Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogGenesis Open Preview and Picks

Genesis Open

February 15th – 18th, 2018

Riviera C.C.

Pacific Palisades, CA

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,322

Purse: $7.2 million

with $1,296,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Dustin Johnson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 50 of the top 100 and 27 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with four players #1 Dustin Johnson, #3 Jordan Spieth, #4 Justin Thomas and #10 Rory McIlroy from the top-ten. The other top 50 players are #13 Tommy Fleetwood, #14 Marc Leishman, #16 Alex Noren, #17 Paul Casey, #18 Matt Kuchar, #19 Pat Perez, #20 Rafael Cabrera-Bello, #22 Francesco Molinari, #23 Charley Hoffman, #25 Xander Schauffele, #28 Branden Grace, #32 Daniel Berger, #33 Li Haotong, #34 Kevin Chappell, #35 Phil Mickelson, #36 Brendan Steele, #38 Thomas Pieters, #39 Patrick Cantlay, #41 Tony Finau, #43 Chez Reavie, #44 Charl Schwartzel, #45 Jhonattan Vegas and #48 Siwoo Kim.

Last year there were 26 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 17 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #3 Dustin Johnson, #5 Brendan Steele, #6 Chez Reavie, #7 Pat Perez, #9 Austin Cook, #10 Justin Thomas, #11 Patrick Cantlay, #15 Ted Potter, Jr., #16 Tony Finau, #17 Marc Leishman, #18 Phil Mickelson, #19 Andrew Landry, #21 J.J. Spaun, #22 James Hahn, #23 Ryan Armour, #24 Keegan Bradley and #25 Cameron Smith.

The field includes 10 past champions: Dustin Johnson (2017), Bubba Watson (2016 &’14), James Hahn (2015), John Merrick (2013), Bill Haas (2012), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Phil Mickelson (2009 & ’08), Charles Howell III (2007), Adam Scott (2005) and Ernie Els (1999).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Genesis field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Genesis in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Genesis.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Genesis Open

Player AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Farmers Insurance Dubai CareerBuilder Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C Hong Kong Australian PGA RSM Classic DP World, Dubai
Chez Reavie
(230.67 pts)
T2
(100)
2
(100)
DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(218 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(168.33 pts)
T2
(100)
T5
(70)
T45
(5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(162.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(14.5)
Rory McIlroy
(150 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brendan Steele
(145 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
T29
(21)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP 29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
James Hahn
(144 pts)
T26
(24)
T11
(39)
T45
(5)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Li Haotong
(143.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(18.5)
Marc Leishman
(134.33 pts)
DNP T31
(19)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(2)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Alex Noren
(131.5 pts)
DNP T21
(29)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(2.5)
Ted Potter, Jr.
(131 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP
Brian Gay
(130.33 pts)
T8
(50)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 3
(30)
DNP
Kevin Chappell
(128.33 pts)
T8
(50)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP 21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(119.33 pts)
DNP T48
(2)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
T17
(22)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Austin Cook
(117 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP
Kevin Streelman
(116 pts)
6
(60)
T40
(10)
T29
(21)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP
Brandon Harkins
(113.33 pts)
T15
(35)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(38)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP
Ollie Schniederjans
(113.33 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(105.17 pts)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP T21
(14.5)
Adam Hadwin
(94 pts)
DNP T43
(7)
T35
(15)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP 32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Pat Perez
(89.33 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matt Kuchar
(89 pts)
T62
(0)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(7)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(89 pts)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(88.67 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Tom Hoge
(86.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(38)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Genesis Open

Player AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Farmers Insurance Dubai CareerBuilder Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C Hong Kong Australian PGA RSM Classic DP World, Dubai
Whee Kim
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Tyler Duncan
(-35 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Matt Every
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP 75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Fabian Gomez
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP
Jim Herman
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP
Robert Streb
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ernie Els
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Morgan Hoffmann
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Billy Hurley III
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So the seven-week west coast swing comes to an end, and with that, the tour moves east to spend time on courses in Florida, Mexico, and Texas as players get ready for the Masters.  In the next six weeks, there will be two World Golf Championship events and all of the courses will be in great shape, some of the players will love to say goodbye to Poa Annua greens and new challenges.  So as we bid farewell to the west coast, we will see if players that have done well like Chez Reavie, Brendan Steele, James Hahn, Patton Kizzire and Jon Rahm can keep it up.

One thing that will be certain, a move to Florida and more Bermuda style golf will bring on a different realm of players.

But before we say “adios” to California, we have one more stop and some unusual items this week.

First off is the return of Tiger Woods, he showed up a lot at the Hero and Farmers, and we will see if he can give us more this week.  He comes to Riviera with the memory of how things first got started as a 16-year-old when he played on the PGA Tour for the first time in 1992.  Since then he has played in the Genesis 11 times, the last being back in 2006 and 10 starts at Riviera he still hasn’t won.  The combination of Riviera and the Genesis is the most starts that Woods has made in any one stop without a victory, he came close losing his only professional playoff to Billy Mayfair in 1998 (played at Valencia for that one year).  He also was runner-up the following year at Riviera and had a total of four top-tens in this event.  So it would be an excellent place for him to notch a win, not only for the historical perspective but the fact that Tiger’s foundation runs the tournament.  So the question will be Tiger looking for a win this week or a perfect finish?  Of course, Tiger is always looking for a win, and his game looked sloppy at Torrey Pines, but his around the green and putting was good enough that if those parts are intact this week and he hits the ball a bit better, yes he can contend.

