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12.21

The Luxurious Riviera….(and this time, not the Cote d’Azur)

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The historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.  A course which has seen the likes of PGA winners such as Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Tom Kite, Corey Pavin and Fred Couples.  In a remarkable ‘come-from-behind’ win,  this year’s trophy goes to Phil Mickelson.    Down by 1 at the end of the ninth, the race was between Phil Mickelson and Jeff Quinney.  Quinney’s remarkable hole-in-one left him 1-down coming into the final round of the tournament, but Phil Mickelson proved that consistency and hard work can lead to results.  Winning by 2 shots,  Mickelson took his first Riviera trophy.

Having first played at the Riviera when he was 17,  Mickelson takes the trophy at 37, 20 years later.   Michelson now ranks number 2 behind Tiger Woods in World Golf Rankings.  Woods has never won at the Riviera Club in his 11 appearances.  36 of the top 50 World Ranking Players were entered this year, into the tournament which is now the 81st showing of what began in 1926 as the LA Open.

Weather is a dominant factor at the Riviera.   For the past few years, bystanders have labeled it as the ‘historic River Club’ due to the large amount of rain which has come down during the tournament.   The par 71, 7260  yard course sits atop a sandy basin in the Santa Monica Valley.    Though it drains remarkably well, it has been the subject of extreme weather conditions for the past few years, from the first snowfall in 20 years (Malibu got three inches) to a long draught last year.   The course has few protective roughs and fast greens.

The secret?  The secret is in the putting at the Riviera.  It all comes down to shot making and the short game.  Of the last 15 winners at the Riviera, it was their putting that stood out, not their drives.  12 of 15 players had one of two of their best putting weeks of the season in thier win.

The Lesson:   Consistency pays off.   Every shot matters. It’s not over until it’s over.  Fitness pays dividends. And sometimes, it helps to have a little luck.

Take note.

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