A year ago, the West Coast Swing was saturated in wet weather, delays and suspensions. There was fog at the Buick Invitational, severe wind at the FBR Open, a little rain at Pebble Beach, and a whole lot of rain at the Nissan and WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Of course, Mother Nature traveled with the tour as it made its Southern Swing, wreaking havoc on the Florida and Georgia events as well.
But the tour played through it all ' with one exception.
At last years Nissan Open, the first round was suspended due to darkness. The second round was delayed by four hours due to a steady rain and was eventually suspended due to darkness. There was no play on Saturday as heavy overnight rains and thunderstorms carried throughout the night and into the morning, leaving the course unplayable. And then on Sunday, the third round finally began but had to be wiped out due to more and more bad weather.
As it turned out, 36-hole co-leaders Adam Scott and Chad Campbell were put into a sudden-death playoff, which was won by the Australian on the first extra hole.
Scott was granted the $864,000 first-place price as well as the trophy, but he was not awarded an official victory.
So now, Scott is back to defend his title ' sort of. Here are five players hell have to beat in order to officially be crowded champion at Riviera Country Club:
Tiger is 2-for-2 this season, having won on both the PGA and European tours. Hes also garnered both of his victories in playoffs, the first at the Buick Invitational and then again two weeks ago over Ernie Els in the Dubai Desert Classic. Woods has a career 13-1 playoff record around the world. His one loss: to Billy Mayfair in this event in 1998.
In a way, Weir is the defending champion of this event for the third straight year. Weir won this title in a playoff over Charles Howell III in 2003 and then kept hold of the trophy after a one-stroke triumph over Shigeki Maruyama in 04. Last year, he didnt really have a chance to three-peat as the final two rounds were washed out (he was seven back after 36 holes). Its been a long and frustrating road traveled since Weir last walked away from Riviera a winner. He hasnt since won on tour and blew a huge opportunity to capture his nations championship, losing to Vijay Singh in a playoff in the 04 Bell Canadian Open. Last year, he battled through injuries and recorded only two top-10 finishes. He missed the cut in this years Sony Open and FBR Open, but did manage to tie for fifth in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He had a wonderful opportunity to win last week at Pebble Beach, but shot 78 on Sunday to fall from 54-hole co-leader into a tie for third.
After a very hot start, in which he tied for second in his season debut at the Sony Open and then won the Bob Hope for his first tour victory in nearly two years, Campbell is on a bit of a decline of late. He tied for 28th at the Buick Invitational and tied for 70th in Scottsdale. Campbell took last week off and returns to Riviera recharged. In addition to his playoff loss last year, he had a tie for eighth here in 2003.
Since missing the cut in his Riviera debut in 1999, Allenby has been around for the weekend on his last six tries, which includes a playoff victory in 2001 and a tie for seventh last year. Allenby became the first man to win the Australasian Tours three biggest events in succession, when he captured the Australian Open, Australian PGA and Australian Masters late last year. He has, however, been bothered by a hand injury and has competed in only one PGA Tour event this season, tying for 55th in Scottsdale. It didn't seem to cause too much of a problem last week, though, as he tied for third in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia.
Lost among the hype surrounding Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes is Moore. Moore, who earned his card this season through limited sponsors exemptions in 05, may not be as long off the tee as some of his 20-something counterparts, but his all-around game is superb. He plays, like an old-timer, by feel, which should suit him well on this classic course. Moore will be playing this event for the first time. He missed the cut in his first two starts of the season, but bounced back with a tie for 40th at the FBR Open.