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BlogGenesis Preview and Picks

Genesis Invitational

February 13th – 16th, 2020

Riviera C.C.

Pacific Palisades, CA

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,322

Purse: $9.3 million

with $1,674,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
J.B. Holmes

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 57 of the top 100 and 31 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with nine players from the top-ten (#7 Webb Simpson not playing): #1 Rory McIlroy, #2 Brooks Koepka, #3 Jon Rahm, #4 Justin Thomas, #5 Dustin Johnson, #6 Patrick Cantlay, #8 Tiger Woods, #9 Xander Schauffele, #10 Justin Rose, #12 Tony Finau, #13 Patrick Reed, #14 Adam Scott, #18 Bryson DeChambeau, #19 Marc Leishman, #20 Matt Kuchar, #21 Paul Casey, #23 Hideki Matsuyama, #24 Francesco Molinari, #25 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #28 Kevin Na, #29 Abraham Ancer, #31 Danny Willett, #33 Sungjae Im, #35 Cameron Smith, #38 Jason Day, #41 Sergio Garcia, #43 Chez Reavie, #45 Bubba Watson, #46 Rafael Cabrera-Bello, #49 Jordan Spieth and #50 Erik van Rooyen.

Last year there were 29 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 22 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2020.  Those players are  #1 Justin Thomas, #3 Brendon Todd, #4 Lanto Griffin, #5 Sebastian Munoz, #6 Rory McIlroy, #7 Cameron Smith, #8 Sungjae Im, #9 Marc Leishman, #10 Kevin Na, #11 Cameron Champ, #12 Joaquin Niemann, #13 Nick Taylor, #14 Xander Schauffele, #15 Hideki Matsuyama, #17 Tyler Duncan, #18 Scottie Scheffler, #19 Tiger Woods, #20 Andrew Landry, #21 Abraham Ancer, #22 Tony Finau, #23 Patrick Cantlay and #24 Carlos Ortiz

The field includes 10 past champions: J.B. Holmes (2019), Bubba Watson (2018, ’16 &’14), Dustin Johnson (2017), James Hahn (2015), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Steve Stricker (2010), Phil Mickelson (2009 & ’08), Charles Howell III (2007), Rory Sabbatini (2006) and Adam Scott (2005).

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 the 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 Invitational

Player AT&T Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Intern. Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert Classic The American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry TofC Australian PGA DP World, Dubai The RSM Classic Mayakoba Classic
Jon Rahm
(237.67 pts)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 10
(26.67)
DNP Win
(66)
DNP DNP
Tony Finau
(180.67 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Thomas
(171.33 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(163.33 pts)
3
(90)
DNP T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Max Homa
(159 pts)
T14
(36)
T6
(60)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(154.67 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Abraham Ancer
(151.33 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Sergio Garcia
(150.33 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(30)
DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(150 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(146.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nick Taylor
(143 pts)
Win
(132)
T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T26
(8)
Rory McIlroy
(130 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(40)
DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(121 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T2
(66.67)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP DNP
J.B. Holmes
(117.33 pts)
T14
(36)
T16
(34)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brendon Todd
(112.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
29
(14)
DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
Win
(44)
Jason Day
(110.67 pts)
4
(80)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Collin Morikawa
(110 pts)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(103.33 pts)
T18
(32)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
Patrick Cantlay
(103 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nate Lashley
(102.33 pts)
WD
(-5)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T53
(0)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(94.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
T17
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(94.17 pts)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(5)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP 9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(91.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Champ
(90.67 pts)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
T27
(7.67)
DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
Xander Schauffele
(90.67 pts)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Russell Knox
(89.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T16
(34)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(10)
T33
(5.67)
Lanto Griffin
(83 pts)
T9
(45)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
13
(24.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T76
(0)
Adam Long
(83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T23
(18)
DNP DNP T35
(5)
T2
(33.33)
Sungjae Im
(76 pts)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP T36
(14)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(74 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T18
(10.67)
Matt Jones
(73.67 pts)
T5
(70)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
T33
(5.67)
Patrick Rodgers
(73.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T16
(34)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
Joel Dahmen
(73 pts)
T14
(36)
WD
(-5)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T6
(20)
Matt Kuchar
(72 pts)
T38
(12)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T14
(24)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T14
(12)
Andrew Landry
(69.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T45
(5)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player AT&T Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Intern. Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert Classic The American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry TofC Australian PGA DP World, Dubai The RSM Classic Mayakoba Classic
Roger Sloan
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Harold Varner III
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
Martin Trainer
(-32.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
34
(10.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Aaron Wise
(-30 pts)
T62
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Russell Henley
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Si Woo Kim
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Chris Stroud
(-29.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T18
(10.67)
Steve Stricker
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Brown
(-21.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
T76
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

