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Phil Mickelson an Easy Favourite at Riviera

Phil Mickelson an Easy Favourite at Riviera


Phil Mickelson is easily the biggest name teeing it up at the Northern Trust Open this week just outside of Los Angeles and, therefore, he is once again the obvious pre-tournament favourite.

Mickelson is coming off his second top-10 in three events to open his 2011 season after finishing in a tie for 9th at the AT&T National Pro-Am at famed Pebble Beach.

Couple that with his 2nd place finish in his opening event in San Diego, Mickelson is truly in world class form and he should again be in contention right to Sunday.  Considering all the evidence, Lefty is the only real choice in the field to be the favourite at (7-1).

Steve Stricker comes in behind Mickelson t (12-1) even though he hasn’t played since the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Tour’s first full field event of the season.  Granted, he did start the season with two top-10’s before taking time off as he came 9th at the Sony and 4th at the Tournament of Champions the week previous.

Furthering his case, Stricker is the defending champion this week having taken the famed tournament started by Bing Crosby in a dominating performance that saw him cruise to the finish last year.

He is about as steady as they come and it just takes an above average putting week for him to be a factor.

Dustin Johnson and Englishman Paul Casey go out at (16-1) and this could be a bounce back week for Johnson as he failed to dominate at Pebble last week in a tournament he won both 2009 and 2010.

Not only did Johnson fail to dominate, he limped to a 55th that finished with a 74 on Sunday.  Last week’s poor showing and a 29th in Phoenix show a dip in form after he started the year with two top-10’s.

It’ll really be a mystery which Dustin Johnson shows up this week.

Casey, meanwhile, is playing his first American event of the season after starting his European season in fine form as he won the Volvo Golf Champions in Bahrain.

Casey held off the likes of Peter Hanson, Robert Karlsson and Miguel Angel Jiminez on his way to a narrow one shot victory.

From the land of long odds.  Tommy ‘Two Gloves’ Gainey threw away a chance at victory in Phoenix, but bounced back to play decently in the celebrity laden pro-am at Pebble Beach and at (250-1) he’s carries a lot of room for creativity.


It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place the world is when one is playing golf   - Robert Lynd

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