Rory McIlroy

After good starts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Rory missed the cut at Pebble last week.  He didn’t hit it bad; he just was terrible with the putter as we can see that he struggled with the Poa Annua greens.  Think he will continue to fight, but each start is a building block on getting himself back into the winner’s circle. Rory played last week at Pebble for the first time, he had played before at Riviera in 2016 and played great his first three rounds shooting 67-69-67 before stumbling to a 75 in the final round to drop back into a T-20th.  So the good news, he can play well at Riviera, but the bad news even though his stats that week from tee to green were good, he was T-48th in scrambling, 41st in strokes gained-putting, T-38th in putting inside ten feet and 65th in putting average, again having a tough time coping with Poa Annua greens.  So I would stand pat on Rory and wait for another week when he starts playing in Florida and Texas before the Masters.

Jordan Spieth

Talking about struggling with the putter, that has been the problem with Spieth’s game.  In four starts since the start of January, Jordan has only one top-ten finish (T-9th, Sentry TofC) and even though he is 2nd in greens in regulation for the year he is 193rd in strokes gained-putting.  It doesn’t help that he is T-89th in putting from four to eight feet and 178th in putting inside ten feet.  In 2015 he was 9th in strokes gained-putting and 2nd in 2016, and you have to think that he needs to get better with the putter.  Now Spieth finished T-4th at Riviera in 2015 but since missed the cut in 2016 and was T-22nd last year.  Do I worry about Spieth for the year, no.  But I am not very high on him this week as his struggles on the greens won’t get better.  I know that he is probably very close to getting it right with the putter, but again if your lacking confidence with the putter on Poa Annua it’s close to impossible to break out of it.  So it’s probably best to wait for him in his next start at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Phil Mickelson

I haven’t been kind to Phil in the last couple of weeks, but hey it may be time to start thinking about Phil this week.  His game has steadily gotten better since missing the cut at the Builders and with a T-5th finish in Phoenix and runner-up at Pebble; you have to think that maybe this can be his week.  The problem with Phil this week is that he has a Jeckel and Hyde record at Riviera.  Yes, he has won twice and been runner-up twice in 16 starts, but he also has stumbled in his last five starts he was T-45th in 2010, T-35th in 2011, T-2nd in 2012, T-21st in 2013 and T-34th last year.  Still, when Phil gets on a roll, he is usually good, and he could win this week.  His weakness these days in driving, at Pebble he ranked T-42nd in driving and needs to improve on that if he is going to win this week.  But Phil is on a roll, and since this ends a run of playing five straight weeks, I think he will make the best of it.  Last week was an awaken week; his 100th PGA Tour start since his last win at the 2013 British Open, the longest drought of his career.  Lastly, in talking about Mickelson, with a 2nd place finish in the 1992 Casio World Open in Japan, Mickelson got into the top-50 for the first time.  Little did we know that in that last week in November, Mickelson would continue to stay in the top-50 of the world rankings.  So if he can continue the run for the next 10 months, it will be 25 years in the top-50.  He did come close to leaving the top-50, after finishing T-45th in last months Farmers Insurance Open he dropped to his lowest level, 49th, but thanks to his T-5th Phoenix finish and runner-up at the AT&T he is back up to 35th and now has a realistic chance to finish the year in the top-50.  So yes Phil is worth a pick this week.

One player not worth a pick

Adam Scott’s game has severely regressed.  Since finishing T-6th at the Players Championship in which he climbed back up into the top-ten of the world rankings at 9th, he has climbed not only out of the top-ten but dropped out of the top-25 with his T-50th finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions.  With his miss cut at the AT&T, Scott is now 51st in the rankings.  It’s the first time he is out of the top-50 since his win at the 2009 Australian Open.  So what does all of this mean?  He is exempt for the Masters due to being a past champion.  He will also get a spot into the British Open because he played on the President Cup team.  He also gets into the Players because of his win in 2004, but as of right now he has to get back into the top-50 before the end of the Honda Classic to get into the WGC-Mexico Championship.  He also has to maintain being in the top-64 of the world rankings for another month, or he could miss out on the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship.  He will probably retain a top-100 ranking by July and play in the PGA Championship, but it looks like right now if Scott continues dropping he may not make it into the top-60 and play in the U.S. Open.

Many will say it’s all due to his putting, but his excellent tee to green game has fallen back since his last win at the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship.  At 36 and a family that includes two small kids, it’s now harder for him to practice hard.  With homes in not only Australia but America, the Bahamas and Switzerland he is spread thin and frankly barley plays in more than 20 events a year.  It’s safe to say that Scott had peaked and will probably never be the same player he was when he won the Honda and Cadillac in back to back weeks in 2016.  It’s probably doubtful that he could win four events in a year as he did in 2013 when one of them was the Masters.  Scott has more money than anyone can dream of having and we all know that the more money you have, the happier you are spending time with your family, the harder it is to achieve the time to practice and maintain that level of play that is needed to play well in professional golf.  Do I think that Scott will contend again?   Yes, he will.  But it will become more limited and harder for him to achieve in the weeks and months ahead.

Hideki Matsuyama

According to Tim Rosaforte of Golf Channel Matsuyama went home to Japan and had his wrist looked at.  According to Rosaforte, no structural damage was found in an MRI and Matsuyama was looking to return this week. But that never materialized which is probably good for Hideki, who is scheduled to play next in two weeks at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Is Bubba finished?

Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters champion and winner of the Genesis Open in 2014 and 2016, recently fell out of the top-100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in eight years (January 2010). Watson is currently ranked 115th. He was ranked as high as No. 2 following the 2015 Valspar Championship.  Now Watson is making cuts, but he hasn’t been in contention since Memorial when he shot a final round 73 to drop into a T-6th.  We have speculated that his change of golf balls last year was the problem, but he just doesn’t seem to be the same player he was in 2014, ’15 and ’16.

