It's said that past performance is an indication of potential present success. If that's indeed the case then Phil Mickelson is the winner of the 2011 Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. Consecutive victories in 2008, and 2009 are the proof. Of course Phil isn't the only guy to win twice in a row. Macdonald Smith did it in 1927, 28, Ben Hogan in 1947, 48, Paul Harney in 1964, 65, Corey Pavin in 1994, 95, and Mike Weir as recently as 2003, 04. Weir and Pavin are here, so perhaps I'm presumptuous with the Phil pick. Truth is Phil typically wins at least once on the California swing and he's due. Predictions of rain will hamper the lighter hitters and make the bombers a premium. Bet the house on Phil, especially if you're underwater on your mortgage.
If you're into longer shots, and who isn't, pony up on Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson for some of the aforementioned reasons. If sentimentality's your bag, go with Fred Couples, a two-timer himself in 1990, 92. After all, he knows the course. Regardless, bet early and often. 2011 Full Field
Swing hard, look up,