This week’s PGA Tour event, the USD $6.6 million ($6.14 million AUD) Northern Trust Open will feature 11 players from Australia, the largest gathering of Aussies on US soil for 2012 and set to challenge the likes of world number 1 Luke Donald, Last week’s AT&T winner Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Sergio Garcia.
Headlining the Australian act is World number 7 Jason Day, fresh from a tour of the Middle East that included a stellar 2nd at the Qatar Masters including a final day 65, World number 8 Adam Scott who opens his 2012 season at the event that he won in 2005 and defending champion Aaron Baddeley whose solo 4th place finish last week at Pebble Beach left no doubts “Badds” is primed in his attempt to lift the silverware for a second year in a row.
“The history (at Riviera) is one of my favorite things,” Baddeley said. “Every year I always look at the photos in the locker room. I look at those photos over and over. It’s just so great just to see the pictures of Hogan, the pictures of past champions … just seeing old pictures is so awesome.”
This year Baddeley will be able to look over at the wall and see a picture of himself following his splendid 2011 two shot win over veteran Fijian Vijay Singh which included leading from start to finish on the final day.
“It was the first time I had the lead for a couple of years coming into the last day,” Baddeley said. “I definitely remember warming up that morning and feeling quite a bit nervous, really just excited for the round. I hit a really good tee shot down the first, which calmed me down.
Other Aussies in the field include 2001 Northern Trust Open winner Robert Allenby, Geoff Ogilvy, Marc Lieshman, Jarrod Lyle, Matthew Goggin, Greg Chalmers, Stuart Appleby and John Senden.
The Northern Trust Open is played at the beautifully designed Riveria Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California set in the Santa Monica valley region, a short drive from Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles. The course was designed in 1926 by George C. Thomas and received a facelift by Tom Fazio in 2008. The championship tees will stretch the players out over 7298 yards and features some of the most notable bunkers on tour around the par 71 course.
Let’s hope this is the start to a long season of Aussie success on the 2012 PGA Tour.