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BlogGenesis Open Preview and Picks

Genesis Open

February 18th – 21st, 2021

Riviera C.C.

Pacific Palisades, CA

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,322

Purse: $9.3 million

with $1,674,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Adam Scott

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 55 of the top 100 and 30 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with eight players from the top-ten: #1 Dustin Johnson, #2 Jon Rahm, #3 Justin Thomas, #4 Xander Schauffele, #6 Collin Morikawa, #7 Rory McIlroy, #8 Patrick Cantlay, #10 Bryson DeChambeau.  Those not in the top=ten include #12 Brooks Koepka, #13 Daniel Berger, #14 Viktor Hovland, #15 Tony Finau, #18 Matthew Wolff, #20 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #22 Hideki Matsuyama, #23 Adam Scott, #25 Kevin Na, #27 Abraham Ancer, #28 Joaquin Niemann, #30 Jason Kokrak, #31 Cameron Smith, #33 Marc Leishman, #34 Scottie Scheffler, #40 Sergio Garcia, #42 Gary Woodland, #44 Matt Kuchar, #45 Carlos Ortiz, #46 Brendon Todd, #49 Will Zalatoris and #50 Bubba Watson.

Last year there were 31 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 21 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2021.  Those players are  #1 Patrick Cantlay, #2 Xander Schauffele, #3 Dustin Johnson, #5 Viktor Hovland, #6 Justin Thomas, #7 Carlos Ortiz, #8 Joaquin Niemann. #9 Bryson DeChambeau, #10 Daniel Berger, #11 Stewart Cink, #13 Brooks Koepka, #14 Si Woo Kim, #16 Jon Rahm,  #17 Jason Kokrak, #18 Kevin Na, #19 Sergio Garcia, #20 Matthew Wolff, #21 Tony Finau, #22 Martin Laird, #23 Peter Malnati and #24 Robert Streb.

The field includes 6 past champions: Adam Scott (2020 & ’05),J.B. Holmes (2019), Bubba Watson (2018, ’16 &’14), Dustin Johnson (2017), James Hahn (2015), and Charles Howell III (2007)

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 Open

Player Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Inter. Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C. Mayakoba Classic DP World, Dubai RSM Classic Masters
Tony Finau
(290.67 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
T2
(100)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
Xander Schauffele
(268.67 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
Viktor Hovland
(261.67 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
Win
(44)
T3
(45)
DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(246 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
Patrick Cantlay
(203.33 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
Rory McIlroy
(177.67 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
Henrik Norlander
(167.33 pts)
T26
(24)
T22
(28)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Jon Rahm
(165.33 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
Jordan Spieth
(162.67 pts)
T3
(90)
T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(2.67)
Justin Thomas
(156.33 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 3
(60)
T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
Carlos Ortiz
(150.33 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
37
(8.67)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Tringale
(150 pts)
T7
(55)
T17
(33)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(30)
DNP
Brooks Koepka
(148.67 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
Joaquin Niemann
(144.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
2
(66.67)
T23
(9)
DNP T44
(2)
DNP
Kevin Na
(143 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
Sergio Garcia
(126 pts)
DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP T47
(2)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(124 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
T24
(17.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
Cameron Davis
(123.33 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP T32
(18)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP 31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Max Homa
(120.33 pts)
T7
(55)
T42
(8)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
(119.33 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brendan Steele
(102 pts)
T34
(16)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Maverick McNealy
(99.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Abraham Ancer
(99.33 pts)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T17
(22)
T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
Collin Morikawa
(97.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T10
(20)
DNP T44
(4)
Corey Conners
(97 pts)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP T10
(13.33)
T10
(26.67)
Si Woo Kim
(96.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T50
(1)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
Doug Ghim
(94 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(91.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(2.67)
Nate Lashley
(91.33 pts)
T5
(70)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T38
(4)
DNP T37
(4.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Matthew NeSmith
(89.33 pts)
T16
(34)
T7
(55)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP
Michael Thompson
(88.67 pts)
T34
(16)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T25
(16.67)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Will Zalatoris
(88 pts)
T55
(0)
T17
(33)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Matt Jones
(85.33 pts)
T34
(16)
T30
(20)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP T44
(2)
DNP
Scottie Scheffler
(83.67 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
Kyle Stanley
(83.67 pts)
T39
(11)
T36
(14)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
(79.33 pts)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
Kevin Streelman
(77.33 pts)
13
(37)
T22
(28)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP
Adam Scott
(76 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(6)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
Cameron Smith
(74 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
T24
(17.33)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
Brendon Todd
(73 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(6)
T13
(24.67)
T8
(16.67)
DNP T37
(4.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Lanto Griffin
(72.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T41
(6)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Charley Hoffman
(71 pts)
T7
(55)
CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP
Bo Hoag
(67.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T36
(14)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP
Russell Knox
(66.67 pts)
T7
(55)
T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(66.67 pts)
59
(0)
DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Inter. Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C. Mayakoba Classic DP World, Dubai RSM Classic Masters
Jimmy Walker
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 60
(0)
Scott Harrington
(-33.33 pts)
66
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Denny McCarthy
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Tyler Duncan
(-31 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
J.B. Holmes
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Patrick Rodgers
(-29 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Xinjun Zhang
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
65
(0)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Danny Lee
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Doc Redman
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
John Augenstein
(-16.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(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 east to spend time on courses in Florida, and Texas as players get ready for the Masters.  In the next six 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 over the last 20 weeks like Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Viktor Hovland will continue to play well.  One of the surprises of this year’s west coast swing is the caliber of winners and the fact that all six of them have won before.  Even more surprising five of the six winners are in the top-25 of the Official World Golf Rankings and the other one, Si Woo Kim is 51st in the rankings.  This could be the first time since 2018 that all the winners on the west coast swing have been winners before.

