In what has been an incredible start to the 2013 PGA Tour season - the likes of Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker have all won in the first six weeks - the stars will really get going this week at Riviera.
While Tiger and Rory McIlroy are not at the Northern Trust, the likes of Luke Donald, Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel are all making their Tour debut this week.
Bill Haas is the defending champion, holding off Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a two-hole playoff in 2012. The trio are grouped for the first two rounds this week.
We'll keep you up-to-date on the long day ahead at the NTO, and also check out our pre-tournament coverage below:
• • •
Update No. 4, 10:55 a.m. EST
Jim Furyk made his first Tour start of 2013 last week at Pebble Beach, finishing T-30 and closing 69-68-69 after an opening-round 75. He's continuing the solid play at Riviera. Furyk has birdied Nos. 1 and 2 to grab a share of the early lead at 2 under.
Also at 2 under is Matt Kuchar, K.J. Choi, John Rollins and Graham DeLaet.
• • •
Update No. 3, 10:43 a.m. EST
There have already been big names winning tournaments so far this season – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker – and the big names are starting strong today. Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar are all 1 under early in their rounds. Ryan Moore and K.J. Choi are also 1 under.
• • •
Update No. 2, 10:22 a.m. EST
Charles Howell III has no doubt had great start to the season. He's third on the Tour in scoring average (69.11) and sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. He has three top 10s in four starts, including the Humana Challenge, where he lost in a playoff. Howell didn't play last week at Pebble Beach after finishing T-36 in Scottsdale.
But while his start to 2013 has been a good one, he's not playing well so far in Riviera. Howell is 2 over through two holes, bogeying Nos. 10 and 11.
• • •
Update No. 1, 10:07 a.m. EST
We've just gotten underway at Riviera. Among the early leaders at 1 under are Andres Romero, Dicky Pride, Pat Perez, John Rollins, Brandt Jobe, David Mathis and Jason Kokrak. Most of that group birdied the par-5 first hole at Riviera.
Kokrak has missed two straight cuts entering this event. He withdrew from the Farmers, too, after finishing T-8 the week before at the Humana. Rollins, on the other hand, has made all four cuts this season and has finished in the top 25 three times.
• • •
• TEE TIMES: A look at the first-round tee times at the Northern Trust Open. Pairings.
• STARS COME OUT: Three of the past four major winners, plus the season debuts of Luke Donald, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell put a spotlight on the Northern Trust Open. 5 Things.
• WHICH LEFTY WILL SHOW UP? Phil Mickelson has had a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence the last two weeks. He nearly shot a 59 at Phoenix, cruising to a four-shot victory. Then he went to Pebble, where he barely made the cut. Which Mickelson will show up this week? Story.
• OUT FOR 2013: Spencer Levin says he probably won’t be playing golf again until next season. The silver lining? With the PGA Tour’s new year-round schedule configuration, the start to the 2014 season is only eight months away. Story.
• PREDICTIONS: There will be plenty of familiar faces making their 2013 PGA Tour debut this week at the Northern Trust Open. Two of them also make the cut with our panel of experts - with Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel both registering as overall favorites. Tip Sheet.
• CLEAR CONSCIENCE: Blayne Barber might not be one of the 25 marquee players teeing it up at Northern Trust Open, but after his self-disqualification at Q-School, he is simply ready to show off his game on golf's biggest stage. Commentary.