77TH PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: RIVIERA : Major Players : Familiarity Could Give Pavin an Advantage at Riviera, but the Field Includes Many Others Who Could Win

Times Staff Writer

Handicapping the field for the 77th PGA Championship at Riviera Country Club:

Corey Pavin (4-1): Riviera is his sort of track, judging by the track record of the U.S. Open champion--two victories on the layout in 12 months.

Greg Norman, Australia (6-1): Tied for third at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open, tied for 15th at the British Open, he may be due.

Nick Faldo, England (8-1): If he can make some putts, it could be his first major title since the 1992 British Open.


Phil Mickelson (10-1): Tied for seventh at the Masters, tied for fourth at the U.S. Open, tied for 40th at the British Open, he looks ready, although he missed the cut at the Nissan Open at Riviera in February.

John Daly (12-1): Coming off his British Open conquest, should be a force to be reckoned with, as long as he can locate enough doughnuts and chocolate chip muffins at the concession stands.

Nick Price, Zimbabwe (14-1): Never count out the defending champion, especially if it’s someone who has something to prove.

Fred Couples (15-1): He hasn’t played much this year (Buick Open was his 11th tournament), but he always plays well at Riviera and now he may have his back problems straightened out.


Brad Faxon (16-1): He knows how to play Riviera. Few hit it straighter or putt any better.

Davis Love III (18-1): After a runner-up finish at the Masters and a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open, Love’s putting went in the tank at the British Open. If he can fish it out, he should contend.

Ernie Els, South Africa (18-1): One of the few strong enough to reach the green from the kikuyu rough.

Peter Jacobsen (20-1): Riviera is his kind of playground.

Vijay Singh, Fiji (22-1): He strikes the ball as well as anyone on tour.

Ben Crenshaw (25-1): If anybody can putt on the Riviera greens, it figures to be the guy who was in charge of rebuilding them.

Colin Montgomerie, Scotland (30-1): His tie for 17th at the Masters is his best in a major this year, so there is only one direction to go.

Tom Watson (35-1): It’s the same story: If he can putt, he has a chance.


Fuzzy Zoeller (40-1): Knows his way around Riviera and should enjoy a week of nice restaurants.

Jay Haas (45-1): Straight-shooter on a straight-shooter’s course.

David Frost, South Africa (45-1): Is a major title in the forecast? Best finish in a major this year was a tie for fifth at Augusta.

Bernhard Langer, Germany (50-1): Always a threat in a major. Many are longer than Langer, but he knows how to win.

Tom Lehman (60-1): Has won twice this year and finished third behind Pavin and Norman at the U.S. Open.

Mark McCumber, Lee Janzen, Mark Calcavecchia, Bill Glasson, Bruce Lietzke, Jim Gallagher Jr. (65-1): Think about it: It wouldn’t be that much of a surprise, now would it?