New blood making their 2018 PGA Tour debut

Last year Thomas Pieters played at Riviera for the first time and was runner-up.  It started a streak in which he finished T-5th at the WGC-Mexico, T-4th at the Masters and 4th at the WGC-Bridgestone.  With the excellent play, Pieters earned a PGA Tour card and is teeing it up this week, looking to improve on his play last week.  At Abu Dhabi he was T-5th and at Dubai was T-32nd, so look for him to play well this week.

Three other European’s making their first starts this week at Riviera are Tommy Fleetwood, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, and Haotong Li.

Last month, Haotong Li won the Dubai Desert Classic for his second European Tour victory. He birdied his final two holes at Emirates Golf Club to beat Rory McIlroy by one stroke. With the win, Li became the first player from China to move inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

As a 21-year-old, Li shot a final-round 63 at Royal Birkdale last year to finish T-3rd at the British Open Championship, which also earned him a spot in the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

Li has made eight cuts in 12 appearances on the PGA Tour the best being the British Open, and he was 7th at the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions.

Last week Rafael Cabrera-Bello finished T-26th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am.  It was his fourth start on the PGA Tour in 2018; he was T-10th at the CIMB Classic, T-11th at the CJ Cup and T-5th at the WGC-HSBC Champions.  Rafael got his PGA Tour card last year thanks to finishing T-4th at the Players and FedEx St. Jude Classic.  He has an excellent record in Europe winning five times, the previous coming last summer at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.  Will he find the same success in America, it’s up for debate, but he is going to play a lot of golf on the PGA Tour from now through the Masters.

Last we look at Tommy Fleetwood who won the European Tour’s Race to Dubai last year.  2017 was a banner year for him with two wins, two runner-ups and a third and now that he has conquered Europe is off to try and do the same on the PGA Tour.  Fleetwood earned a PGA Tour card with a runner-up finish at the 2017 WGC-Mexico Championship for his best finish in 23 career starts on the PGA Tour.  He also finished 4th at the U.S. Open.

Fleetwood had his fourth career European Tour victory with a two-stroke win over Ross Fisher at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, in the next week he was T-6th at the Dubai Desert Classic so don’t forget about Fleetwood this week.

Is Dustin Johnson OK?

Many wondered about Dustin after shooting 70-72 over the weekend at Pebble Beach. Going into the final round, Johnson was a combined 32-under par as he broke par in his last nine rounds at Pebble.  It was his 17th time with either the lead or co-leader after 54 holes, and even though he has won nine times, he has lost eight times.  But the problem with Johnson is one of great play; you think he should win every time he tees it up.  He looked so good at the Sentry Tournament of Champions; you wonder why he doesn’t win anymore.  After his Kapalua win, he was T-9th at Abu Dhabi and T-2nd at Pebble, and many wondered how Johnson could have possibly lost.

Johnson’s biggest problem has always stemmed from poor final rounds.  In China last November Johnson had a big lead going into the final round but shot 77.  Yes, he shot 65 in the final round at Kapalua but shot 72 in his final round at Pebble Beach.  Johnson’s problem was his last 27 holes; he was 2 over par while Ted Potter, Jr. was 5 under par.  Now the good thing about Johnson, nothing seems to bother him and he will probably bounce back this week and play well, retaining his title.  Instead of worrying about him not doing the deed now and then, there is one thing that we know that is a fact.  This week is the one year anniversary of him becoming the #1 golfer in the World Rankings.  These rankings have been around for 30 years, and in the history, 20 different players have been number one.  But this week he will only be only the fifth player to be #1 in the world for a continuous year, so I guess we can’t complain about Johnson.

Last but not least Ted Potter, Jr.

What can we say about Potter?  In 84 PGA Tour starts he has won twice, but he has also missed 38 cuts and only has four top-tens.  When Potter won for the first time in 2012, he went five straight starts missing the cut before shooting 69-67-64-64.  It was not only his first win, but it also was his first top-ten of his PGA Tour career.  Honestly, it’s a big puzzle on how Potter can play poorly one week and then win.  Going into Pebble, he missed the cut at the Sony Open and CareerBuilder.  He was T-73rd at the Farmers, shooting a final round 82 so again how he got things together is a mystery.  After he three-putted the first hole on Sunday, Potter played flawless golf.  He hit 12 of 18 greens, but of the six he missed he was able to get it up and down.  After making birdies at 2, 4, 6 and 7 Potter made par on his final 11 holes.

It also helped that nobody made a run at him.  The course didn’t play super hard, but the flow of the day was to make a lot of pars which Potter did.  AP writer Doug Ferguson pointed out that Potter has experience in winning, one year he won three times and earned over $180,000 on the Hooters Tour.  So supposedly he has that pedigree and now the credentials to show the world that yes he can win.  But just like guys like Steven Bowditch, Matt Every and even major winners like Todd Hamilton and Y.E. Yang winning twice doesn’t mean that they will continue to play great golf in their career.  The point is that in the next couple of weeks not many of you will make Potter, Jr. one of your six picks in a DraftKings game.  So before I proclaim Potter the next great item in golf, I would like to see some consistent play out of him, something that we haven’t seen yet.

One thing to think about whenever the AT&T Pebble Beach roles around in the years to come.

One observation that I have concluded about, those that have won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am.  What do Matt Gogel, Arron Oberholser, Steve Lowery, D.A. Points and Vaughn Taylor have in common with Ted Potter, Jr.?  They have all won the AT&T, an event that has the reputation to sometimes have lousy weather.  But in the years played since 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2016 and now 2018, the AT&T have had great conditions with mostly sunny skies and no harsh conditions.  It’s been won by surprise winner with not only very little pedigrees of playing well and all of them except for D.A. Points never won again on the PGA Tour.  So when the AT&T Pebble Beach roles around and it look like the weather is going to be great, may want to look for that longshot, surprise winner.

