The Northern Trust Open is set up to deliver the best Sunday of the year so far on the PGA Tour. The playoff battle between Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama was incredible a few weeks ago, but everyone had flipped to the Super Bowl by then. This Sunday has a stacked group near the top of the leaderboard and the best, purest non-major course on the PGA Tour schedule -- Riviera.
The loaded group on the first page of the leaderboard includes Bubba Watson, a past champion here and your 54-hole leader, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Matsuyama. It's an awesome group, a mix of bombers and that "young talent" we so often hear about these days on Tour. The headliner is still McIlroy, who is making his first start on the PGA Tour this year. So much of the preseason hype focused on Rory returning to the fight and challenging Jordan Spieth for the top spot he used to hold.
Rory is playing five of the next six events on the stateside Tour, an unusual load for the Ulsterman, but it's clear he wants to make a statement before the Masters. It would not be surprising if he puts a win up on the board before Augusta, and he's right there, just two shots back at Riviera. Any event with Rory in contention is worth watching. The putt he drained at the 18th to save par ignited the crowd in that historic amphitheater-style setting, prompting some of the loudest cheers you'll hear on Tour.
The putter can erase a lot of tee-to-green trouble.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 20, 2016
Rory McIlroy just proved it once again. #QuickHits https://t.co/tkNNyE9FJ2
With Rory and DJ chasing Bubba, it's all positioned perfectly for CBS on Sunday. Here's hoping they show most of the actual golf. For the second straight weekend, the golf corner of Twitter lost its collective damn mind as CBS frustratingly cut away to commercials, promos, interviews, and other non-golf interludes. Last week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am promotes that kind of stuff because there are those famous celebrity ams out there hacking it around one of the Tour's most scenic venues. But this stop at Riviera is pure golf, and so we should see as many shots as possible. CBS took another beating on Saturday though, so here's hoping there will be less ads and fluff and more golf to head off the outcries on Sunday.
CBS will have the conclusion around 6:30 p.m. ET but Golf Channel will have their usual early-round coverage as the leaders get out on the course and make their way through the front nine. They will be live by 1 p.m., which is exactly when McIlroy is set to go off No. 1. Bubba will be out 20 minutes later so expect to see some leaderboard movement during those early scoring holes on Golf Channel. If you're unable to watch on TV, or want to watch Cavs-Thunder or Daytona, both CBS and Golf Channel will have simulcast streams running all afternoon.
Here are all your media options for the final round at Riv:
Sunday's final-round coverage
1 to 2:30 p.m. -- Golf Channel
3 to 6:30 p.m. -- CBS
1 to 2:30 p.m. -- Golf Channel LiveExtra simulcast stream
3 to 6:30 p.m. -- PGATour.com/CBS simulcast stream
2 to 7 p.m. -- PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 92/208 and streamed here)
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