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The Tour Report
  • Couples gets Northern Trust Open nod

  • Two-time Northern Trust Open champion Fred Couples has received a sponsor exemption into this year's event. (Getty) Two-time Northern Trust Open champion Fred Couples has received a sponsor exemption into this year's event. (Getty)

Two-time Northern Trust Open champion Fred Couples is among five players who have earned sponsor exemptions into the Northern Trust Open, the tournament announced Friday. The Northern Trust Open will be held Feb. 12-16 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Southern California native Max Homa, the 2013 NCAA individual champion, was given an exemption, as were three European players: France's Victor Dubuisson, The Netherlands' Joost Luiten and Italy's Francesco Molinari.

Couples, 54, has made 31 appearances at Riviera, missing the cut just three times. Victories in 1990 and 1992 are among his 14 top-10 finishes. He was one shot off the 54-hole lead in 2011 before shooting 73 to finish seventh.

Homa is from Valencia, Calif., about 35 miles north of Riviera. He finished ninth in the 2012 NCAA Championship at Riviera before winning last year's national championship. He has made three PGA TOUR starts as a professional, highlighted by a T-9 at the Frys.com Open in October. Homa will have Web.com Tour status in 2014 after finishing sixth at Q-School. Homa also qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion as an amateur.

"I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to compete against the PGA TOUR’s best, especially in my home state at a tournament I grew up watching,” said Homa. “I want to thank both Northern Trust and the PGA TOUR for such an amazing opportunity.”

Dubuisson is No. 31 in the Official World Golf Ranking after winning the 2013 Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour. Luiten, who won two European Tour titles in 2013, is No. 41 in the OWGR, while Molinari, a member of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup teams in 2010 and 2012, is ranked 43rd. All three players will be making their Northern Trust Open debuts.

As previously announced, Harold Varner III earned the Northern Trust Open Exemption, which provides an opportunity for a top golfer who represents the advancement of diversity in golf and wouldn’t otherwise be eligible to compete in the event.  The three remaining Northern Trust Open sponsor exemptions will be announce in the near future. Varner has Web.com Tour status after finishing 32nd at Q-School. He also qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open.