Main contenders

PHIL MICKELSON
 
Mickelson is bidding for his third consecutive Riviera win, and that should really have been four as he blew the 2007 renewal. So long as the controversy over his clubs doesn’t cause a distraction, he’s bound to contend strongly. I can’t argue with his 7/1 odds, as they at least reflect his chance, while still preferring to back other high-class candidates each-way at bigger odds.
 
STEVE STRICKER
 
It;s always easy to make a case for an each-way bet on this ultra-consistent player, who has six top tens from his last eight events. Stricker also finished runner-up here last year.
 
ERNIE ELS

There’s been much in his last two performances to suggest Els‘ decision to focus more on the States this year will pay dividends. Very few courses in the States suit him better than Riviera, where he won this event in 1999, and also finished third in the USPGA.
 
RORY SABBATINI

Sabbatini certainly qualifies as an event specialist, winning in 2006, finishing runner-up another time and making six top 15s in total. Course form is usually significant with Sabbatini, an erratic player who tends to either love or hate a set-up.

CHARLES HOWELL

Howell won this event in 2005, and twice previously made the top six. Recent form is also good, with top tens on two of his last three starts.