Northern Trust Open Tournament Notes – 2016

Northern Trust Open2016 Northern Trust Open – Tournament Notes
Dates: February 18-21, 2016
Where: Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Course: The Riviera Country Club; Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Par/Yards: 71/7,349
Field: 144
2015 champion: James Hahn
Purse: $6,800,000 ($1,224,000/winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play competition cut to 70 professionals (and ties) after 36 holes.
Twitter: @NTrustOpen

The Riviera Country Club

  • The Riviera Country Club is recognized as one of the best courses on the PGA TOUR.
    • The annual site of the Northern Trust Open, designed by George C. Thomas, opened for play in 1927. Riviera has hosted many of golf’s greatest events, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open.
    • It will be hosting the U.S. Amateur next year in 2017.
    • Its roster of past champions includes Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Tom Watson, Ernie Els, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson.
  • The 315-yard par-4 10th hole at The Riviera Country Club ranked as the most difficult par-4 under 350 yards on the PGA TOUR in 2014-15.
    • The scoring average for the picturesque, downhill hole was 4.087.
    • The second most difficult hole in this category was the 348-yard No. 12 at St. Andrews Golf Club with a 4.011 scoring average, while the 342-yard 5th hole at TPC San Antonio ranked third with a 3.981 scoring average.
  • Since 1984, the par-5 opening hole at The Riviera Country Club has given up 551 eagles during the Northern Trust Open. The two other par-5 holes have relinquished 147 total eagles – 102 at the 11th hole and 45 eagles at No. 17. The drivable par-4 10th hole has seen 62 eagles recorded since 1984
  • Holes 8, 9 and 12 at The Riviera Country Club are all par-4s over 458 yards in length.
    • Each featured in the top 50 toughest holes on the PGA TOUR last season.
    • Riviera’s 12th hole ranked 15th most difficult at +0.388, the 8thhole ranked 42nd at +0.296 and the 9th hole was 44th at +0.291.

How the Northern Trust Open was won in 2015 and James Hahn

  • After an opening-round 66, James Hahn was in a six-way tie for the lead at last year’s Northern Trust Open.
  • Hahn followed with 74-69 to enter the final round four strokes behind 54-hole leader Retief Goosen.
  • Hahn’s final-round 69 was enough to claim a spot in a three-way playoff where he defeated Dustin Johnson with a birdie on the par-3 14th hole, the third extra hole, to secure his first career PGA TOUR victory at age 33 years, 3 months, 20 days in his 65th career start.
  • England’s Paul Casey was eliminated after the second extra hole. The three-man playoff tied the record for longest sudden-death playoff in Northern Trust Open history. Charles Howell III defeated Phil Mickelson in 2007 and Tom Watson edged Johnny Miller in 1982.
  • James Hahn became the 10th player to win his first TOUR title at the Northern Trust Open.
    • The others are Victor Ghezzi (1935), Johnny Bulla (1941), Fred Wampler (1954), Phil Rodgers (1962), TC Chen (1987), Chip Beck (1988), Kirk Triplett (2000), Len Mattiace (2002) and John Merrick (2013).
  • Hahn was the fourth consecutive player at the Northern Trust Open to come from behind in the final round and win. Bubba Watson (2014), John Merrick (2013) and Bill Haas (2012) also came from behind to win at Riviera.
  • Aaron Baddeley was the last to convert the 54-hole lead in 2011.
  • Hahn has made the cut in each of his three starts at the Northern Trust Open, finishing T61 in 2013, T29 in 2014 and winning last year.
  • Hahn’s first round scoring average is 68.00; however, his second round average is 73.33.
    Hahn held the solo 36-hole lead at the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open, eventually finishing T17, his second-best result this season.
  • Hahn was 6th at the CIMB Classic early in the season.
  • The 2015 Northern Trust Open was one of 15 PGA TOUR events where James Hahn has posted at least three rounds in the 60s (66-74-69-69). In 88 TOUR starts (thru Waste Management Phoenix Open), Hahn has posted four sub-70 rounds in a tournament just once, at the 2015 Sony Open in Hawaii where he finished T26.