So the seven-week west coast swing comes to an end, and with that, the tour moves south of the border and then east to spend time on courses in Mexico, Florida, and Texas as players get ready for the Masters.  In the next seven weeks, there will be the Players Championship, two World Golf Championship events and all of the courses will be in great shape with Bermuda greens, 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 Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau and Phil Mickelson can keep it up.  One thing we can say about the start of 2020, we have had our share of off the wall winners starting with Joaquin Niemann in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and now 2,300 miles away with Nick Taylor at Pebble Beach.  If there is anything that we can say about picking winners, it’s close to impossible on the PGA Tour.  Nick Taylor is a perfect example, he played a bit on the Canadian Tour and then the Korn Ferry Tour before making it onto the PGA Tour in 2015.  In his fourth start, Taylor won the Sanderson Farms Championship and we thought that we had our next superstar.  Taylor finished that year 101st in the FedEx Cup rankings and since has finished between 93rd and 129th.  Each year was a struggle, since winning at in Mississippi his best finish was T-5th at the 2016 Puerto Rico.  After that finish, he only had eight finishes between 8th and 10th.  So in a way, it was a bit of a surprise that out of the blue, Taylor won at Pebble and won in great fashion leading after every round.

The flux of all this is the heart of the PGA Tour.  Of the 175 full-time players on tour there are about 40 really solid players week in and week out.  There are about another 50 to 60 that struggle but seem to do well in five or six events to make a living and keep their cards.  Then there are the 75 or so Nick Taylor’s,   This year alone we have seen players like Lanto Griffin winning in Houston, Brendon Todd winning back to back in Bermuda and Mayakoba.  Tyler Duncan after a couple of years of struggling won at the RSM Classic, before the win he only had three top-tens in 67 PGA Tour starts.  We also saw Cameron Smith win in Hawai and Andrew Landry win in Palm Springs, again guys we would not have figured to be in the winning circle and did win.  Each year about 33% of the total victories are guys just like this, guys that you least expect to find there way to the winner circle.

That is the mystic of the PGA Tour.  The fact is there isn’t a single person out there that can’t win on any given day, just a tweak here and a tweak there and that is enough.  For some, it’s a boast of confidence here and for some, it’s just plain good luck they woke up on the right side of the bed that week.

This week has a loaded field in Los Angeles but we never know.  Just like last year with J.B. Holmes, not many folks gave him much of a chance, you could have bought him for $7,200 on Thursday morning on Draftkings.  Same with guys like James Hahn in 2015 or John Merrick in 2013.  For Merrick, it was his first and probably only win on the PGA Tour.  Since winning seven years ago he has played in 111 PGA Tour events and only been in the top-ten once, a T-6th in the 2013 RBC Canadian Open.  So you see he had his moment in the sun and that was it.  But the fact is, no matter how good the field is this week there is always another Nick Taylor ready to surprise us all.

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 us a lot with his win at the Zozo Championship.  Since then he was 4th at the Hero World Challenge and T-9th at the Farmers.

This week he returns to Riviera, the site of his first PGA Tour starts in 1992 as a 16-year-old.  But if you look at Tiger’s career at Riviera you can see that this is about the only place that Tiger hasn’t won.