Things you need to know about Riviera and the Genesis Open

  • Riviera C.C. has held a U.S. Open, two PGA Championships, a Senior Open and the U.S. Amateur.  No other stop on the PGA Tour can claim the distinction of holding those three majors and the highest Amateur championship in golf. Of the 54 courses that will hold a PGA Tour event this year, Riviera, Pebble Beach and Bellerive are the only ones that have hosted both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
  • In the history of this tournament, 49 of the 90 winners have also won a major championship.  Going a step further, 33 of the 54 winners at Riviera have also won a major championship  Of those 33, 20 have also won the Masters, so there is a link between winners at both Augusta National and Riviera.
  • Taking a step further, more Hall of Fame members have won at the Genesis than any other tournament since 1925.  The Genesis has been won 39 times by 25 different Hall of Fame members, the closet to it is the BMW Open which has been won 37 times by 22 different Hall of Fame players.  So you can see this event has an excellent track record for producing first-class champions.
  • One last thing to look for is the close finish.  There have been 19 playoffs at the tournament, with eight coming since 1998, including wins by Billy Mayfair (1998), Robert Allenby (2001), Mike Weir (2003), Adam Scott (2005) and Charles Howell III (2007), Bill Haas (2012), John Merrick (2013) and James Hahn (2015). Dating back to 1989, the tournament has ended either in a playoff (9 times) or with a one-stroke win (9 times).  So out of 29 times – 18 have been won by a playoff or a shot. Last year was a rarity as Dustin Johnson lapped the field winning by five shots.

Course information:

  • Riviera Country Club
  • Pacific Palisades, Calif.
  • 7,322 yards     Par 35-36–71
  • The course has a 74.3 rating and slope rating of 139 from the championship tees. Riviera is a private club.
  • Last year Riviera was the 23rd hardest course on the PGA Tour a 71.01 average. In 2016 Riviera was the 21st hardest course on the PGA Tour. In 2015 Riviera was the 5th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.59 average while in 2014 Riviera was the 24th hardest course playing to a 71.209 average while in 2013 Riviera was the 13th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.85 average.
  • Riviera was designed by George Thomas, with some help from William Bell, and was opened in 1927.  In 2001, Riviera brought in architect Tom Fazio with the goal of improving the course for a bid to host the 2008 U.S. Open, which ended up going to Torrey Pines.  What Fazio did was lengthen several holes, enlarge some of the greens and restore five of the holes to their original design before a flood forced them to be changed.  Riviera also saw a significant renovation in 1993 when Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore renovated all of the greens. Four years ago the course had all of its bunkers restored.
  • In the summer of 2009, Riviera Country Club completed phase II of the restoration of hole #8 directed by Fazio Golf Course Designers. The modifications intended to restore the 1926 original design intent of George Thomas’ “Double Fairway built around a dry wash.” In 1939, the original design intent was lost to a strong flood which scoured the “dry wash” along with the right fairway. Phase I of the restoration, in 2000, involved restoring the right fairway. Phase II included restoring the dry wash barranca, thus cutting the fairway into two parts.
  • The average green size at the Riviera is 5,000 square feet, which is a little under the average on the PGA Tour.  The course has 57 bunkers and no water hazards, but there is a dry barranca that comes into play for the pros on six holes.

History of Riviera:

Riviera Country Club is one of golf’s most intriguing clubs.

In 1922, Frank Garbutt, who was the vice president of the downtown Los Angeles Athletic Club, was looking for a golf course site for the club. He found a piece of property in the Santa Monica Canyon,  about two miles from the Pacific Ocean.  As he stood on an 80-foot bluff overlooking the canyon, where  Riviera’s clubhouse stands today,  Garbutt knew he had found the perfect site.

Garbutt hired George Thomas to design the course, but when the noted architect made his first site inspection, he didn’t share Garbutt’s opinion.  Thomas wasn’t impressed with the property, and he told Garbutt that any course built on the site would cost the club a bundle. Garbutt told Thomas to create the best course in the world, at any cost.

Thomas brought in 200 men to clear the canyon. He installed a state-of-the-art irrigation system and hauled 19,000 pounds of grass seed and topsoil from the San Fernando Valley.  When the course was finished in 1927, it had cost $ 675,000, giving it the distinction of being the most expensive course ever built.  That didn’t include the architect’s fee, because Thomas, a wealthy man who dabbled in course architecture, never charged a dime for his work.

Bottom line, Thomas built what many considered the best course in the West.  In 1939, when the National Golf Foundation named the ten best courses in America, Riviera placed third behind Pine Valley and Pinehurst No. 2.  Seventy years later, it still ranks among the best in various course ratings and opinion polls.

Riviera gained fame as the club of choice for movie stars.  Among them were Douglas Fairbanks (who put up $1,000 of the $10,000 prize fund for the first Los Angeles Open), W.C. Fields, Basil Rathbone, Dean  Martin, Burt Lancaster and Sammy Davis Jr.  More recently the membership has included Glen Campbell, Peter Falk, James Garner and Robert Wagner.  Scenes from several movies were shot at Riviera, including “Pat and Mike,” “The Caddy,” and “Follow the Sun.”

Today, those familiar with Riviera as a PGA Tour stop also recognize it as the course with the Kikuyu grass and a bunker in the middle of the green.

Kikuyu is a robust and sturdy strain of grass that was imported from Africa more than70 years ago for use on polo grounds.  When Riviera opened, polo was popular in L.A., and there were several polo grounds in the neighborhood.  There are many stories about how Kikuyu appeared at Riviera, but the tale most often told is that one night after a local polo field was seeded, a windstorm carried the Kikuyu seed onto Riviera.  Since Kikuyu grass is essentially a weed, it proliferated. The course superintendent ignored its encroachment, and before he knew it, Riviera had been taken over by Kikuyu.

