Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades is one of the most illustrious stops on the PGA Tour. “Hogan’s Alley,” (so named because of the great man’s three victories in the Los Angeles Open in the 1940s,) the club has been the venue for three Major Championships – the 1948 US Open and the 1983 and 1995 PGA Championships.
The event began life as the Los Angeles Open in 1926 and, over the years, the list of tournament winners is impressive, it includes – Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Ben Crenshaw, Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Mike Weir and Phil Mickelson. With such an array of Major champions on the roll of honour, it’s surprising that neither Jack Nicklaus nor Tiger Woods have ever lifted the trophy here.
Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa will make his PGA Tour debut this week. Already twice a winner on the Japan Golf Tour, the teenager will be one of this year’s star attractions at Riviera.
Venue: Riviera Country Club, California
Date: Feb 19-22
Course stats: par 71, 7,298 yards
Purse: $6,300,000 Winner: $1,134,000
Defending champion: Phil Mickelson (-12)
Thursday – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Friday 13 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Saturday 14 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Sunday 15 – Live on Setanta Golf from 8pm
Ernie Els – A winner here 10 years ago, “The Big Easy” should be close again this time round.
Geoff Ogilvy – If he’s on top of his game the Australian is tough to beat. He already has a victory under his belt in 2009.
Padraig Harrington – He finished tied third here last year and will be desperate to bounce back from a disappointing missed cut at Pebble Beach last week.
Key hole: 10th. Only 315 yards but it will trip up the unwary. It’s driveable for the longest hitters but it demands extreme accuracy. The green is narrow with bunkers left, right and behind.
Skills required: Shot-making – Riviera has always been a course that suits the player who can shape the ball and show imagination around the green. The list of winners confirms it.