauley . . . 60/1
  • Camilo Villegas . . . 80/1
  • Ricky Barnes . . . 80/1
  • Ryan Moore . . . 80/1
  • Brendon De Jonge . . . 80/1
  • Fred Couples . . . 80/1
  • Y.E. Yang . . . 80/1
  • Patrick Cantlay . . . 100/1
  • Anthony Kim . . . 100/1
  • Johnson Wagner . . . 100/1
  • Field (All Others) . . . 12/1
Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification

  • PGA
  • CHMP
  • WEB
[[PGAtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[CHMPtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next
[[NWIDtourn]] Full Leaderboard >
Prev
  • [[player._CurPos]]
  • [[player._Lname]], [[player._Fname]]
  • [[player._TournParRel]]
  • [[player._Thru]]
Next