Instead of resisting its growth, Riviera learned how to perfect Kikuyu. Today it blankets the course, making pitch and run shots nearly impossible because the thick grass grabs the club head.  Many believe Kikuyu is the finest form of grass to play off fairways because the ball sits up, regardless of the lie.

Riviera’s other unique feature is the sixth hole, a 170-yard par 3 that features a bunker in the middle of the green, making the putting surface into a doughnut shape. If a player’s tee shot lands on the wrong side of the bunker, he must chip over the sand or take several putts around it. For the average player, option No. 1 means taking a divot out of the green.

Riviera has held several major championships.  The 1948 U.S. Open was the first and won by Ben Hogan, who shot 8-under-par  276, an Open scoring record that stood until Jack Nicklaus posted a 5-under-par 275 in 1967 at Baltusrol.

In 1983, the PGA Championship was held at Riviera and won by Hal Sutton. The PGA returned in 1995, with Steve Elkington beating Colin Montgomerie in a playoff. Both shot 267, which remains the record for any major championship.

Riviera hosted a Senior Tour major in 1998 when Hale Irwin rebounded from a first-round 77 and claimed the title.

Unfortunately, the odds on Riviera holding another major are slim, even though it did hold the U.S. Amateur championship in 2017. The course is regarded as one of the gems on the PGA Tour, but traffic is a mess, and the congested neighborhood offers limited options for parking, hospitality and merchandise tents.  Still, for the pros it’s a special treat for most of them once a year.

Major Championships held at Riviera:

  • 1948 U.S. Open won by Ben Hogan
  • 1983 PGA Championship won by Hal Sutton
  • 1995 PGA Championship won by Steve Elkington
  • 1998 U.S. Senior Open won by Hale Irwin
  • 2017 U.S. Amateur won by Doc Redman

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing on the Riviera:

This is based on the most important stats for Riviera, based on data from last years Genesis Open, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018.
The scoring average of the field at Riviera in 2017 was 71.01, so with par being 71, that means the average score was just about par, making Riviera the 23rd hardest course to score on in 2017. Last year and in 2016 the weather was perfect for scoring with a combination of wet weather. In 2015 the course played much harder and had an average of 72.59 (which ranked 5th). So it’s important to see how the weather is because it does play a factor, in 2015 it played tough with dry, fast course conditions with the wind. Last year and in 2016 the course was very soft due to rain, and with no wind, the course was straightforward. This week there won’t be any rain, but the course has seen a lot of rain in the last month so it will be soft. Another wild card is the location of Riviera. Being just over a mile from the Pacific Ocean and on top of a hill that gets those afternoon ocean breezes, it makes the course play tougher. But in looking at the long-range forecast for the week, look for excellent scoring conditions.

In looking at the stats for Riviera last year Greens hit and driving accuracy are very important and a key to playing the course well. The course ranked 5th in greens hit, even though it ranked 17th in 2016 but was 1st in 2015. In driving accuracy, the course was the 10th hardest last year on tour and the 9th hardest in 2016 and 6th hardest in 2015. One thing that is important for Riviera is getting the ball close from the fairway; Riviera was T-6th in Proximity to the hole and 5th in both 2016 and 2015. So we see that players that are great from tee to green have a distinctive advantage.

Putting also showed that you have to putt well. Reason for this, Riviera has probably the hardest greens for players to putt on. With Poa Annua and close to the ocean, the greens are probably some of the bumpiest on tour. That is the reason that last year the course ranked 7th in putting inside ten feet, while it was 2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2015 last year it ranked 2nd in putting from 4 to 8 feet and 1st from inside 10 feet. So it makes sense that putting is probably the most important stat for the players. Just look at the last six winners, not the best of putters but players that are great from tee-to-green.

So how did the winner Dustin Johnson do last year? He was five shots better than Scott Brown and Thomas Pieters. So how did Johnson win, he ranked T-45th in fairways hit, but first in greens hit and driving distance. Around the greens Johnson was excellent in scrambling, ranked T-5th and was 6th in putts under ten feet. Johnson was 3rd in strokes gained-putting for the week, one of the keys to the week was having just one three-putt.

A couple of other things to look for Johnson was 10th in proximity to the hole and 1st in birdie average and total birdies. On par 5s he played the three in 7 under, two back of the best for the week.

SO HERE ARE OUR FOUR CHOICES FOR THE MOST CRITICAL STATS FROM PLAYERS TO DO WELL AT RIVIERA:

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: A way to gauge how players save shots from tee to green. Important because Riviera is a “shot-makers” course and those that are good from tee to green tend to do well at Riviera. Now the rough isn’t harsh at Riviera, but hitting the 5,000 square foot greens is tough.

*Proximity to hole: Important to see who gets the ball close from off the fairway. In a way, this is even more important than greens hit, because the greens at Riviera are big enough that hitting them don’t make as much sense as getting the ball close.

*Putting inside 10 feet: In 2012 & ’15 Riviera had the laborious greens to putt.  In 2013, ’14 and ’16 they were the 2nd hardest on tour while last year they were the 7th toughest. Players are sometimes puzzled by the greens which in the afternoon get bumpy and very hard to read. So making those putts are crucial in winning.

*Par 5 scoring average: Two of Riviera’s three par 5s are easy to get home in two and score well on. The longest of them is 17th and most of the time is played downwind, thus making that hole a birdie hole. The winner will do good on the par 5s.