A look at the field through Waste Management Phoenix Open

  • There five of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and 24 players ranked in the top 50 of the in the field this week, including No. 1 Jordan Spieth and No. 2 Rory McIlroy.
  • Seven players who have reached the No. 1 ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking are scheduled to tee it up at the Northern Trust Open, including current No. 1 Jordan Spieth, who reached the top position for the first time in August last year.
  • Two-time Northern Trust Open winner (1990, ’92) Fred Couples reached the No.1 ranking in 1992. Other former No. 1 ranked players in the field this week (and the year
    they first became No. 1) are Ernie Els (1997), Vijay Singh (2004), Luke Donald (2011), Rory McIlroy (2012) and Adam Scott (2014).
  • Jordan Spieth shot 76 in the opening round and missed the cut in his Northern Trust Open debut in 2012.
    • He has not posted an over-par round since at Riviera. He was T12 in 2014 and T4 in 2015, in contention until making bogey on the 72nd hole and finishing one shot out of the playoff.
    • In 2012, as a freshman at the University of Texas, Spieth holed out for eagle with a 4-iron on the par-4 15th during the final round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, which helped him defeat longtime friend Justin Thomas and help Texas to a 3-2 defeat of Thomas’ Alabama Crimson Tide for the national championship.
  • Four-time major championship winner Rory McIlroy will be seeking his 20th professional victory when he makes his first appearance at the Northern Trust Open. This is his first appearance for a PGA TOUR event in the United States since the Open last October (T26), and the first on TOUR since the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November (T11).
  • The Northern Trust Open will mark the sixth PGA TOUR start for Hideki Matsuyama this season. He is coming off a playoff win over Rickie Fowler just two weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
    • He also had a fifth at the CIMB Classic earlier this season. Matsuyama was T4 at last year’s Northern Trust Open and T23 in 2014.
  • With Tiger Woods (2007, 2009) and Jim Furyk (2010) out with injury, the former FedExCup champions in the field include Vijay Singh (2008), Bill Haas (2011), Billy Horschel (2014) and Jordan Spieth (2015).
  • Nineteen major championship winners, combining for 33 major titles and representing all four majors.
  • South Korea’s Si Woo Kim qualified for the PGA TOUR in 2012 as a 17-year-old but was unable to become a TOUR member until midway through 2013 when he turned 18.
    • Kim played eight TOUR events that year, failing to make a cut. It’s a different story for Kim this season.
    • He posted five consecutive top-20 PGA TOUR finishes from the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba through 2016 Farmers Insurance Open, including a best result of 4th at the 2016 Sony Open in Hawaii. Kim makes his Northern Trust Open debut this week.
  • Kevin Na began the 2015-16 PGA TOUR season in tremendous fashion, finishing second in a playoff at the Open, T2 a week later at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and T3 a week after that at the CIMB Classic.
    • Na added another T3 at the CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation in January. Na didn’t shoot a round over par in his first 27 rounds this season. That streak came to a halt with a final-round 1-over 72 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
    • Na will be making his 13th consecutive start in the Northern Trust Open. He collected top-10 finishes in 2010 (T10) and 2011 (3rd).
  • England’s Andy Sullivan will compete in the Northern Trust Open on a sponsor’s invitation. Sullivan gained notice when he made an ace at the 2014 KLM Open and earned a flight into space.
    • In 2015, he won three times on the European Tour – the South African Open Championship, the Joburg Open and the Portugal Masters.
    • Sullivan, who was runner-up to Danny Willett two weeks ago at the Dubai Desert Classic, is currently ranked No. 28 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
  • J.J. Spaun, the 2015 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year and Order of Merit winner, is the recipient of the 2016 Northern Trust Open Exemption.
