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PGA returns to Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades

Defending champion Steve Stricker of the US, tees off at the 8th hole during the Pro-Am event prior to the start of the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles on February 16, 2011.
Defending champion Steve Stricker of the US, tees off at the 8th hole during the Pro-Am event prior to the start of the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles on February 16, 2011.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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Some of the world’s best golfers return to Los Angeles today for the first round of the Northern Trust Open. KPCC’s resident golfer, Frank Stoltze, runs it down.

The tournament is a favorite stop for professional golfers. They play at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades – a demanding course with narrow fairways, small greens and a lot of history.

Riviera’s known as Hogan’s Alley. In the 1940s, the great Ben Hogan won what was then known as the L.A. Open three times.

Other winners include Sam Snead, Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson. Jack Nicklaus, on the other hand, never won in his 12 appearances there. He’s called that a career regret.

Five of the world’s top players are competing this week, including Mickelson, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Jim Furyk and defending champion Steve Stricker. So is the 20-year-old Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa.

Tiger Woods, who’s never won at Riviera, is skipping this week’s tourney. The final round is Sunday.