This Week in Golf — Feb. 19-22

Philadelphia, PA ( – PGA TOUR – NORTHERN TRUST OPEN, Riviera
Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California – The PGA Tour shifts to southern
California this week for the Northern Trust Open.

Bubba Watson returns to Riviera to defend his title against a field that
includes six of the top-20 players in the world.

William McGirt led by two entering the final round last year, but stumbled to
a 2-over 73 to slide into sixth place.

Watson fired back-to-back rounds of 7-under 64 on the weekend to rally and win
for the fifth time on the PGA Tour. Watson, who lost the lead late in the
final round two weeks earlier in Phoenix, fired a 30 on the front nine last
year at Hogan’s Alley to jump into the lead.

The victory was his first since winning the 2012 Masters. Watson went on to
win the Masters for a second time later last spring.

Watson is the top-ranked player in the field at world No. 3. The other players
in the field this week ranked in the top-20 are Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia,
Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Hideki Matsuyama. Garcia is making his season
debut on the PGA Tour.

This is a big week for several players as those in the top 50 of the world
rankings after this event will qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Championship in
two weeks.

Brendon Todd, Russell Henley, Harris English, John Senden and Francesco
Molinari are between 53rd and 60th in the world and are all in the field this

Pat Perez continues an interesting streak this week. He will tee it up in the
49th straight west coast swing event that he was eligible for. That streak
started in 2008.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds of this event and will hand
things off to CBS in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.

The PGA Tour heads to Florida next week for The Honda Classic. Rory McIlroy
coughed up the third-round lead at PGA National last year and opened the door
for Russell Henley. Henley birdied the first playoff hole to defeat McIlroy,
Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox.


HERO INDIAN OPEN, Delhi Golf Club, New Delhi, India – The European Tour is in
New Delhi this week for the Hero Indian Open.

This event is new to the European Tour, but has been an Asian Tour event for
years. This will be the 51st year of the tournament.

Among the top players in the field are last week’s runner-up Scott Hend, Shiv
Kapur, Jeev Milkha Singh, Malaysian Open winner Anirban Lahiri and Miguel
Angel Jimenez, who was the 36-hole leader last week in Thailand.

Golf Channel will have tape-delayed coverage of all four rounds of this event.

The European Tour returns to South Africa next week for the Joburg Open, where
George Coetzee rallied to win by three strokes last year.


ISPS HANDA WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN, The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Melbourne,
Australia – The LPGA Tour heads down under this week for the ISPS Handa
Women’s Australian Open.

Local favorite Karrie Webb closed with a 4-under 68 last year and she came
from behind to win for the 40th time on the LPGA Tour. The Australian trailed
by five strokes entering the final round.

Chella Choi and then-amateur Minjee Lee shared the third-round lead, but both
struggled in the final round. Choi stumbled to a 2-over 74, while Lee faltered
to a 6-over 78.

This is the fourth year the event is part of the LPGA Tour, but its 24th year

World No. 1 Lydia Ko will headline the field with Webb. Surprisingly, just
four of the top-10 players in the world are playing this week. Those four are
Ko, No. 4 Shanshan Feng, No. 7 So Yeon Ryu and No. 9 Webb

Golf Channel will have late night coverage of all four rounds.

The LPGA Tour heads to Thailand next week for the Honda LPGA Thailand, where
Anna Nordqvist beat 2013 winner Inbee Park by two strokes last year.