    • A native of Los Angeles and a product of San Diego State University, Spaun’s performance on the Mackenzie Tour in 2015 earned him fully exempt Tour status this season. In his Tour debut at the Panama Claro Championship he finished T47.
    • Spaun, 25 and of Filipino descent, was chosen from a pool of applicants to receive the exemption which provides an opportunity for a top golfer who represents the advancement
      of diversity in golf and wouldn’t otherwise be eligible to compete in the event.
    • Spaun made the cut in all 11 Mackenzie Tour starts last year, winning the 2015 Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel and posting seven total top-10 finishes en route to claiming the No. 1 spot on the Order of Merit and Player of the Year honors.
    • The 2016 Northern Trust Open will be his second PGA TOUR start, having posted a T41 finish at the 2015 RBC Canadian Open. Previous Northern Trust Open Exemption recipients include Vincent Johnson (2009), Joshua Wooding (2010), Joseph Bramlett (2011), Andy Walker (2012), Jeremiah Wooding (2013), Harold Varner III (2014) and Carlos Sainz, Jr. (2015).
  • Vaughn Taylor, playing out of the Past Champion category, earned his third PGA TOUR at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Taylor has won the Barracuda Championship twice in his career (2004, 2005).
    • Taylor, who trailed Phil Mickelson by six strokes after 54 holes, made four consecutive birdies on holes 13-16 and fired a 5-under 31 coming in. Taylor made 108 feet of putts in the final round including a 28-foot 11-inch bomb on the 16th hole for birdie to take the outright lead at 17-under-par.
    • Last season, Taylor made 12 starts on the PGA TOUR and placed No. 151 in the FedExCup standings.
    • He failed to retain his TOUR card after finishing outside the top 50 in the Tour Finals.
    • The Augusta, Georgia resident will tee it up in the Masters Tournament in early April for the first time since 2008.
    • Taylor will be playing in his 10th Northern Trust Open with his best finish (T22) coming in 2008 and 2015.
  • Bill Haas, the 2012 Northern Trust Open winner, ranks No. 5 on the list of players with the most career money earned at the Northern Trust Open with $1,787,948.
  • With a good performance this week, Haas could join a group that includes Phil Mickelson (No. 1 with $3,570,703), Dustin Johnson ($2,115,415), Steve Stricker ($2,033,508) and Fred Couples ($2,012,512) as players who have surpassed $2 million in earnings at Riviera.
  • Twenty-two players have earned more than $1 million at the Northern Trust Open, but Tiger Woods, at No. 23 with $944,417, is not included in that group. Chad Campbell, at No. 24 with
    $907,663, is in the field this week.
  • Along with defending champion James Hahn, other past champions of the Northern Trust Open in the field are: Bubba Watson (2014), John Merrick (2013), Bill Haas (2012), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Charles Howell III (2007), Adam Scott (2005), Robert Allenby (2001), Ernie Els (1999) and Fred Couples (1990, 1992).
  • The Northern Trust Open has had just four wire-to-wire winners in its history, with the most recent almost 40 years ago in 1978 when Gil Morgan claimed victory.
    • Other past champions who have won the Northern Trust Open in wire-to-wire fashion include Ben Hogan (1948), Lloyd Mangrum (1956) and Charles Sifford (1969).
  • Sangmoon Bae ranks No. 1 in scoring average (69.33) at the Northern Trust Open (8 rounds minimum)
  • Bae is absent from the PGA TOUR while he serves compulsory military service in his native South Korea, while Charl Schwartzel (69.50/2nd), Dustin Johnson (69.75/T5) and Hideki Matsuyama (69.75/T5), all ranked 5th or better in scoring averages, are playing this week.
  • Fred Couples (69.96/10th), who has played 119 tournament rounds at the Northern Trust Open, is also in the field, his 34th start in the event.
  • Nine-time TOUR winner Dustin Johnson has an enviable record at the Northern Trust Open with five top-10 finishes from eight starts at Riviera, including consecutive runner-up finishes the past two years.
  • Five players in the history of the Northern Trust Open have recorded runner-up finishes in back-to-back years but none finished better than T18 the next year. Johnson is joined by Tiger Woods and Fred Couples as the only players in the last 60 years to post consecutive runner-up finishes at the Northern Trust Open.

