Who to watch at the Northern Trust Open

The Northern Trust Open will be held at the Riviera Country Club beginning on Thursday morning, for the 50th time in it's long history.

Riviera is not looked upon as a course or event, that players not quite yet in form for the season look to to sharpen their games.

In 2011, the scoring average at this event was just a shade under 72 -- With a par of 71.

Hitting greens in regulation will be one of the biggest keys to victory this week for the PGA Tour players. Last season, Riviera ranked inside the top-10 on Tour in hardest greens to hit in regulation.

So you can look for second shot specialists, good ball strikers and iron players to be a factor this week.

Lets take a look at some players to keep your eyes on around Riviera.

Phil Mickelson

Funny enough, my dark horse pick last week blew past the field coming from eight shots down to win at Pebble Beach.

Mickelson is the all-time leading money winner at Riviera, and has won here twice in 2008 and 2009.

Last week in Monterey, Lefty finished T3 in Greens in Regulation and T10 in putting. Both again will be key factors this week at Riviera.

Jason Day

The Australian finished of his 2011 season on a very strong note. He posted 12 top-10 finishes in 23 events around the globe.

Two weeks in Qatar, he finished in a tie for second to pick up right where he left off in 2011.

In 2011, though is Greens in Regulation stats were not overly impressive, 110th. He did finish in the seventh position in Strokes Gained Putting and ninth in scoring average.

KJ Choi

The 'Tank' has a great track record at Riviera in his 11 starts at this event.

Choi has racked up four top-10 finishes in those 11 starts, including having never missed a cut.

His 2012 season has not started out as I am sure he hoped, with a T48 in Abu Dhabi and missing the cut in Qatar. However, his record along at Riviera is enough for him to make this list.

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