Will Rory McIlroy win in his return to the PGA Tour this week at Riviera?

February 17, 2016

Vaughn Taylor staked his claim as being the most surprising PGA Tour winner so far in 2016 -- and he'll probably stay that way. In the presence of Bill Murray, Murray, an alternate at the beginning of the week ranked 477th in the world and without a staff bag, staged his own Cinderella story. This week, the tour heads to Riviera, where an unlikely winner was crowned last year as well. Hogan's Alley became Hahn's Alley, at least for the week, as James Hahn picked up his first PGA Tour title by beating Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey in a playoff. So should we expect more of the unexpected at this year's Northern Trust Open? Here's who I'm taking on my PGA Tour Fantasy Golf team this week:

Rory McIlroy: He's back! McIlroy survived zip-lining in Dubai and weightlifting around the globe to make his return to the PGA Tour this week at Riviera. And if he can get this fired up about an innocent comment from Brandel Chamblee, imagine how much he wants to prove he's still the best player in the world. With Jordan Spieth also in the field, here's where Rory starts his road back to No. 1.


Dustin Johnson: Maybe the only player in the field fitter than Rory, even during an uncharacteristically bad week inside the ropes at Pebble Beach, DJ had a good week outside. First, his cute son went viral for taking Jordan Spieth's putter, and then, well, Paulina happened on Valentine's Day. Back-to-back bad tournaments are rare for this talent, and Johnson will be eager to redeem himself for last year's playoff loss.

Sergio Garcia: There probably shouldn't have even been a playoff here last year, but the Spaniard bogeyed the final two holes to blow a late lead. Garcia finished T-7 in Qatar recently and has a strong track record at Riviera that includes a final-round 64 in 2012.

Bill Haas: We'll round out this fearsome foursome with last year's Presidents Cup hero. Haas is coming off a T-8 at Pebble Beach, and he also won the 2012 Northern Trust Open and then finished T-3 in 2013.

__ Bench:__ Jimmy Walker and Hideki Matsuyama.

And for those of you playing other fantasy golf formats:

Yahoo! lineup: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Bill Haas (starters); Sergio Garcia, Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Patrick Rodgers (bench).

Knockout/One-and-done pick: Sergio Garcia.

Previously used: Tony Finau (, Bill Haas (Farmers), Kevin Kisner (RSM - winner!), Anirban Lahiri (CIMB), Graeme McDowell (Hyundai), Kevin Na (Phoenix), Ryan Palmer (CareerBuilders), Patrick Reed (HSBC), Patrick Rodgers (Shriners), Brandt Snedeker (Pebble), Brendan Steele (OHL), Justin Thomas (Sony).