Pacific Palisades, CA …
Shane Lowry is making his debut, Graeme McDowell teeing up for a first time in four years while there’s doubt if Padraig Harrington will compete in this week’s Genesis Open.
Lowry is brimming with confidence coming off his T14th finish last week at Pebble Beach and an effort that saw the very soon father-to-be pick-up two places and get back to World No. 51.
“I played good last week given the conditions and since arriving here at Riviera, I just love the golf course as the ball sits up so good on these Kikuyu fairways,” he said.
“And after a good showing the week earlier in Phoenix for a first time, I’m looking for a stronger showing this week.”
Lowry got his first look at the course Monday and then played nine holes over the back nine Tuesday afternoon alongside McDowell.
McDowell is teeing-up on the famed ‘Hollywood Heartthrobs’ layout for a first occasion since missing the cut in 2013.
‘G Mac’ is coming off a share of 13th place in last fortnight’s Dubai Desert Classic and very keen to improve his current World No. 87 ranking so as to get back inside the top-64 and qualify for the March 13th starting WGC – Dell Match-Play in Austin, Texas.
“I seem to be on a four-year rotation here at Riviera as I was first here in ’09 and then in ’13 and now in ’17, so I figure I will be back again in ’21,” he said.
“It’s just that I have committed myself to competing in the Middle East the last few years, so I have been skipping the ‘West Coast Swing’, but then part of me is wondering why considering I have probably earned 25% of my career earnings here on the West Coast.
“That may not be an accurate stat but it’s true I have played well here in the past including winning a Major (2010 US Open at Pebble Beach) and finishing second in a Major (2012 US Open at the Olympic Club) , and capturing Tiger’s event twice just up the road at Sherwood (2010 & 2012 World Challenge).
“I’ve also had a couple of top-10s in regular PGA Tour competition at Pebble.
“And coming back here to Riviera just reminds me how much I do like this golf course as this Kikuyu grass is just beautiful to hit off.
“The only downturn is that the weather is not always guaranteed compared to the Middle East where the weather is always superb.”
Harrington continues to be troubled by a trapped nerve in his shoulder and visited a local L A specialist on Monday.
Unlike Tiger Woods, the specialist has given the triple Major Champion winner the go ahead to tee-up this week even though, and for second occasion in the past three events Harrington has withdrawn from the Pro-Am.
“The specialist identified the problem as in the lower back right portion of Padraig’s neck,” said a Wilson Staff representative.
“He’s just stepped down from the pro-am just to give himself an extra day’s rest from competition.”
It was expected Harrington may practice late Wednesday local time but he was not spotted anywhere about the Riviera range or practice putting green.