125 of the 144 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the other 115 of 144 players with stats at Riviera

DraftKings tips

Of the 144 in the field, 112 have played at least once in the Genesis.  Here are the players with the most under par totals at the Farmers since 2010:

  • Dustin Johnson is 58 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • K.J. Choi is 39 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Jimmy Walker is 31 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • J.B. Holmes is 30 under in 30 rounds playing 8 years
  • Adam Scott is 26 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jim Furyk is 25 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Keegan Bradley is 21 under in 24 rounds playing 7 years
  • Bill Haas is 21 under in 26 rounds playing 8 years
  • Sangmoon Bae is 20 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Paul Casey is 17 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 17 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Cameron Tringale is 17 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Sung Kang is 16 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Bubba Watson is 16 under in 22 rounds playing 8 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 16 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Charl Schwartzel is 14 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Dustin Johnson is 58 under playing 8 years (-2.07)
  • Sung Kang is 16 under playing 2 years (-2.00)
  • Sangmoon Bae is 20 under playing 3 years (-1.67)
  • Adam Scott is 26 under playing 5 years (-1.44)
  • K.J. Choi is 39 under playing 8 years (-1.22)
  • Paul Casey is 17 under playing 4 years (-1.06)
  • Jimmy Walker is 31 under playing 8 years (-1.03)
  • J.B. Holmes is 30 under playing 8 years (-1.00)
  • Adam Hadwin is 11 under playing 3 years (-0.92)
  • Jim Furyk is 25 under playing 7 years (-0.89)
  • Keegan Bradley is 21 under playing 7 years (-0.88)
  • Phil Mickelson is 17 under playing 5 years (-0.85)
  • Bill Haas is 21 under playing 8 years (-0.81)
  • Charl Schwartzel is 14 under playing 5 years (-0.78)
  • Bubba Watson is 16 under playing 8 years (-0.73)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that are very costly:

  • Dustin Johnson – $11,900
  • Jordan Spieth – $11,300
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,100
  • Justin Thomas – $10,700
  • Paul Casey – $10,200
  • Phil Mickelson – $9,900
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,500
  • Daniel Berger – $9,200
  • Brendan Grace – $9,000
  • Tiger Woods – $8,800

Lot’s of tough choices in the top-ten players for this week.  Yes, Dustin Johnson is worth the $11,900, yes Paul Casey is worth the $10,200, Phil Mickelson is worth the $9,900, Tommy Fleetwood is worth the $9,500 and Tiger is worth the $8,800.  Of the others, sorry but Jordan and Rory are both showing signs of struggling with the putters, so they aren’t good picks.  As for Justin Thomas, he has struggled in the past at Riviera, and I think that struggle will continue.  As for Daniel Berger and Brendan Grace, sorry they are overpriced.  The good news, there is a chance that you can combine a Johnson-Woods pick or a Johnson-Fleetwood pick.  You can even mix a Casey-Fleetwood or Mickelson-Fleetwood pick together.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,700 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Have to like Alex Noren, he is a bit high at $8,700 and never played at Riviera but has shown that he can play well.   Last week we talked about what a savoy pick Matt Kuchar was, and then he went to finish T-62nd at Pebble.  Sorry but I am back on Kuchar at $8,400 thinking he is an excellent pick at Riviera.  Yes has only had one top-ten at Riviera in 11 starts, but still, think he is a solid player and will give you a lot of offensive.  Another reasonable gamble is Chez Reavie, I know he has been runner-up the last two weeks in a row, but at $8,000 the price is good, but I would pass on him due to I think he is tired.  The same with Bill Haas at $8,100 I would pass on him since his game is not sharp, know it’s tough with his record at Riviera, but it’s for the best.

There are a lot of sub-$7,900 choices that are good.  If you find three or four of these guys, give you the flexibility to take a Johnson-Tiger combination.  Right off the bat, Thomas Pieters at $7,700 is a great pick, he finished T-2nd last year and showed that he could play well all last year.  Kevin Chappell at $7,700 is also a good choice, been good in both January and February.  Also, like the pick of Ollie Schniederjans at $7,600, he was T-8th at Riviera last year and played great in 2018 finishing T-3rd in his previous start at Phoenix and T-7th at the Sony.

What are the “Bargains” out there?

I can honestly say yes there is some bargains in the sub $7,400 price range.  First I like the pick of Adam Scott at $7,400. Usually I would say pass but he has an excellent record at Riviera, and we can only hope he will be better than his miss cut last week at Pebble.  I for about the fourth time on the west coast swing say to pick Charles Howell III; he is $7,300 which is a tremendous bargain when you think of what he has done and the fact that he always makes cuts and finds a way to get you a top-25.  Now I see last week’s winner Ted Potter, Jr. is at $7,300 sorry but takes a pass on him.  If you’re looking for the next Potter you may want to pick Austin Cook at $7,300 or how about Hao-Tong Li at $7,200.  Both have won recently, Li in Dubai three weeks ago.  Also again surprised that Francesco Molinari is at $7,200 yes he hasn’t been great, but he makes the cut week in and week out.  Also very surprised to see James Hahn at $7,100 he was a past winner and has been solid this year.  I am surprised to see Cameron Smith at $7,100, geez just a month ago he was a serious pick at $9,000 and since winning at Australia in December has only been out of the top-20 once (T-48th Phoenix) in four starts.  So along with Howell, he is a great pick.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Genesis:

Key stat for the winner:

What I find very interesting is that of all the courses on the PGA Tour year in and year out, Riviera has been in the top ten every year since they have kept track in 2003 of making the least amount of putts from 10 feet and in.  The reason for that, the poa annua greens are very tricky to putt and late in the afternoon get bumpy which creates more challenges ever.  So look for a player that has lot’s of patient with the putter and can overcome these obstacles.

So the stat shows that you have to make those pesky putts if you want to win, look at how it’s been done since 2003.

