With the strongest field of the year to date emerging on Riviera Country Club, here are the finishing touches on our week of researching the Northern Trust Open.
For the one-and-done, I looked at things from a number of angles. There are a few wild cards this week. How will Charl Schwartzel do in his first start at Riviera? How will guys like Adam Scott and Luke Donald look in their first starts of the season? Which Mickelson shows up? In a field this deep, there is little room for taking a risk because there are plenty answers in front of us.
I touted Jimmy Walker as my top pick to start the week, and I'm going with him as the one-and-done. A big part of me wanted to take Mickelson since he's coming off a terrible week at Pebble and that seems to be working for him lately. But, I'm tired of riding the Phil roller coaster. Haas is worthy of thought. Keegan Bradley is too. Ryan Moore? Aaron Baddeley? Sergio Garica? Kevin Stadler? All good. It just depends on your long-term strategy.
For my two-and-done, I'm taking Keegan Bradley. He was runner-up here last year and he'll thrive on playing beside Mickelson the first two rounds. I see similarities to this course and Firestone CC where Bradley won the WGC-Bridgestone last August.
One final note, Rob Bolton did a nice job of highlighting that Jimmy Walker (also his one-and-done this week) and his wife are expecting their second child next week. He also noted in his PGATOUR.com piece that this is reminiscent of Ryan Moore just before Moore won in Vegas last Fall. I would recommend emailing your commissioner and asking about selecting a pre-tournament alternate should Walker W/D from the tournament pre or mid-tourney due to the early birth of the child. The worst they can tell you is no.
Best of luck this week!