The Tour continues it’s California swing this week at Riviera Country Club and the Northern Trust Open. Last year’s event saw eventual champion James Hahn battle it out with Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson in a playoff.
Riviera Country Club is a site rich in history, which they describe this way…
Owning a legendary place on the American golfing landscape, Riviera’s famed George Thomas-designed golf course has hosted one U.S. Open, two PGA Championships and a U.S. Senior Open, in addition to serving as the perennial site of the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open. Legends like Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson have all tasted victory here, while celebrities like Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Dean Martin have long graced its fairways. Humphrey Bogart could often be spotted watching the pros play from under the Sycamore tree by the 12th green, and it was on these historic links that the fresh ocean breezes helped Howard Hughes whittle his handicap down to a four.
Ben Hogan, who won his first U.S. Open at the Riviera in 1948, once remarked, “Some of my most pleasant memories and thoughts are of this wonderful club and magnificent golf course.” Hogan’s feelings are echoed by the world’s best golfers today, most of whom return each year to compete in the Northern Trust Open.
Scheduled to host the U.S. Amateur in 2017, Riviera remains, in its ninth decade, one of the game's truly iconic venues.
And now for a look at my rankings for this week, as well as DraftKings lineups.
Justin Rose - Finished T6 last week at Pebble Beach. While he did miss a cut a few weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open, every other tournament as of late has seen him either on, or near, the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Jordan Spieth - Final round 66 last week allowed him to climb 33 spots and provided further proof that even when he isn’t playing his best, he’s still dangerous.
Rory McIlroy - Making his first trip to Riviera CC. His game has been improving since last year’s layoff (ankle injury). Motivated to retain his world number one status. It’s always fun to see him and Spieth in the same field.
Bubba Watson - Didn’t have his best performance last week, but he’s been a top-20 machine, with many of those being top-10’s, dating back to last summer. Finished only four shots out of the playoff at last year’s event.
Adam Scott - Has not played many events so far this season, but I’m excited to see him back teeing it up on U.S. soil. Some solid performances early on this year (2nd at CIMB Classic and T10 at World Challenge).
Dustin Johnson - Is always a threat whom you never want to bet against. Look for him to return to the leaderboard in the very near future, as he returns Riviera where he lost to James Hahn in a playoff last year.
Danny Lee - Finished 4th at Phoenix Open two weeks ago. His T30 last week won’t turn any heads, but it does reveal the consistency he is continuing to develop in his game. His game is not yet at a point where he will contend every week, but he is becoming a solid fantasy performer. Look for him to continue to improve.
Hideki Matsuyama - Terrific win two weeks ago in Phoenix. It seemed like only a matter of time before he got back into the winner’s circle. Had a terrific season last year, and to date, 2016 seems to be an improvement.
Charles Howell III - Has a ton of experience at Riviera CC, and has been playing well. Always does a great job of making cuts and climbing leaderboards, but tends to do so quietly.
Freddie Jacobsen - A fantastic putter who has been rolling it well in his last few events. Finished just 3 shots back last week at Pebble Beach, and T4 in his previous event (Farmers Insurance).
Justin Thomas - Has missed the cut in his last two events, but not far removed from playing some incredible golf. Taking last week off will hopefully serve him well as he looks to return to form at Riviera.
Charl Schwartzel - Coming off a convincing European Tour win last week in South Africa. Could have a big week as long as he’s able to handle the jet-lag.
And now a look at my DraftKings lineups for the week….
There is a ton of great value out there this week. Just look at the players I was able to draft in my 'Starting Lineup': Rose, Scott, Lee, Howell III, Baddeley & Berger. Each one of them have been playing well as of late. It makes me excited for what this team could accomplish. I’m taking some chances with my second team, but even this lineup has a ton of potential, despite the fact that I still had $3,500 available to draft. It’s tempting to use every dollar available to you, but history says that’s not always the best plan. You have to take some chances if you want to be rewarded.
Justin Rose - $10,800
Adam Scott - $9,500
Danny Lee - $7,800
Charles Howell III - $7,600
Aaron Baddeley - $7,100
Daniel Berger - $7,100
Bubba Watson - $10,400
Paul Casey - $8,900
Jamie Donaldson - $6,900
Adam Hadwin - $6,900
Roberto Castro - $6,700
Harold Varner III - $6,700
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This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.