PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. (KABC) --Among the new faces at the Northern Trust Open this week will be Rory McIlroy, currently the world's third-ranked golfer.
Though he'll be a rookie at the Riviera Country Club, McIlroy has done his homework on the course's unique characteristics.
"It's a real thinker's golf course and it's a real treat to play something like this," McIlroy said.
The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland is well known for his commitment to fitness training and nutrition.
With back issues at age 19, he turned to the gym for help in strengthening his spine and found it led to big improvements in his game.
"I got the best world ranking I had ever been, at 11, and it just continued from there," he said.
McIlroy will face tough competition from among others, the world's top-ranked golfer, Jordan Spieth, who has long considered Riviera one of his favorite courses.