Who Are the Favorites at The Northern Trust Open?

By Carl Conrad
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been difficult for PGA Tour golfers to sustain success early in 2013. Well, with the exception of Brandt Snedeker, but he’s not playing at the Northern Trust Open this week.

Dustin Johnson started the season on a high note at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions but has finished no better than tied for 51st since. Rookie Russell Henley won at the Sony Open but has since come back to Earth. Tiger Woods hasn’t played since his victory at the Farmers Insurance Open. Phil Mickelson won at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but barely made the cut last week.

With that being said, who should the favorites be for this week at Riviera? The first is Hunter Mahan, who would be receiving more accolades if it weren’t for the incredible play of Snedeker lately. Mahan has top-16 finishes in each of his last three events. He’s been playing very well and is due for a win.

Matt Kuchar has played well in limited action so far this year. This will only be the fourth event he’s playing, so he should definitely be fresh. In his three previous events, however, his worst finish was tied for 16th at the Humana Challenge. He also has a good history at Riviera, where he has never missed the cut.

Keegan Bradley clearly has a good history at this event, sending last year’s tournament to sudden death with Mickelson and Bill Haas. Bradley had an amazing run at the Ryder Cup and started his 2013 season tied fourth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. After two disappointing performances, Bradley finished T24th in Phoenix. He’s trending in the right direction and won’t be as run down as much of the rest of the field.

When all is said and done, Mahan is going to win in the next few weeks, but I’m betting on him taking the victory this week.

Carl Conrad is the Golf Network Manager for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.

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