  • In 2017 players made 86.20%, which ranked 7th on tour.  Winner Dustin Johnson made 92.54% ranking 6th.
  • In 2016 players made 84.69%, which ranked 1st on tour.  Winner Bubba Watson made 91.67% ranking T-5th.
  • In 2015 players made 85.15%, which ranked 1st on tour.  Winner James Hahn made 82.05% ranking 65th.
  • In 2014 players made 84.87%, which ranked 2nd on tour.  Winner Bubba Watson made 88.57% ranking 18th
  • In 2013 players made 83.37%, which ranked 2nd on tour.  Winner John Merrick made 85.53% ranking T33rd
  • In 2012 players made 84.39%, which ranked 1st on tour.  Winner Bill Haas made 87.14% ranking 22nd
  • In 2011 players made 84.84%, which ranked 1st on tour.  Winner Aaron Baddeley made 91.18% ranking 6th
  • In 2010 players made 86.48%, which ranked 8th on tour.  Winner Steve Stricker made 84.51% ranking 61st
  • In 2009 players made 85.67%, which ranked 7th on tour.  Winner Phil Mickelson made 87.84% ranking T29th
  • In 2008 players made 85.08%, which ranked 5th on tour.  Winner Phil Mickelson made 91.55% ranking 4th
  • In 2007 players made 85.35%, which ranked 6th on tour.  Winner Charles Howell made 91.78% ranking 2nd
  • In 2006 players made 85.30%, which ranked 3rd on tour.  Winner Rory Sabbatini made 82.89% ranking T63rd
  • In 2005 players made 86.53%, which ranked 8th on tour.  Winner Adam Scott made 85.71% ranking T57th
  • In 2004 players made 85.04%, which ranked 4th on tour.  Winner Mike Weir made 93.75% ranking 4th
  • In 2003 players made 84.90%, which ranked 1st on tour.  Winner Mike Weir made 85.71% ranking T38th

Here are some more key stats to look for this week:

Unbelievable and bizarre stat:

Riviera is a classic layout and a different breed than most courses on the PGA Tour. So you would think to place drives in the right spot is essential.  Consider some of the champions over the last 23 years:  Dustin Johnson, Bill Haas, Steve Stricker, Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini, Mike Weir, Len Mattiace, Nick Faldo, Kirk Triplett, Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Tom Kite and Ted Schultz have the reputation of being the best in placing drives in the right spot.  So that means only one thing, driving is significant at Riviera?  Sorry but that isn’t the case.  The last winner to finish in the top-ten in driving stats was 2014 winner Bubba Watson who was T8th, but before that, it was Nick Faldo in 1997.  Of the 21 since 1997, only six have finished in the top-25, so that means that 13 of them were out of the top-25, amazing.  Last year Dustin Johnson was T-45th in driving accuracy. So being a straight driver is not an advantage at Riviera.

Experience is key. The list of champions in the last 23 years includes Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Mike Weir, all major championship winners.  There have been 25 different Hall of Fame members that have won 39 championships, so the cream seems to always come to the top.

Not many shotmaking courses left on the PGA Tour.  Outside of Riviera can only name about a half dozen, from Pebble to PGA National to Hilton Head to Colonial.  So for most of the pros, hitting lot’s of greens and shaping the ball into the proper position is essential. So it only makes sense that players who hit lots of greens always do well at Riviera, right?  Not really, in the last 20 years, only six winners have been in the top-five for the week in greens hit while ten have been out of the top-ten.  Bill Haas was the worst in 2012; he was ranked T58th hitting only 36 of 72 greens, in 2011 Aaron Baddeley was 3rd while in 2010 Steve Stricker was T10th while in 2009 Phil Mickelson was T9th in greens hit at Riviera.  In 2013 John Merrick ranked T23rd hitting 46 of 72 greens while in 2014 Bubba Watson ranked T3rd hitting 51 of 72 greens and in 2015 James Hahn hit 40 of 72 which ranked T-28th. In 2016 while Bubba hit 51 of 72 greens which ranked T-7th, while Dustin Johnson last year led the stat hitting 56 of the 72 greens.

Putting has become more important the last couple of years.  You have to make a lot of putts, especially in the under ten feet range to do well.  In 2012 Bill Haas had the least amount of putts with 103, while in 2010 Steve Stricker had the least amount of putts with just 104.  In 2014 Bubba Watson ranked T15th taking just 108 putts while James Hahn took 107 putts and ranked T-10th in 2015.  Bubba Watson took 113 putts in 2016 which ranked T-25th, while last year Dustin Johnson took 114 putts which ranked T-48th

Players who are good scramblers do well at Riviera, especially those who can play the delicate shots around the green from the Kikuyu grass.  In 2011 Aaron Baddeley led the scrambling stat for the week getting it up and down 18 of 20 times.

So how have the past winners done scrambling in their winning year?  Of the 16 winners since 2002, nine of them have been in the top-10.

  • In 2017 Dustin Johnson was T-5th getting it up and down 13 of 16 tries (81.25%)
  • In 2016 Bubba Watson was 4th getting it up and down 16 of 21 tries (76.19%)
  • in 2015 James Hahn was 13th getting it up and down 22 out of 32 tries (68.75%).
  • In 2014 Bubba Watson was T16th getting it up and down 15 out of 21 tries (71.43%).
  • In 2013 John Merrick was 19th getting it up and down 17 out of 26 tries (65.38%).
  • In 2012 Bill Haas was 7th getting it up and down 26 out of 36 tries (72.22%).
  • In 2011 Aaron Baddeley was 1st getting it up and down 18 out of 20 tries (90.00%).
  • In 2010 Steve Stricker was T8th getting it up and down 19 out of 24 tries (79.17%).
  • In 2009 Phil Mickelson was T29th getting it up and down 14 out of 21 tries (66.67%).
  • In 2008 Phil Mickelson was 4th getting it up and down 20 out of 26 tries (76.92%).
  • In 2007 Charles Howell III was T6th getting it up and down 16 out of 21 tries (76.19%).
  • In 2006 Rory Sabbatini was T62nd getting it up and down 14 out of 24 tries (58.33%).
  • In 2005 Adam Scott was T14th getting it up and down 8 out of 10 tries (80.00%).
  • In 2004 Mike Weir was T7th getting it up and down 20 out of 26 tries (76.92%).
  • In 2003 Mike Weir was 6th getting it up and down 19 out of 26 tries.
  • In 2002 Len Mattiace was T11th getting it up and down 22 out of 28 tries (78.57%).
  • In 2001 Robert Allenby was 69th getting it up and down 11 out of 20 tries (55.00%).
  • In 2000 Kirk Triplett was 71st (dead last) getting it up and down 5 out of 14 tries (38.46%).

