US PGA TOUR
Northern Trust Open
Site: Los Angeles.
Course: Riviera Country Club (7,325 yards, 6,698 meters, par 71).
Purse: $6.4 million. Winner’s share: $1,152,000.
Last year: Phil Mickelson successfully defended his title, beating SteveStricker by a stroke. Mickelson went from a four-shot lead at the start of thefinal round to a two-shot deficit with three holes to play. He birdied 16 and 17and wrapped up the victory with a 6-foot par putt on 18.
Last week: Ben Crane won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines for histhird tour title, beating Michael Sim , Brandt Snedeker and Marc Leishman by astroke.
Notes: Tiger Woods , winless in his hometown event, is taking an indefiniteleave to sort out his personal life. … Mickelson finished 19th last week inSan Diego in his season debut. … Young Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa is in thefield. He missed the cut last year at Riviera in his US PGA Tour debut. … BenHogan stamped the course as “Hogan’s Alley” with three victories in 17 months— the 1947 and ’48 Los Angeles Opens and ’48 U.S. Open. … Steve Elkington wonthe 1995 US PGA at Riviera, beating Colin Montgomerie in a playoff. … NBAgreat Jerry West is in his first year as the tournament’s executive director.… The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is next week, followed by theAccenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona, which is opposite theMayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.
On the Net: http://www.pgatour.com
Dubai Desert Classic
Site: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Course: Emirates Golf Club, Majlis Course (7,301 yards, 6,676 meters, par72).
Purse: $2.5 million. Winner’s share: $416,660.
Last year: Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy won his first European Tourtitle, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-stroke victory over England’s JustinRose .
Last week: Sweden’s Robert Karlsson won the Qatar Masters for his 10thEuropean Tour title, finishing with a 7-under 65 for a three-stroke victory.
Notes: Tom Watson is in the field along with Lee Westwood and 16-year-oldMatteo Manassero . … The 60-year-old Watson, a playoff loser to Stewart Cink last year in the British Open, is coming off consecutive senior victories inHawaii. He teamed with Jack Nicklaus to win the Champions Skins, then took theChampions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship. … InNovember at Jumeirah Estates, Westwood won the Dubai World Championship and Raceto Dubai money title—taking home $2.75 million. … Manassero, from Italy, wonthe British Amateur last year to become the youngest champion in tournamenthistory. … The Avantha Masters is next week in India.
PGA European Tour site: http://www.europeantour.com
PGA TOUR OF AUSTRALASIA/NATIONWIDE TOUR
Site: Fingal, Australia.
Course: Moonah Links (7,469 yards, 6,830 meters, par 72).
Purse: $700,000. Winner’s share: $126,000.
Last year: Australia’s Alistair Presnell birdied the final hole for aone-stroke victory over countryman Peter O’Malley .
Last week: Robert Gates became the 13th player to win in his Nationwide Tourdebut, beating Australia’s Andrew Dodt by a stroke in the season-opening NewZealand Open.
Notes: US PGA Tour winner Peter Lonard is in the field. He won the 2003Australian Open at Moonah Links. … Five-time British Open winner Peter Thomsondesigned the course. … In 2008, Australia’s Ewan Porter won the inauguralevent by seven strokes.
Nationwide Tour site: http://www.pgatour.com
PGA Tour of Australasia site: http://pgatour.com.au
Next event: ACE Group Classic, Feb. 12-14, The Quarry, Naples, Florida.
Last event: Tom Watson won the season-opening Mitsubishi ElectricChampionship in Hawaii on Jan. 24, birdieing the final two holes for aone-stroke victory over senior newcomer Fred Couples . The 60-year-old Watson,the Champions Skins winner with Jack Nicklaus the previous week, has 13victories on the 50-and-older tour.
On the Net: http://www.pgatour.com
ASIAN TOUR: Asian Tour International, Thursday-Sunday, Suwan Golf andCountry Club, Bangkok. On the Net: http://www.asiantour.com