Monday, February 20, 2012



LOS ANGELES, California - For those of us who almost never watch golf tournaments on TV, this weekend's contest at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles gave us a reason to do so more often. Lots of reasons, actually.

You couldn't help but be impressed by Bill Haas' determination. Haas was a smiling assassin as he both out-smiled and out-played Lefty Mickelson to earn a hard-earned victory. Keegan Bradley, a poster boy for nervous energy, kept fighting, spitting and fidgeting until the very end. Many hoped that Phil would win his second tournament in a row but, once again, he was derailed by a questionable decision on the tee box of the last hole on the last day.

We also got to see the other side of the coin watching Dustin Johnson's short game or lack therof. Television viewers were as embarrassed for him as Riviera's spectators obviously appeared after he amateurishly bladed a sand wedge across the green. Sometimes it's hard to imagine these golfing machines as human beings with all of the attendant frailties and weaknesses.

You'd have to call the Northern Trust Open's international field pretty strong with the likes of Luke Donald, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, KJ Choi, Aaron Baddeley and Sergio Garcia teeing it up at Riviera. It was nice to see golfers from the United States sweeping the first three spots.

As for Riviera, no article about this tournament would be complete without an honorable mention for the outstanding golf course known famously as"Hogan's Alley" after legendary golfer Ben Hogan. Riviera Country Club provided the canvas on which Haas would craft his masterpiece. It was an inspired performance which could only have taken place on such an inspirational golf course.


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Revised 09-03-2012