He has played in the Genesis 13 times (Riviera 12 time), and in those 12 starts at Riviera, his best finish was T-2nd in 1999 (2 shots back of winner Ernie Els). Other than the runner-up, Woods has only been in the top ten two different times, in 2003 was T-5th and in 2004 was T-7th.  But in his other starts, they have been out of the, and in his last two starts he shot 69-74 and withdrew in 2006 (Was sick with the flu), and last year he missed the cut shooting 72-76.  So what are realistic goals for Tiger this week?  Probably to find a way to do well in the first two rounds, in 24 1st and 2nd round scores for Tiger at Riviera, he has only broken 70 nine times and has never done it in both the 1st and 2nd rounds.  The course may not be his cup of tea, but we thought about that when he struggled the first couple of times he played the Memorial and look what happened, he won five Memorials.  In looking at history and going to Jack Nicklaus, he has won every place except for the Canadian Open (Played in 25 of them, was runner-up seven times) and at Riviera.  Nicklaus played at Riviera 11 times, 9 of them Genesis Opens and two PGA Championships.  He was runner-up in the 1978 Genesis and the 1983 PGA Championship.  But he was a bit better than Tiger, Nicklaus was in the top-ten five times and was third twice.  But Nicklaus wasn’t able to win both the Canadian Open or at Riviera, so maybe the reality is that Tiger may never win the Genesis.  In 2006 when Tiger shot 69-74 and withdrew because of the flu it was thought that he may have given up.  Tiger has not played as many rounds on any other course as he has at Riviera (38) without a victory so maybe Riviera is not his cup of tea.  Still, when his foundation took over he came back in 2018, shot 72-76 in tough conditions and missed the cut.  But things looked up last year, he shot 70-71 and because of rain delays, he was forced to play 29 holes on the final day shooting 65-72 to finish T-15th.  So the good news he can play the course, he has shot 65 twice at Riviera in his career.  But just like Jack Nicklaus who wasn’t able to overcome the Riviera jinx the same could be true for Tiger.

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 55 courses that will hold a PGA Tour event this year, Riviera, Pebble Beach and Bethpage are the only ones that have hosted both the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
  • In the history of this tournament, 71 different champions   50 of the 93 winners have also won a major championship.  Going a step further, 35 of the 57 winners at Riviera have also won a major championship  Of those 35, 21 have also won the Masters, so there is a link between winners at both Augusta National and Riviera.
  • Taking a step further, in tournaments going back to 1925, more Hall of Fame members have won at the Genesis than any other tournament.  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 (10 times).  So out of the last 31 times the event has been played – 19 have been won by a playoff or a shot. After two years of rarities in 2017 when Dustin Johnson lapped the field winning by five shots and in 2018 when Bubba Watson beat Tony Finau and Kevin Na by two shots, J.B. Holmes beat Justin Thomas by just a shot last year.
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 10th hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 71.20 scoring average.  In 20018, Riviera was the 9th hardest course with a 71.76 average.  In 2017 it was the 23rd hardest course with a 71.01 average. In 2016 Riviera was the 21st hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 71.02 average. 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 that 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.
  • The 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 clubhead.  Many believe Kikuyu is the finest form of grass to playoff 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 year’s Genesis Open, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020.
The scoring average of the field at Riviera last year was 71.55, it ranked the 10th hardest on tour. Now, what controls this is the weather, of course when one thinks of a tournament being played in Los Angeles they think of great weather and nothing but sunshine. Many people think that all the pros play in sunglasses to protect their eyes from the glare of the sun, but that’s not the case. Riviera is located in Pacific Palisades which is just outside of Los Angeles and the course is on top of a hill about a mile from the Pacific Ocean. So during the day, it could be 85 degrees 20 miles away in Downtown Los Angeles and 65 at Riviera. Now despite what you may think of Los Angeles in mid-February the weather can be venerable, last year it was rainy the first two days as all for days it never got warmer than 62 and over the weekend the winds blew between 10 and 25 mph. Same with 2018 when the scoring average was 71.76 and the course ranked 9th hardest. Now it doesn’t have to rain to make it play tough, in 2015 the course played hard, the average was 72.59 (ranked 5th hardest course for the year) as the course was dry and fast with high winds during the tournament playing havoc for the players.
The good news is that for this year just like at Pebble Beach, the weather at Riviera is going to be perfect, a bit cold with temperatures in the low 60s and winds in the 10mph range, but sunny skies all four days and no chance of rain. The one thing that this doesn’t help is short hitters as the ball won’t fly as long.

