Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's Northern Trust Open tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
Tournament Facts & Scheduling
From the delights of Pebble Beach we travel 350 miles south to Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open at the beautifully classical Riviera Country Club. This tournament is now traditionally the close of the West Coast swing and is played in mid February Riviera Country Club affectionately known as "Hogan's Alley" annually attracts a selection of the very best players, because the course is a classical masterpiece. The course is a challenging 7,300 yard Par 71 which challenges. As ever the top ranked players will rise to the very top around Riviera but beware those players who will use Riviera purely as a warm up for the Accenture World Matchplay.
Riviera Country Club
Designer: Thomas 1926 with Fazio Re Design 2008 Course Type: Classical potentially Technical dependant on weather Par: 71 Length: 7,349 yards Water Hazards: None Fairways: Kikuyugrass Rough: Kikuyugrass 2.5" Greens: 5,000 sq.ft average featuring Creeping Bent and Poa Annua grass Stimpmeter: 12ft Scoring Avg 2012: 72.22 Ranked 7 of 49 courses for difficulty on the 2012 PGA Tour. 2013: 71.85 Ranked 13 of 43 for difficulty.
Previous Champions: 2013: John Merrick; 2012: Bill Haas; 2011: Aaron Baddeley; 2010: Steve Stricker; 2009: Phil Mickelson; 2008: Phil Mickelson; 2007: Charles Howell III; 2006: Rory Sabbatini; 2005: Adam Scott; 2004: Mike Weir; 2003: Mike Weir; 2002: Len Mattiace 2001: Robert Allenby; 2000: Kirk Triplett
Winners Prices: 2013: John Merrick - 250/1 2012: Bill Haas - 50/1 2011: Aaron Baddeley - 100/1 2010: Steve Stricker 16/1 2009: Phil Mickelson - 18/1
It will be all too easy this week for tipsters and punters alike to go hard at the short priced favourites and it's easy to see the reasoning behind that. Mickelson's win in 2009 was at 18/1 and Stricker's win in 2010 was a 16/1 result for his backers. However recent renewals have seen John Merrick break his PGA Tour maiden at a mind blowing 250/1, Bill Haas defeat Major Champions Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley to win at 50/1. Go back to 2011 and Aaron Baddeley defeated Vijay Singh and Kevin Na at 100/1.
So decent advice is don't disregard purely on price this week because the right selection could be deeper in the market. It's true that on such a classical golf course as Riviera the better players will gravitate to the top of the leaderboard however be wary of some as players who have already "hit their straps" form wise will be those that have the advantage on the fast and undulating Bent Poa Annua mix greens.
As ever conditions will be key so stay close to the weather forecast and vary your selections dependant upon the likely winning score required. Wwindier and colder conditions make Riviera more of a technical test as we saw in 2013 when John Merrick prevailed at -11/273. Drier and tranquil weather will take the scoring towards -15/269 where a top putter is likelier to ultimately prevail.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. Here how his Waste Management Phoenix Open Tips have fared over the past 2 seasons: