The 21-year-old Spieth was part of the Texas team that won the NCAA title here in 2012. In his singles match against Justin Thomas, Spieth holed an approach shot down the stretch that propelled his team to victory. Garcia is making his 2015 PGA Tour debut after limited success in two starts in the Middle East, while Couples is teeing it up at the NTO for the 33rd time.
Walker says Riviera is his favorite course on the PGA Tour, and it’s easy to see why when looking at his results since 2011: four consecutive top-20 finishes, including back-to-back T-4s in 2011 and ’12. Japanese star Matsuyama tied for 23rd in his debut here a year ago, and he’s coming off a missed cut two weeks ago at Torrey Pines. English was part of the four-man playoff in San Diego.
Haas and Watson won here in 2012 and ’14, respectively, with Watson going 64-64 on the weekend last year to steal the title. At No. 3 in the world, he is the highest-ranked player in the field. He hasn’t finished worse than 10th in three official PGA Tour starts this season, including a T-2 in his most recent appearance, at the Phoenix Open. Haas has four consecutive top-25s here, but he’s on baby watch at the Riv, with his wife, Julie, expecting the couple’s second child next week. Meanwhile, this is something of a home game for Johnson, who is renting a house in LA, near future father-in-law Wayne Gretzky. DJ has top-5 finishes in three of the past five years at Riviera.
Snedeker is coming off an impressive victory at Pebble Beach that secured his spot in the Masters, but traditionally he has not fared well the week following a win. In his career, he has zero top-10s the week after a W. Furyk held the 54-hole lead last week, only to falter with a Sunday 74. Though he’s made the cut here every year since 2008, he has just one top 10 in the past 16 years. Els won this event back in 1999.