In looking at the stats for Riviera, last year’s Greens hit and driving accuracy are very important and a key to playing the course well. The course ranked 10th in greens hit which is the highest it’s ranked in two years. In 2018 it was first while in 2017 it was 5th hardest on Tour. In driving accuracy, the course was the 12th hardest which was the highest since 2011 when it ranked 11th. In 2018 it was the 5th hardest and in 2017 the 10th hardest on tour. One thing that is important for Riviera is getting the ball close from the fairway; Riviera was 4th in Proximity to Hole last year and in 2018. It ranked T-6th in 2017 and 5th in both 2016 and 2015. So we see that players that are 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 along with Pebble Beach last week are probably some of the bumpiest on tour. That is the reason that last year the course ranked 2nd on the PGA Tour in putting inside ten feet. In 2018 it ranked 4th in putting, while in 2017 it was 7th, it was 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2015. Last year it ranked 3rd in putting from 4 to 8 feet on the PGA Tour while it was 6th in 2018, 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 eight winners, not the best of putters but players that are great from tee-to-green.

So how did the winner J.B. Holmes do last year? He was a shot better than Justin Thomas and two shots better than Si Woo Kim. So how did Holmes win? First of all, because of the poor weather, he had to play 33 holes on Sunday so the final day was a test of endurance. He wasn’t as good as others have been off the tee as he hit only 29 of 56 fairways which ranked T-59th but he hit 52 of 72 greens which ranked T-2nd. In proximity to the hole, he was T-30th and was just as good from off the fairway ranking T-33rd. Now Holmes excelled in an area he normally doesn’t do well in, Putting. In 2019 in Strokes Gained Putting he ranked 105th but at Riviera he was 1st. In putts from 4 to 8 feet, he ranked 3rd and was 10th in putts inside 10 feet. In comparison, in 2019 Holmes was T-121st in putting from 4 to 8 feet and 185th in putting inside 10 feet so again he putted lights out at Riviera. Holmes was good in birdies making 19, T-2nd and that translated to T-2nd in Par Breakers.

Now many can say that Holmes was a bit of a fluke due to the weather and the way they had to play so much golf on the final Sunday. So let’s see how Bubba Watson won the Genesis in 2018. 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 doesn’t make as much sense as getting the ball close.

*Putting inside 10 feet: In 2012 & ’15 Riviera had the hardest greens to putt on for the year. In 2013, ’14, ’16 and last year they were the 2nd hardest on tour. 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.

110 of the 120 players from this year’s field with stats from this year (Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose and Tiger Woods haven’t played enough rounds to qualify for stats for 2020):

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

Here is a link to the other 100 players with stats for 2020

Of the 120 in the field, 103 have played at least once in the Genesis since 2015.  Here are the players with the most under par totals at the Genesis in the last five years:

  • Dustin Johnson is 47 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Bubba Watson is 32 under in 17 rounds playing 5 years
  • Adam Scott is 29 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • J.B. Holmes is 23 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jason Kokrak is 22 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 22 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Justin Thomas is 20 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Rory McIlroy is 20 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Justin Rose is 18 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Ryan Moore is 18 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Paul Casey is 16 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Martin Laird is 16 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Patrick Cantlay is 15 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Sung Kang is 15 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 14 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Phil Mickelson is 14 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Xander Schauffele is 13 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Carlos Ortiz is 13 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Jordan Spieth is 12 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 47 under, playing 5 years (-9.4)
  • Justin Rose is 18 under, playing 2 years (-9.0)
  • Patrick Cantlay is 15 under, playing 2 years (-7.5)
  • Adam Scott is 29 under, playing 4 years (-7.3)
  • Rory McIlroy is 20 under, playing 3 years (-6.7)
  • Xander Schauffele is 13 under, playing 2 years (-6.5)
  • Bubba Watson is 32 under, playing 5 years (-6.4)
  • Matt Kuchar is 22 under, playing 4 years (-5.5)
  • J.T. Poston is 11 under, playing 2 years (-5.5)
  • Phil Mickelson is 14 under, playing 3 years (-4.7)
  • J.B. Holmes is 23 under, playing 5 years (-4.6)
  • Jason Kokrak is 22 under, playing 5 years (-4.4)
  • Carlos Ortiz is 13 under, playing 3 years (-4.3)
  • Justin Thomas is 20 under, playing 5 years (-4.0)
  • Martin Laird is 16 under, playing 4 years (-4.0)
  • Sung Kang is 15 under, playing 4 years (-3.8)
  • Ryan Moore is 18 under, playing 5 years (-3.6)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 14 under, playing 4 years (-3.5)
  • Rafael Cabrera-Bello is 7 under, playing 2 years (-3.5)
  • Paul Casey is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.2)
  • Luke List is 12 under, playing 4 years (-3.0)
  • James Hahn is 12 under, playing 4 years (-3.0)

