2012 Northern Trust Open pre-tournament notes
February 14-19, 2012
Venue: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, CA
Par/Yards: 35-36=71/7,349 yards
2011 champion: Aaron Baddeley, 272 (-12)
Purse: $6.6 million; $1,188,000 to the winner
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
A glance at the field
• Twenty six of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking are schedule to tee it up, including World #1 Luke Donald. Donald, the 2011 PGA TOUR Player of the Year is making his 2012 PGA TOUR season debut.
• Three other top ten players also are scheduled, including No. 7 Jason Day, No. 8 Adam Scott and No. 10 Dustin Johnson. Scott will be making his first start of the 2012 season.
• The top three players in the current FedExCup standings, (Kyle Stanley, Johnson Wagner, Mark Wilson) are also in the field.
• Four of five 2012 tournament winners are in the 144 man field field. These include:
o Johnson Wagner – Sony Open in Hawaii
o Mark Wilson – Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation
o Brandt Snedeker – Farmers Insurance Open
o Kyle Stanley – Waste Management Phoenix Open
•Nine past champions representing 11 titles are in the field:
o Aaron Baddeley – 2011
o Phil Mickelson – 2008, 2009
o Charles Howell III – 2007
o Rory Sabbatini – 2006
o Adam Scott – 2005*
o Robert Allenby – 2001
o Ernie Els – 1999
o Billy Mayfair – 1998
o Fred Couples – 1990, 1992
• International Players making their PGA Tour season debut are Luke Donald, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia.
The Youth Movement:
• Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Kyle Stanley all will tee it up.
• 2011 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Keegan Bradley, who won twice on TOUR last year including the PGA Championship, will play in the Northern Trust Open for the second time in his career.
• Ryo Ishikawa, 20, is playing for the fourth consecutive year at the Northern Trust Open with his best finish, T32, coming in 2010.
• Five of the record six rookies who accounted for seven victories in 2011 are in the field: Jhonattan Vegas (Bob Hope Classic/Humana Challenge); Brendan Steele (Valero Texas Open); Chris Kirk (Viking Classic); Scott Stallings (The Greenbrier Classic); and Keegan Bradley (HP Byron Nelson Championship and PGA Championship). However, a rookie has yet to win the Northern Trust Open in its 85-year history.
• Twelve of the 14 first-time winners on the PGA TOUR in 2011 are in the field.
• Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson, and K.J. Choi represent the established players on the Tour. These 10 players (Mickelson/39, Singh/34, Els/18, Furyk/16, Couples/15, Choi/8, Ogilvy/7, Donald/4, Watson/3) have combined for a total of 144
o Mickelson is playing at the Northern Trust Open for the 14th time in his career.
o Donald is making his 11th career and start at the event. Last year, Donald’s opening-round 68 left him just one stroke off the first-round lead, but a second-round 79 meant a rare missed cut for the future No. 1 player in the world, snapping a streak of three consecutive top-six finishes at the Northern Trust Open. Before the 79, Donald had recorded 13 consecutive rounds of par or better at the event.
o Two-time champion Fred Couples returns to Riviera Country Club to make his 30th start after receiving a sponsor’s exemption. Couples, who won the Northern Trust Open in 1990 and 1992 and finished T7 in 2011, will equal Gene Littler for the most starts in tournament history with 30. In addition to his two victories, Couples has collected 12 other top 10s, including runner-up finishes in 1993, 1994 and 1996. He held the 36-hole lead last year at 8-under and was in contention in the final round after opening with three-consecutive birdies but fell off the pace after a double bogey at No. 7 and eventually finished T7.
• The field includes five of the seven multiple winners from 2011 (Bradley, Donald, Watney, Watson and Mark Wilson)
o Keegan Bradley – HP Byron Nelson Championship, PGA Championship
o Luke Donald – World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic)
o Nick Watney – World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, AT&T National
o Bubba Watson – Farmers Insurance Open, Zurich Classic of New Orleans
o Mark Wilson – Sony Open in Hawaii, Waste Management Phoenix Open
Military Appreciation – The Northern Trust Open plans to honor area military personnel and their families in variety of ways, including free admission during the tournament, an appreciation reception for veterans and a private hospitality venue.
“The military is very near and dear to my heart,” said NBA legend Jerry West, executive director of the Northern Trust Open. “My closest brother, David, was killed in the Korean War when I was 12 years old, changing my life forever. I am proud of all that the Northern Trust Open does to reach out and help those in our community, and to be able to support local military men and women and their families through this event is very gratifying to me personally. I believe it is important to show them how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.”
As part of its support for the Birdies for the Brave military outreach initiative, the tournament will provide all active duty, retired and Reserve military members and their dependents with complimentary admission to the Northern Trust Open all week. Complimentary military tickets can be downloaded by visiting http://www.birdiesforthebrave.org and clicking on “ticketing.”
A special military hospitality chalet – the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost presented by the Annenberg Foundation – located on the 10th green at Riviera, will provide military guests and local veterans with complimentary food and beverages and a relaxing venue for enjoying the tournament from Wednesday, February 15, through Sunday, February 19.
On Monday, February 13, four wounded warriors will play in the Monday Pro-Am with TOUR player Billy Hurley (formerly active duty with US Navy). The Pro-Am spot was generously donated by the Annenberg Foundation, proud sponsor of the Birdies for Brave military appreciation activities throughout the week.
Here is a little info on the amateurs who are playing:
• Danny Crosser – Bronze star medal for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force during the Vietnam War. – Army
• Army SPC Bryant Jacobs – Extensive leg injuries from an IED explosion during routine route clearance in Iraq
• Army Sergeant First Class Jacque Keesler – Wounded in Rahwa Iraq during combat operations in June 2006. Purple Heart & Bronze star. Double amputee.
• Coast Guard Third Class Petty Officer Michael Beuoy – He was a Helicopter Rescue Swimmer, but suffered a spinal cord injury (pre-9/11). Was in a wheelchair, but through therapies now no longer needs crutches. A part of the nonprofit group Disabled Sports USA.
On Tuesday, February 14, the PGA TOUR will host an appreciation reception for hundreds of veterans served by the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. PGA TOUR rookie Billy Hurley, a 2004 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and Jordan Spieth, the No. 2-ranked collegiate player in the United States, will visit the West Los Angeles Fisher House on the grounds of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare Center (11301 Wilshire Boulevard) for a dedication ceremony, autograph session, and a live performance by recording artist Michelle Penn. Downloads of Penn’s song, “Welcome Me Home,” benefit the Fisher House Foundation. Dinner will be provided compliments of Chick-fil-A.
On Wednesday, February 15, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. in the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost, Emmy Awardwinning actress Sarah Michelle Gellar will serve as guest host of an Operation Shower group baby shower for 40 military moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed members of Naval Base Ventura County. Conducted in partnership with Birdies for the Brave and presented by Carousel Designs – with Pottery Barn Kids lending its support, the event will include lunch provided by Carl’s Jr.; a performance by Penn; and gifts for all of the moms, presented in Operation Shower’s signature “Shower In A Box.” In addition to West and Gellar, special guests at the Shower will include Holly Finchem, wife of PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, and members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association.
For more information on Operation Shower, visit http://www.operationshower.org.
Also on Wednesday, service members from all five branches of the military will serve as caddies on the 10th tee and as pin flag holders on the 10th green during the Pro-Am.
Saturday, February 18, will be “Military Appreciation Day” at the Northern Trust Open, with military caddies assisting TOUR players on the 10th tee, and a special Military Appreciation Ceremony at 7:30 a.m. located on the No. 1 tee featuring the singing of the National Anthem, color guard presentation, and military speakers.