Riviera field has 17 of the top 20

Phil Mickelson and 16 other players ranked in the top 20 committed Friday to play in next week's $6.2-million Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.

Mickelson, ranked No. 2, was the runner-up in last year's tournament, losing to Charles Howell III in a three-hole playoff.

The only players ranked in the top 20 who will be absent are No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 4 Ernie Els and No. 13 Henrik Stenson.

Woods, who won his only PGA Tour event this year at Torrey Pines and also won at Dubai last week, is skipping Riviera for the second consecutive year.

Woods is expected to put his five-tournament winning streak on the line in two weeks at the Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson.

In addition to Mickelson, the other top players who will be at Riviera are third-ranked Steve Stricker, No. 5 Adam Scott, No. 6 Jim Furyk, No. 7 Justin Rose, No. 8 Rory Sabbatini, No. 9 K.J. Choi and No. 10 Padraig Harrington, the British Open champion.

Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh, U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera, Masters champion Zach Johnson and Mike Weir, a two-time winner at Riviera, are also playing. John Daly was given a sponsor's exemption into the field.

Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Retief Goosen will make their 2008 PGA Tour debuts at Riviera.

The last four places in the 144-player field will be determined in qualifying Monday at Industry Hills Golf Club's Eisenhower Course in the City of Industry.

-- Thomas Bonk

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