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

DraftKings Picks

*Here are the guys that are very costly:
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,600
  • Jon Rahm – $11,200
  • Justin Thomas – $11,000
  • Tiger Woods – $10,400
  • Dustin Johnson – $10,000
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,800
  • Bubba Watson – $9,600
  • Brooks Koepka – $9,400
  • Hideki Matsuyama $9,300
  • Xander Schauffele – $9,200
  • Tony Finau – $9,100
  • Adam Scott – $9,000

Lots of tough choices in the top-13 players for this week.  Rory McIlroy at $11,600 is back in the number one spot and frankly, he has played as the number one player.  Since he missed the cut at Portrush in July he has been in contention in nine of the eleven events he has played in, winning twice and finishing in the top-four, seven times.  Riviera is a good course for him and he was T-4th at it last year, playing his last 54 holes in 12 under. Jon Rahm is at $11,200 and he too has played well, been in the top-ten in his last six starts including two wins, was T-9th in his last start in Phoenix. Was T-9th in his only Riviera start last year with rounds of 67-70-69-71.  Justin Thomas is at $11,000 and has also played well of late, won three times in his last nine starts.  Was T-3rd in his last start in Phoenix.  At Riviera played great last year, but the weather played havoc and he was forced to play 32 holes on the final day, shot a final-round 75 to finish 2nd.  All three of these players should be in contention on Sunday and are good picks.  Now we get to players that will be hard choices.  First Tiger Woods at $10,400.  We have talked about Tiger’s problems at Riviera, just don’t think the course fits his eyes, but he is Tiger Woods and you never know with him.  He does things differently, so wouldn’t it be a blast if he breaks the PGA Tour record of Sam Snead on a course that not only was his first PGA Tour start as a 16-year-old, but the only course he hasn’t won on?  It could happen, but I am going to pass on him and just watch.  Dustin Johnson at $10,000 is another to question.  Usually plays well at Riviera, he won in 2017 but showed signs of his game not being sharp last week at Pebble finishing T-32nd.  Who knows, he was 2nd in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago so maybe he will play great this week.  Also, have to wonder at Patrick Cantlay at $9,800.  Been good at Riviera the last two years and has been good this year was 4th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-11th at Pebble, still, I wonder if he is ok after a trip to Abu Dhabi was he finished T-34th.  Now one guy I like a lot and am putting a lot on is Bubba Watson at $9,600.  He has won at Riviera three times and was T-6th at the Farmers and T-3rd at Phoenix playing both events in 24 under.  His game looks prime to play in an event he does well in.  Brooks Koepka on the other end at $9,400 is a player to avoid.  He is not keen on Poa Annua greens and west coast golf, just played once at Riviera missing the cut in 2017.  His game has been spotty at best since returning from surgery so a big pass on Brooks this week.  Hideki Matsuyama at $9,300 is a good buy, has played well at Riviera was T-4th in 2015.  Has had a slow start to his year, was T-12th at Sony Open, T-45th at Farmers, T-16th at Phoenix but look for a good week from this ball-striker on a ball-striker type of course.  Xander Schauffele at $9,200 is another good buy, he is consistent in his two starts at Riviera and has been runner-up three times in last 8 starts, T-16th last start in Phoenix.  Tony Finau at $9,100 is another great buy, he was runner-up at Riviera in 2018, T-15th last year and his game have gradually been coming around, T-6th at Farmers and 2nd at Phoenix, last 12 rounds he is 34 under par.  Also, like Adam Scott at $9,000.  He hasn’t played since winning in December at the Australian PGA Championship.  Has played well at Riviera including a win in 2005.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Marc Leishman at $8,700 is a good buy considering his last start he won at the Farmers.  Played well last year at Riviera finishing T-4th so he is a good buy.  Also, like Phil Mickelson at $8,300, he won at Riviera in 2008 & ’09 and was runner-up in 2007 & ’12.  Comes into this week trying to get into the top-50 of the world ranking to secure a berth in the U.S. Open, he has been on a roll with a T-3rd at Saudi International two weeks ago and 3rd last week at Pebble.  Abraham Ancer at $8,200 doesn’t have a great record at Riviera but was 2nd in the American Express and T-6th at Saudi International.  I like Sergio Garcia a lot at $7,800.  He has played indifferently at Riviera in 12 starts has made ten cuts but just three top-tens, T-4th in 2015 & ’12.  He has played well in the desert, was T-8th at Abu Dhabi, T-23rd in Dubai and T-6th in Saudi Arabia.  Charles Howell III at $7,500 is a good buy, he has been quiet this year but his play hasn’t been that bad.  He won at Riviera in 2007.  Last but not least, Max Homa and Cameron Smith at $7,500 are both worth the cost.

