Phil Mickelson's favored in golf tournament, but why?

Feb 18, 2009 1:00 AM
by Mark Mayer |

They can call it the Northern Trust Open, but most will think of this week’s stop at famed Riviera Country Club as the LA Open. And the big draw will be defending champion Phil Mickelson, the early 12-1 favorite in odds posted Tuesday at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Granted that Mickelson is the defender, but his results so far on the PGA Tour are not worthy of his top dog status. Mickelson began his season by missing the cut at the FBR tourney in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of his favorite courses. He then finished tied for 42nd in the Buick Invitational at Tiger Woods’ favorite haunt Torrey Pines and tied for 55th last week in the AT&T National Pro Am at Pebble Beach.

Mickelson’s opening odds actually dropped at the Hilton from 15-1 to 12-1, as did Mike Weir. The past Masters champ and two-time winner at Riviera improved from 20-1 to 15-1. Weir was second last week at the AT&T and tied for third at the Hope in his three starts.

Current British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington is at 15-1 with Weir. Harrington is an even money underdog in the Hilton’s individual matchup against Mickelson. Phil opened a -120 favorite.

Past majors winners Jim Furyk (20-1), Vijay Singh (25-1), Ernie Els (25-1) and Geoff Ogilvy (25-1) are also top contenders. The field also includes the top five players atop the FedEx Cup standings – Kenny Perry, Zach Johnson, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson and Ogilvy.

Perry, No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points chase, is at 25-1 as is Zach Johnson. At 60-1 apiece are Watney, the Buick Invitational champ, and Dustin Johnson, who won last week at Pebble in a rain-shortened 54-hole event.

Others to watch at Riviera are Retief Goosen (30-1), who finished third last week in the AT&T, Luke Donald (25-1), Justin Leonard (50-1) and past LA Open champ Fred Couples (100-1).

The complete list of Hilton odds and individual matchups is below:

NORTHERN TRUST OPEN


RIVIERA COUNTRY CLUB - PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA
FEBRUARY 19-22, 2009

ODDS TO WIN:
PHIL MICKELSON         12/1
PADRAIG HARRINGTON     15/1
MIKE WEIR              15/1
JIM FURYK              20/1
VIJAY SINGH            25/1
ERNIE ELS              25/1
GEOFF OGILVY           25/1
KENNY PERRY            25/1
LUKE DONALD            25/1
ZACH JOHNSON           25/1
ROBERT ALLENBY         30/1
RETIEF GOOSEN          30/1
TIM CLARK              30/1
RORY SABBATINI         40/1
K.J. CHOI              40/1
JUSTIN ROSE            40/1
AARON BADDELEY         40/1
CHAD CAMPBELL          40/1
STEVE STRICKER         50/1
HUNTER MAHAN           50/1
JUSTIN LEONARD         50/1
CHARLES HOWELL III     50/1
LUCAS GLOVER           50/1
CHARLEY HOFFMAN        50/1
D.J. TRAHAN            50/1
TREVOR IMMELMAN        60/1
MATHEW GOGGIN          60/1
NICK WATNEY            60/1
DUSTIN JOHNSON         60/1
BRIAN GAY              60/1
STEPHEN AMES           60/1
PAT PEREZ              60/1
MATT KUCHAR            60/1
STUART APPLEBY         80/1
ANDRES ROMERO          80/1
BUBBA WATSON           80/1
J.B. HOLMES            80/1
SCOTT VERPLANK         80/1
RYUJI IMADA            80/1
CARL PETTERSSON        80/1
BEN CURTIS             80/1
GRAEME McDOWELL       100/1
JEEV MILKHA SINGH     100/1
ANGEL CABRERA         100/1
BRANDT SNEDEKER       100/1
RYAN MOORE            100/1
FRED COUPLES          100/1
CHRIS DiMARCO         125/1
RYO ISHIKAWA          125/1
FIELD (ALL OTHERS)      7/2

TOURNAMENT MATCHUPS:
PADRAIG HARRINGTON     EVEN
PHIL MICKELSON         -120

ERNIE ELS              -110
VIJAY SINGH            -110

GEOFF OGILVY           -115
KENNY PERRY            -105

ROBERT ALLENBY         -105
LUKE DONALD            -115

TIM CLARK              -115
RORY SABBATINI         -105

AARON BADDELEY         -110
CHAD CAMPBELL          -110

JUSTIN LEONARD         -110
HUNTER MAHAN           -110

STUART APPLEBY         EVEN
CHARLES HOWELL III     -120

BRIAN GAY              -110
CHARLEY HOFFMAN        -110

D.J. TRAHAN            -115
NICK WATNEY            -105