Last but not least, the weather has been terrific for the PGA Tour the last couple of weeks including what some say was the best week weather wise at Pebble Beach.  The trend will continue with sunny skies all week at Riviera with temperatures around 7 each day.

Who to watch for at the Genesis Open

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
Win 4 T2 2 CUT T4 CUT T3 T10 T59

He will again be hard to beat, the course has too much of the things that makes Johnson’s game look great on.

Phil Mickelson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T34 T21 T2 T35 T45 Win Win 2

Have to think he will contend, each week his game has improved and you never know when all will click for Phil, could be this week.

Tommy Fleetwood

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

The guy is really good and should be watched over this week. Despite never playing at Riviera, his game is perfect for the course.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T20

Will all come down to his putting, if he can putt 50% better than he did at Pebble last week, Rory will be hard to beat.

Jordan Spieth

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T22 CUT T4 T12 CUT

Ditto for him, again it’s down to putting and if Jordan doesn’t putt well he struggles.

Tiger Woods

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
WD

Do I think he will win this week, no. But I think that he will contend and be a part of Sunday’s storyline.

Alex Noren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Guy will make a run at it, playing great and comes to a course he can do lot’s of damage on.

Solid contenders

Paul Casey

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T39 T39 T2 T12 T22

You know he will make the cut and have lots of good moments. But when it comes down to it I just don’t know what it will take for him to win, seems that he just doesn’t know and want to win. But he is still a good player that will be there on Sunday.

Charles Howell III

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T15 75 T61 CUT CUT CUT T66 CUT T59 T55 Win T51

Another of those that are always making good checks but just doesn’t know how to win. Has a good record of playing consistent golf at Riviera and someone that you have to think about.

Chez Reavie

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT 7 CUT CUT CUT CUT T78

Has been runner-up the last two weeks, his game is good and has played well in the past at Riviera.

Thomas Pieters

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2

Another of those Europeans that we have to think about, played great last year look for the good play to continue.

Long shots that could come through:

Adam Scott

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 T2 T10 T17 CUT T14 T69 2

Yes this is what it has come to, that Scott is nothing more than an afterthought and someone that is past his prime. Played bad last week at Pebble, but his game always shines at Riviera and I think he will have a great week.

James Hahn

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T28 CUT Win T29 T61

A past champion that has had a solid year.

Ollie Schniederjans

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T8

Finished T-8th last year at Riviera and has played great in 2018 including a T-3rd in his last start at Phoenix

Sorry but not this week:

Justin Thomas

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T39 T54 T41

Hasn’t shown us much, don’t think that he is much of a west coast type of player. Think this will be a tough go but after this week when the tour moves east his game will start heating up.

Comments

  1. Sal, love the preview this week….gotta be one of the most comprehensive ever. Much appreciated! Is Bubba finished? I don’t think so and have seen enough from him over the last couple of weeks to think he is on his way back, especially as a relatively recent 2 time winner at Riveira. I have him in my team for the first time in quite a while.
    Any thoughts on the EuropeanTour event this week, do you have any stats from the last few years as a challenge tour event?
    Cheers, Matt

  2. Matt,
    Glad you like the preview, lot’s of work and thought is now going into it in order to give something that nobody else does.
    Wish I could get more feedback on what people like and dislike, guess our numbers are up so people must like it.

    As for Watson, I think happiness is his downfall. He has always been a good nature person that loves to have a good time, he has a great wife and they have adopted two kids. So family has now taken over and he devotes more time to that than practice. Watson also has the kind of vices that goes with success and money, he has a partial ownership in the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, a minor-league baseball team (Cincinnati Reds Double-A team) which takes more time away from practice.
    I think he is finished because life is now more important than playing great golf, it happens to a lot of players like Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, remember one of the greatest players of the early 90s Jodie Mudd, he became rich and disappeared to some horse farm in Kentucky.
    There are very few people like Tiger and even Jack Nicklaus who was able to balance his family, having a good time and still playing great golf.
    We will know in the next couple of months if Watson is through, this week is big because he always plays well at Riviera.
    As for the European Tour we are doing some things on it, tournaments that are important and have a meaning. There has been a lot of change over at the European Tour in the media department and they are not as good in giving information like they use to. The tournament this week has no history, I didn’t realize until you told me that it was a challenge tour event, still that doesn’t mean much since the field is terrible this week. They have also ruined one of their top events my moving the date of the Qatar Masters to next week, again most of the top players will be in Florida and Qatar will not be that big of a deal.

  3. Matt, one last thing.
    Bubba is more fired up about playing in the NBA celebrity All-Star game on Friday than playing in the Genesis. That is the life of a guy that makes a boat-load of money and we have seen that his game has suffered.

  4. Great stuff as always Sal… Fancy Kang and Bae this week.

  5. On paper both look good but they never seem to get there in the long run. Bae finished T-15th last week at Pebble after missing seven out of eight cuts. The good thing going for him, great record at Riviera so maybe he is worth the pick on DraftKings at 7,200.
    As for Kang he doesn’t show me much, yes his record is ok at Riviera, but I would take Bae over Kang

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.