What are the “Bargains” out there?

I can honestly say yes there are some bargains in the sub $7,500 price range.  Scottie Scheffler at $7,400 is a good ball striker and ready to do good, Alex Noren at $7,300 is also ready to win, he was T-16th at Riviera in 2018.  Adam Hadwin at $7,200 is worth the gamble, he was T-6th at Riviera in 2018.  Both Jim Furyk and Bud Cauley at $7,000 are good buys due to being great ball strikers.  Matt Jones at $6,900 is a good buy, was T-5th last week at Pebble.

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

The 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 lots 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 2019 players made 85.33%, which ranked 2nd on tour.  Winner J.B. Holmes made 89.717% ranking 10th.
  • In 2018 players made 85.79%, which ranked 4th on tour.  Winner Bubba Watson made 87.67% ranking T-32nd.
  • 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 24 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 23 since 1997, only six have finished in the top-25, so that means that 14 of them were out of the top-25, amazing.  Last year J.B. Holmes was T-59th in driving accuracy. So being a straight driver is not an advantage at Riviera.
  • Experience is key. The list of champions in the last 25 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 lots 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 23 years, only seven 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 Bubba hit 51 of 72 greens which ranked T-7th, while Dustin Johnson in 2017 led the stat hitting 56 of the 72 greens.  In 2018 Bubba won hitting 46 of 72 greens and ranked T-7th while last year J.B. Holmes hit 52 of 72 greens and was ranked T2nd.
  • Putting has become more important for 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 in 2017 Dustin Johnson took 114 putts which ranked T-48th.  In 2018 Bubba Watson had 108 putts which ranked T-16th while last year J.B. Holmes had 111 putts which ranked T-11th.
  • 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 2019 J.B. Holmes was 17th getting it up and down 14 of 20 tries (70.00%)
  • In 2018 Bubba Watson was T-20th (worst winner performance since 2008) getting it up and down 18 of 26 tries (69.23%)
  • 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%).

 

Who to watch for at the Genesis Invitational

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 T20 T20

The new world #1 ranked player comes into this event playing well since missing the cut at Portrush last year, he showed last year that he knows how to play Riviera and his game is good for the course. If he gets some breaks he will win. His tee to green game is sharp and he makes lots of birdies

Bubba Watson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T15 Win WD Win T14 Win CUT T13 WD CUT T17 T14

Watch him, a month ago many thought he wasn’t long for the PGA Tour now he is one of the hottest players on tour. Comes into Riviera, a course he does well on playing good, his last two starts was T-6th at the Farmers and T-3rd at the WM Phoenix Open, he was 24 under in both events. Also, watch the fact that he ranked T-2nd in Greens hit at Farmers, T-36th at Phoenix, on Poa Annua greens at Farmers ranked 3rd in Putting inside 10 feet.

