Jordan Spieth has already won seven times on the PGA Tour, including two major titles, but he says a victory at Riviera Country Club this week would have special significance. Not only is the iconic par-71 layout, host venue for the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open, one of his favourite courses, but its allure very nearly tempted him to study at nearby University of Southern California instead of in his native Texas.
As it turned out, Spieth ended up attending the University of Texas before turning professional in 2012 at the age of 19, but Riviera has always been a 'must-visit' destination where he has already competed in three Northern Trust Opens.
"I've probably played this course close to 30 times now, which is a lot compared to other tournaments," world number one Spieth, 22, told reporters at a sun-baked Riviera on 16 February.
"I was out yesterday and it's just in spectacular shape," described Spieth. "It was already in tournament condition. It was already where, you know, 10-under, I would imagine, would win the tournament if it were held four rounds with yesterday's conditions."
Riviera Country Club, with its long-established links to the movie stars of Hollywood, is consistently ranked by the players as one of the top courses on the PGA Tour, where long, medium and short hitters can all thrive.
It hosted the US Open in 1948 and the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995 and will forever be nicknamed "Hogan's Alley" in honour of the two Los Angeles Opens and 1948 US Open won here by golfing great Ben Hogan who, like Spieth, was a Texan. Masters and US Open champion Spieth, who tied for fourth in last year's Northern Trust Open, has been grouped with fellow Americans Justin Thomas and Fred Couples for opening round at Riviera.