John Merrick – 2013 Northern Trust Open Champion.
Went to UCLA, and joked about majoring in golf.
Merrick played Riviera CC 30-40 times a year while in college, and always felt comfortable on the course. Dreamed of winning a PGA Tour tournament, but said that you need to hit the next shot.
Merrick said his game feels good, but he needs to make more putts. He has made seven of seven cuts this season.
Harold Varner III – Recipient of the 2014 Northern Trust Open exemption, which is given to “a top golfer who represents the advancement of diversity in golf.”
Varner grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina. He attended East Carolina University where he earned Conference USA Player of the Year honors in 2012. In 2013, Varner qualified for the U.S. Open.
Varner was confident in his pre-tournament press conference. He knows he will need to continue working on his short game to compete on the PGA Tour, saying “you can’t putt [well] enough out here.”
Lee Janzen, two-time U.S. Open winner, has given Varner a good deal of advice about being a professional golfer. Varner recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and practices at TPC Sawgrass.
He has full status on the Web.com Tour for 2014.