It’s that time again as the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open is back at storied Riviera Country Club (aka Hogan’s Alley) in Pacific Palisades (just north-east of Santa Monica). Your defending champ is Wisconsin native Steve Stricker who’s currently ranked #8 in the world, and I chatted with Strick about his chances of going back to back along with some post Super Bowl thoughts…
Also in the strong field is the previous President’s Cup captain Corey Pavin who grew up around these parts, going to UCLA before becoming a major champion and a 2-time winner of the formerly named L.A. Open. And Corey told me how he’s winding down his PGA Tour career for the 50 and over Champion’s Tour and that he recently moved just blocks from Riviera proving you can go back home again….
Also about to become a Champion’s Tour player is 49 yr. old Brad Faxon who told me how much he loves Riviera and he even gives us hackers a little mental tip to remember while were over-thinking our games…
One new major champion who’s in the field for the first time is reigning British Open champ Louie Oosthuizen who I hadn’t seen since he fed the media champagne after his very impressive win at St. Andrew’s last year. Louie’s just another one of the extremely nice and genuine types from South Africa who’s fun to chat with. Unfortunately I got him after a newsconference and then a 1on1 with PGA Radio so he was a little talked out…but still kind enough to give me a few minutes…
And then I sat down with the Fed Ex Cup standings leader and another Wisconsin native Mark Wilson who’s 2 PGA Tour wins this year were just as exciting to him as his favorite Packers winning the Super Bowl and we covered it all…along with another mental golf tip that hopefully will help your game more than it has mine!
If you’ve never been out to Riviera Country Club then try and check it out this weekend . And if you’re not impressed with this place that was built in 1926, you just don’t like anything about golf or the history of Los Angeles…it’s as good as it gets!
And now I’m off to see the Northern Trust Open executive director and Laker great Jerry West get his statue unveiled at Staples Center later today to open the NBA All-Star weekend in downtown L.A. I also got the chance to speak with Mr. Clutch (aka-The Logo) yesterday about the start of his 2nd NTO tournament since taking the gig and his humble thoughts on getting a statue without his hall of fame ex-Laker teamate Elgin Baylor…
You talk about a humble super-star? Jerry West is everything good about sports and humanity on how he spends his semi-retirement giving back to the city that made him famous. If only others that weren’t all about ME were paying attention to Mr. Clutch and his honest approach to life? You have no idea how special it is to interact with some one as admirable as Jerry. Congrats on your statue!