Riviera Key Fantasy Stats

Genesis Open

February 14th – 17th, 2019

Riviera C.C.

Pacific Palisades, CA

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,322

Purse: $7.4 million

with $1,332,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Bubba Watson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

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 2019.
The scoring average of the field at Riviera in 2018 was 71.76, so with par being 71, that means the average score was just a shade above three quarters of a shot to par, making Riviera the 9th hardest course to score on in 2018. Last year wasn’t as nice as 2017 and in 2016, due to higher winds last year. Also the course was dry, it was wet in 2017 & ’16 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. That won’t be the case this year, just like at Pebble Beach which saw 6 inches of rain during the week, Riviera has also seen a lot of rain over the course of the last two weeks, close to six inches so Riviera will be very lush and the rough will be tougher than normal (Kikuyu doesn’t get high but gets stronger). Now to make matters even harder, heavy rain is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. It will clear up for Friday and Saturday, but rains return on Sunday.

So for the players, don’t lose your raingear from Pebble.

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 1st in greens hit, even though it ranked 5th last year, 17th in 2016 but was 1st in 2015. In driving accuracy, the course was the 5th hardest last year, 10th hardest on tour in 2017, 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 4th in Proximity to Hole last year. In ranked T-6th in 2017 and 5th in both 2016 and 2015. So we see that players must be good 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 4th in putting inside ten feet. In 2017 it was 7th, while it was 2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2015. Last year it ranked 6th in putting from 4 to 8 feet, 4th in 2017, 2nd in 2016 and 2014 while it was 1st in 2015. So it makes sense that putting is probably the 2nd most important stat for the players. Just look at the last seven winners, not the best of putters but players that are great from tee-to-green.

So how did the winner Bubba Watson do last year? He was two shots better than Kevin Na and Tony Finau. So how did Watson win? He was good from off the fairway, he was T-7th hitting 46 of 72 greens and was 9th in Proximity to hole. He ranked T-27th in fairways hit. In Par Breakers he was 1st making an eagle and 20 birdies. Talking about birdies on the three par 5s, he played them in 8 under par, since 1997 only five champions played the par 5s better.

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 4th 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.

130 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.

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