The Northern Trust Open and the FedExCup

  • The Northern Trust Open enters the third season as part of a wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 47 events.
  • The 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season began with seven events during the fall of 2015, each of which awarded FedExCup points. After a seven-week break, the season resumed with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, won by Jordan Spieth. The FedExCup Playoffs once again features four events and concludes in September with the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the crowning of the FedExCup champion.
  • Since the FedExCup’s 2007 inception, the winner of the Northern Trust Open has made it all the way to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola that year six times: Bubba Watson (2014), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Steve Stricker (2010), Phil Mickelson (2009 & 2008) and Charles Howell III (2007).
  • In 2009, Mickelson captured both the Northern Trust Open and Tour Championship by Coca-Cola titles.
  • Kevin Kisner is the current FedExCup leader on the back of a strong season that saw him claim his first PGA TOUR victory at The RSM Classic.
    • He has three other top 10s to go along with that victory in just seven starts so far this season, including most recent when he finished T5 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

90th Playing

  • This year marks the 90th playing of the Northern Trust Open, the fourth-longest consecutively played tournament on the PGA TOUR.
  • The tournament will honoring this heritage in a number of ways, including displaying historic clubs on the 10th tee during the Tuesday practice round from the 1920s (the first tournament was played in 1926), the 1950s (to honor Ben Hogan’s tie to the tournament and course) and the 1990s (to celebrate two-time winner Fred Couples and others in that era). Players will be encouraged to hit a tee shot with any of the clubs to celebrate the tournament’s history.


  • As the official charity of the Northern Trust Open, City of Hope joins Northern Trust and the PGA TOUR in bringing hope to people facing life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope is a world leader in the research and treatment of cancer, diabetes and other serious diseases.
  • By combining leading-edge research with personalized, compassionate care, City of Hope is creating medical miracles that make lives whole again.
  • City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles; it also offers treatment at 14 other locations throughout Southern California.
  • With every birdie recorded during the Northern Trust Open, critical funds are raised to support City of Hope.
  • In 2015, Birdies for Hope raised more than $850,000 for City of Hope through a PGA TOUR match donation and the generous support of Staples, the presenting sponsor of Birdies for
  • The mission of The First Tee of Los Angeles is “to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of
  • The program’s focus is to establish a lifelong interest in golf by engaging young people in a structured golf curriculum that promotes personal character development within a physical education setting.


The College Connection

  • Charlie Danielson shot a bogey-free 3-under 68 in Monday’s second Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase, the low score of the 14 collegians in the field – and the only player under par – earning the University of Illinois senior an exemption into this week’s Northern Trust Open at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
  • In just the second iteration of the event, top PGA TOUR pros played alongside 14 standout collegiate golfers from across the country and two amateurs, representing their respective universities.
  • The professional and the two amateurs (not the collegian) teamed up in a best-ball competition and competed for the Collegiate Showcase Trophy and a donation of $50,000 to the university’s golf program.
  • That portion of the competition was won by the University of Texas, represented by PGA TOUR player Jordan Spieth, with a score of 10-under 61. Each collegian played his own ball.
  • Danielson, playing with former University of Illinois star Scott Langley, finished three strokes ahead of Will Zalatoris from Wake Forest, last year’s winner of the Northern Trust Open
    Collegiate Showcase, and Jonathan Garrick from UCLA and will be making his first start in a PGA TOUR event.
  • “This was one of the cooler events I’ve had since I’ve been in college,” Danielson said following his round. “It means a lot to play this week at the Northern Trust Open because I was fortunate enough to be able to come on the trip because our team had such a great year. And to come play with donors and coach Small, it was a treat. To play in my first PGA TOUR event and have it be at Riviera, here at the Northern Trust Open, I am just grateful for the opportunity.”
  • Danielson, a senior at the University of Illinois, is a two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection (2014, 2015). He reached the round of 16 at the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Danielson is also a three-time PING All-American and won the 2014 Les Bolstad Award for having the lowest season stroke average in the Big Ten. In the fall, he finished in the top 10 in all three of Illinois’ tournaments, including two top-5 finishes, and he led the team in stroke average.
  • “He’s a great player,” said Langley, Danielson’s PGA TOUR playing partner for the day. “He’s definitely going to be out on the PGA TOUR someday.”


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