Golf Rankings for Northern Trust Open
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Golf Rankings for Northern Trust Open

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Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. has long played host to the Northern Trust Open. After six weeks of relatively easy courses, Riviera marks a step up in difficultly for this week's field. With that in mind, players currently struggling with their game may not have an easy time this week. There are also several noteworthy players making their season debuts this week, attaching some extra risk when evaluating their chances this week.

1. Phil Mickelson [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #8

From 2007-09, Mickelson won at Riviera twice in addition to a runner-up performance. Over the last two years, Lefty has finished T45 and T35, respectively, at the site. After a slow start to the season, Mickelson laid a beat down in the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to capture a victory last week.

2. Luke Donald [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #29

The 2011 PGA Player of the Year will make his Tour debut this season. Donald won two events last year, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and a Fall Series event, in 19 starts. The Englishman also recorded pair of runner-up finishes while totaling nine top-fives and 14 top-10s. Riviera was one of only two cuts Donald missed last year but he finished as the runner-up here in 2010, sixth in 2009 and T3 in 2008.

3. Dustin Johnson [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #13

While Johnson missed the cut at Riviera last year, he finished T3 in 2010 and T10 in 2009. DJ withdrew from his first start of the season with back pain and faltered in his next two events until an impressive top-five finish last week at Pebble. Johnson currently ranks 13th in total driving and 30th in All-Around Ranking.

4. Kevin Na [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #70

Things are looking very good for Na’s outlook this week. In addition to recent success Riviera, Na has finished T5 in his last two events this season. Na finished third at the site in 2011 and T10 the year before. He's not the biggest name on Tour but Na should find himself near the top of the leaderboard once again.

5. Aaron Baddeley [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #200

After three straight finishes outside of the top-45 at Riviera, Baddeley broke through last year with a victory. The Australian is coming off a fourth-place result last week at Pebble Beach so the timing couldn’t be better for Baddeley’s title defense. He currently ranks 11th in strokes gained – putting.

6. Sergio Garcia [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #7

Garcia has not competed at Riviera since 2008 and is making his first Tour start of the season this week. However, he’s started the year off strong with T12 and T5 finishes on the European Tour. Last year, Garcia was sixth in scoring average and only missed one cut in 16 starts, finishing 16th or better on eight occasions.

7. Adam Scott [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #2

While Scott has skipped his event twice in the last three years and missed the cut in 2010, he owns a victory at Riviera from 2005 and was the runner-up the following year. After ending last year with two T4 finishes in his native Australia, Scott is making his first start of 2012. Scott was fifth in total driving and second in All-Around Ranking.

8. K.J. Choi [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #92

Since 2008, Choi has finished seventh or better in three of the last four years at Riviera. He opened the season with a T5 in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a T38 at the Sony Open. While Choi struggled in his two recent starts on the European Tour his track record at Riviera makes him look like a pretty safe option.

9. Kyle Stanley [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #165

Although he’s never competed in this event, Stanley has finished second and first in his last two events this season. If not for an epic meltdown down the stretch at the Farmers Insurance Open, Stanley would own a pair of victories. He didn’t miss a beat though, winning the very next week. Stanley ranks second in scoring average and sixth in All-Around Ranking.

10. Hunter Mahan [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #34

In his two starts this season, Mahan has finished T6 and T15. Since 2005 he's made six starts at Riviera but has missed three cuts. However, Mahan currently ranks sixth in scoring average, 15th in birdie average and 22nd in All-Around Ranking. Despite a lack of success on his circuit, Mahan is worth starting.

11. Brandt Snedeker [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #20

After withdrawing from last week’s event at Pebble Beach, Snedeker returns to action at Riviera where he’s missed three of the last four cuts. Snedeker’s only finish at the site came in 2010 with a T20. Snedeker owns one win this season and ranks second in birdie average, third in scoring average and first in All-Around Ranking.

12. Jason Day [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #5

Following a share of second place at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters, a European Tour event, Day will compete in his first stateside event of 2012 this week. Although he missed the cut in his only two starts at Riviera, Day is coming off an impressive season. In 2011 he ranked ninth in both scoring average and All-Around Ranking.
 


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