An expensive double-bogey last year saw the in-form Adam Scott gift Bubba Watson a second win in three years last season in what used to be called the Northern Trust Open in old money.

While Watson’s victory doesn’t necessarily point to the winner coming from other known people haters, it’s fair to say that length off the tee and some solid dance-floor moves will see you at the top table come Sunday.

Last year, only Jason Kokrak’s 70 on day three was outside the 23 rounds in the 60s that the eventual top five finishers (including Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman & KJ Choi) posted.

With Jordan Spieth ending a 13-month ‘drought’ on the PGA Tour with a four-shot victory at Pebble Beach last weekend and Sergio Garcia showing some stones to win in Dubai, the new golf season is officially on. And here’s the 7 players you’re backing as of noon on Wednesday.

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Dustin Johnson

Outside of dual winner Bubba Watson, DJ is the guv’nor in Palisades, with five top-5 finishes in the last six years. Started to get his freak on earlier this season, after backing up a second-place finish in Abu Dhabi to chase home Jordan Spieth in third place at Pebble Beach.

DJ won’t want too many of his rivals getting the jump on him in the winners’ circle pre-Augusta, despite the Major monkey now been firmly off his back after last season’s US Open win.

Brian Harman

Good start to the year for Butch Harman’s nephew who is being backed to secure just his second win on Tour after his John Deere Classic victory in 2014.

Hasn’t set the world alight here with 51-3-MC-72 finishes, but punters have latched onto his 2014 third behind Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson to be in with a squeak here.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

El Nino ended a near three-year win-less streak on the European Tour a fortnight ago when winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, eight months after getting back in the winning groove Stateside, with a play-off win over Brooks Koepka at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

While that recent cheque will put a dent in his impending wedding plans, his record at Riviera has tended to more hit and miss than Sunderland’s Premier League form.

His last four visits have seen him post 4-13-4 finishes but he missed the cut last year. Takes up the number nine position in the golf’s world rankings – the Spaniard just has to bag that all-illusive Major to be considered one of the game’s greats.

Hideki Matsuyama

The poster boy of world golf at the moment – even if a majority couldn’t pick him out of a line-up 12 months ago.

The Japanese starlet has won five of his last 10 starts worldwide and has competent enough form figures at Riviera 23-4-11 in the last three years.

With a repeat win in Arizona already in the bag this season, the FedEx Cup leader could go very close again in what is turning into a break-out season.

Jason-Day

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Jason Day

A share of the 36-hole lead last weekend soon disappeared as the World No 1 slipped down the leaderboard before eventually rallying to finish T5.

It was a fair effort from the World No 1 who had shown a liking for the track, but pitches up at this Southern California track with more fails than Kellyanne Conway.

The highest-ranked player in the universe hasn’t graced the course in four years and his finishing slots then aren’t inspiring, posting MC-MC-62. There are other tracks that he clearly plays better at but capable of going on a run when the mood hits him.

JB Holmes

Attracted some interest last week before just squeezing into the Top 25 has been more at home at Palisades in the past. The tee-box boomer ran up a five Top 10 finishes between 2008 and 2012, before brain surgery cruelly interrupted his upward trajectory in the game.

It’s getting a long time between drinks since his Shell Houston Open win in 2015, but if the course plays long this weekend, John Bradley won’t be found wanting.

Keegan Bradley

The KB fan club is out in force again at a track where Phil Mick’s VBF has at least kept his caddy busy until Sunday recently.

Started the year well after a period in the doldrums and backed up a T25 at the CareerBuilder Challenge with a T4 to John Rahm at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Bradley’s form figures in Southern California read MC-2-16-20-4-MC so a return to those top 5 performances could reward the faithful at a tasty price.