Jon Rahm

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T9

Was T-9th last year at Riviera, also on a roll been in the top-ten in his last six starts including two wins.

Best of the rest:

Justin Thomas

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
2 T9 T39 T54 T41

Should of won last year, got a bad break with the weather and having to play 33 holes on Sunday as he was runner-up. Has won 3 times in his last 9 starts, T-3rd last start in Phoenix.

Tony Finau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T15 T2 CUT CUT T56

Was runner-up at Riviera in 2018, T-15th last year in those 8 rounds is 16 under. Makes sense his tee to green game is so good, in 2020 is 2nd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green.

Adam Scott

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T7 T53 T11 T2 T10 T17 CUT T14

Watch him, it’s his time to sneak up the leaderboard and win this week. Hasn’t played since his win in December at the Australian PGA Championship, he is a great ball striker on a course that ball-strikers does well on, he won in 2005, was 2nd in 2006 & ’16. Last year was T-7th.

Xander Schauffele

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T15 T9

Another one of those ball strikers that should do well on this course, 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, T-10th in Greens in Regulation, 3rd in Putts inside 10 feet great stats for Riviera.

Patrick Cantlay

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T15 T4 CUT CUT

Been good last two years at Riviera, T-4th in 2018 and T-15th last year. Has not been over par last 8 rounds, is 15 under.

Hideki Matsuyama

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T9 CUT T11 T4 T23

A great ball-striker has played well at Riviera, was T-4th in 2015 and T-9th last year.

Marc Leishman

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 CUT CUT T5 CUT T59 T61 T17 CUT T15

Won in his last start at the Farmers, he was T-4th last year at Riviera.

Guys that could go in either direction this week

Tiger Woods

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T15 CUT

Normally would say yes but Riviera has never been kind to him, just have to wonder if he can put all of that bad karma aside and have one great week and win. Timing is right for a miracle this week.

Phil Mickelson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T37 T6 T34 T21 T2 T35 T45 Win Win

While we are talking miracles, last month we thought Phil had seen his best golf but after finishing T-3rd at Saudi International two weeks ago and 3rd last week at Pebble we can see that Phil could win again. Riviera is a good course for him.

Dustin Johnson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T9 T16 Win 4 T2 2 CUT T4 CUT T3 T10 T59

Riviera has always been a good course for Dustin, so was Pebble and he struggled last week finishing T-32nd. He was 2nd in Saudi Arabia so it could be just getting things together so he could shine this week, just don’t know.

Justin Rose

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T4 T16 T45 T13 T9 T37 CUT

Was T-4th last time he played at Genesis in 2017, before that has struggled at Riviera. Rose has not played great since May, yes he was 2nd in Singapore and T-5th at Hero but in PGA or European Tour events has come up short.

Brooks Koepka

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT

Has never been a big fan of west coast golf or playing on Poa Annua greens. Only time playing at Genesis missed cut in 2017.

Jason Day

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T64 T62 CUT CUT

When he shot 75 in the final round at Pebble in tough conditions just had to wonder if it was a sign of things to come. That’s because he has struggled at Riviera, played four times in the Genesis and in 12 rounds never broken 70 and is 25 over, so course may not suit his eye.

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Long shots that could come through:

J.B. Holmes

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
Win T60 T34 T11 T22 T52 CUT T8 T12 T3 T6 T7

Usually the defender isn’t a long shot but he will be this week, played well in his last three starts.

Max Homa

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T37 CUT CUT

In the midst of a good run, T-9th at Farmers, T-6th at Phoenix and T-14th at Pebble he is 39 under in his last 16 rounds.

Abraham Ancer

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T44 T68

Was 2nd at the American Express and T-6th at the Saudi International.

Carlos Ortiz

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T9 T26 T20

Off the wall pick, was T-9th last year at Riviera and has had a solid year.

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