By Mark Lamport-Stokes
PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) -
Australians have thrived at Riviera in recent years and two players from Down Under, Aaron Baddeley and Adam Scott, are aiming for repeat success at this week's Northern Trust Open.
Seven years ago, Scott beat American Chad Campbell in a Monday playoff after the weather-hit tournament had been reduced to 36 holes, resulting in the Australian's victory being declared unofficial.
"I remember spending so many hours in the locker room that week," Scott told reporters at a rain-sodden Riviera Country Club on Wednesday.
"It was such a frustrating week to only play 36 holes over four days. It doesn't happen too often ... unfortunately we never got a (weather) break but I made the most of those 36 holes at least.
"It's nice to be back and start my year out here at Riviera where I have fond memories," added Scott who was runner-up here in 2006. "I've certainly played well here, and it's probably my favourite venue on the PGA Tour."
The Australian world number eight is eager to launch his 2012 campaign after taking a three-month break which included having his tonsils removed in December.
"It's probably the longest break for me," said Scott, an eight-times champion on the PGA Tour. "I needed it. I've played a lot of golf around the world for the last 12 years and to be able to spend three months at home for a change was really, really nice."
Scott decided to have his tonsils taken out after being hampered by tonsillitis at least four times a year for the last few seasons.
"I got it in Boston during the Deutsche Bank tournament last year," the Australian said. "I played that week somehow, but I felt terrible and I thought that was enough.
"I figured if it happened during an event this year, it would be just another waste of an event and a month so I decided to take them out."
While Scott took time off, Baddeley has been busy on the 2012 PGA Tour, competing in four events that culminated in an impressive fourth-place finish at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday.
Twelve months ago, he tied for sixth at Pebble Beach and then brought that form to Riviera where he sealed his third victory on the U.S. circuit.
"My game sort of feels like it's in the same position as then," Baddeley, 29, smiled. "I'm not really working on anything, just sort of maintaining and trying to hit golf shots.
"I'm excited for where my game is at. It feels real good, so hopefully we can keep the same thing going as last year."
"It's definitely exciting to come back and sort of relive those moments ... the shots that you hit the previous year and the putts you made," he said. "It's going to be a fun week."
Baddeley last year, Scott in 2005 and Robert Allenby in 2001 have all been Australian champions at Riviera.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Ian Ransom)