Phil Mickelson heads the betting for a second successive week on the PGA Tour as it moves to the Riviera Country Club for the Northern Trust Open. Lefty is a two-time winner at the Los Angeles venue and all-time money leader at the event, but travels up the coast from Pebble Beach off a disappointing 60th place.
At current odds of 12/1 Mickelson is swerved, as is second favourite Sergio Garcia, whose putting looked suspect in Dubai a fortnight ago and Luke Donald, who is making his first start of 2013 and usually needs a run before he is competitive.
One player who is more than warmed up and ready to go is Jimmy Walker. We tipped him last week and he rewarded each-way backers at Pebble Beach. Walker can now boast two top-fours in his last three starts and was also fourth at Riviera both last year and in 2011.
It’s only a matter of time before he breaks his maiden tag on the main tour and it could easily be this week at odds of 20/1.
This time last year Bill Haas came into the Northern Trust Open off the back of fourth and 19th-place finishes before going on to win the title. Twelve months on, Haas has form figures of ninth and sixth heading to Los Angeles. He just must be backed to win again at Riviera at 25/1.
And while course experience has been key to success in the past in this tournament, it might be worth taking a chance that Charl Schwartzel could run a place on his first outing at this venue.
In his last six starts, the South African hasn’t finished worse than fifth. In his last four, he’s gone second-win-win-second – numbers too good to ignore and he is another priced at 20/1.
My three to follow – Walker, Haas and Schwartzel.
Meanwhile, if a tournament winner selection ends up being beaten in a play-off, the losing stake will be refunded as a free bet.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date