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PGA Tour Expert Picks: Northern Trust Open

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

More Golf: Leaderboard | Rankings | Schedule | Equipment | FedEx Cup | Masters 2014

The Northern Trust Open wraps up the California swing on the PGA Tour this week. Let's take a quick look with a Q&A.

What is it?

The second-to-last event before the Florida swing at one of the toughest courses on tour. It is one of the older tournaments on tour as it was created in 1926.

Where is it?

Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Cali.

Will Tiger Woods be there?

Unfortunately he will not. Woods is skipping this event as well as the Match Play Championship to get ready for the Honda Classic in two weeks.

When is it?

Feb. 13-16

What is the purse?

$6.7 million

How can I watch it?

Online (here)

Saturday, Feb. 15 -- 3-6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 16 -- 3-6:30 p.m.

TV

Thursday and Friday, Feb. 13-14 -- 5-8 p.m. on Golf Channel
Saturday, Feb. 15 -- 1-2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel and 3-6 p.m. on CBS
Sunday, Feb. 16 -- 1-2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel and 3-6:30 p.m. on CBS

All times Eastern

Who's playing?

Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, and Jason Dufner.

Justin Rose, where has he been?

Out with a shoulder injury. He wanted to get some work in before the Match Play Championship next weekend.

He told GolfWeek he barely made it into the tournament.

"A lot of hard work went into me being here," Rose said. "It was a race against time to really get back playing and get back strong. And if I'm honest, I've only really been hitting balls, drivers, for about a week, 10 days now. So it really has been down to the wire."

Who are the former champions?

2013 -- John Merrick
2012 -- Bill Haas
2011 -- Aaron Baddeley
2010 -- Steve Stricker
2009 -- Phil Mickelson

So who are you picking?

Winner

Charl Schwartzel (33-1) -- Schwartzel's only start here was last year when he finished T3. This will be his debut tournament on the 2013-14 PGA Tour season (which means he's 1,733 FedEx Cup points behind Jimmy Walker) although he did make two starts in Europe.

Classic course, classic golfer, great fit.

Lock for top 10

Jimmy Walker (18-1) -- [Throws hands up in the air and shrugs]. I'm going to keep picking Tiger Walker until he stops torching his professional bretheren in the sport of golf. It's not just the three wins in eight outings, either. He's finished in the top five at this tournament two of the last three years.

Sleeper

John Merrick (100-1) -- I get that he only had one other top 10 last year after winning this tournament but he's not exactly Derek Ernst.

Merrick is seven for seven on cuts made this season including a recent T19 at the Phoenix Open. I'll take the defending champ at 100-1.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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