This week has a loaded field in Los Angeles but we never know who will win.  Just like last year with Adam Scott, not many folks gave him much of a chance, you could of bought him for 9,000.  Or the previous winner J.B. Holmes, you could have paid only $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 eight years ago he has played in 115 PGA Tour events and only been in the top-ten once, a T-6th in the 2013 RBC Canadian Open.  He is not on the PGA or the Korn Ferry Tours, he only played once in 2021  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 John Merrick 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, as a host that is.  Tiger had back surgery last month and we know he will be on the grounds and be able to see how he is doing.  Right now he is 48th in the Official World Golf Rankings and is eligible for next week’s WGC-Concession or is it WGC-Mexico it’s so confusing.  The odds on him playing are slim.  Also looking to try and secure a spot will be Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.  Spieth is 62nd and Fowler is 66th and both have to play well this week in L.A. to get in.  For Speith, he is playing well finishing T-4th in Phoenix and T-3rd at Pebble.  But for Fowler it may be a lost cause, he has missed his last two cuts.

One thing that seems a bit out of place, the last three winners, Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka, and Patrick Reed missed the cut the week before winning proving the point that you can change things on a dime on the PGA Tour.

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, 36 of the 58 winners at Riviera have also won a major championship  Of those 36, 22 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 closest 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. But we have now seen three years of rarities in the last four years.  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 in 2019 but last year Adam Scott beat Matt Kuchar, Sung Kang and Scott Brown by two shots.

Course information:
  • Riviera Country Club
  • Pacific Palisades, Calif.
  • 7,322 yards     Par 35-36–71
  • The course has a 74.3 rating and a 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 71.26 average.  In 2019 it also 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 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 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 of 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 Riviera’s most important stats, based on data from last year’s Genesis Open, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2021.
The scoring average of Riviera’s field last year was 71.26, 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 believe that all the pros play in sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s glare, 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 15 miles away in Downtown Los Angeles and 65 at Riviera. Despite what you may think of Los Angeles in mid-February, the weather can be venerable, last year, the weather couldn’t be better. But in 2019, when the scoring average was 71.20 (ranked 10th), 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 high 60s and winds in the ten mph 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 Riviera’s stats, last year, Greens hit and driving accuracy are critical and a key to playing the course well. The course ranked 2nd in greens hit, which is about the norm for any year of perfect weather. Last year it ranked 10th in 2018, it was first, while in 2017, it was 5th hardest on Tour. In driving accuracy, the course was the 4th last year, while in 2019, it 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, the same rank for the last three years. 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. The reason for this, Riviera has probably the most problematic 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 why last year, the course ranked 3rd on the PGA Tour in putting inside ten feet. In 2019 it ranked 2nd, while 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 2nd in putting from 4 to 8 feet on the PGA Tour while 3rd in 2019, 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 crucial stat for the players. Just look at the last nine winners, not the best of putters but players that are great from tee-to-green.

So how did the winner Adam Scott do last year? He was two shots better than Matt Kuchar, Scott Brown, and Sung Kang and three shots better than Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Joel Dahmen, Max Homa, and Bryson DeChambeau. So how did Scott win? He wasn’t as good as others have been off the tee as he hit only 23 of 56 fairways, which ranked T-63rd, but he hit 52 of 72 greens, which ranked 1st. In Proximity to the hole, he was T-18th and was T-33rd rough Proximity. This is the big reason why Scott won, it wasn’t due to putting. In Strokes Gained Putting, he ranked 27th at Riviera. In putts from 4 to 8 feet, he ranked T-40th and was 51st in putts inside 10 feet. Scott was good in birdies making 21, to lead that stat, and it translated to 2nd in Par Breakers.

So let’s see how 2019 champion J.B. Holmes won. He floundered off the tee hitting 29 of 56 fairways, which ranked T-59th. But like Scott, he was good at hitting 52 greens to rank T-2nd. But the key for Holmes winning was his putter. He dispelled his reputation of not being a great putter when Holmes was 1st in Strokes Gained Putting for the week. In putting from 4 to 8 feet, he was 3rd, and in the inside 10 feet range was 10th making 61 of 68 putts in that range. 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, Watson 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 most challenging greens to putt on for the year. In 2013, ’14, ’16, and ’19, they were the 2nd hardest on Tour. Last year it ranked 3rd. Players are sometimes puzzled by the greens, which get bumpy and very hard to read in the afternoon. 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.

117 of the 121 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 see the stats of all 117 players in the Genesis Open

DraftKings Picks

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 54 under, in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Adam Scott is 40 under, in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 31 under, in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Bubba Watson is 30 under, in 19 rounds playing 6 years
  • Rory McIlroy is 28 under, in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Sung Kang is 24 under, in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 22 under, in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • J.B. Holmes is 21 under, in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Patrick Cantlay is 20 under, in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Jason Kokrak is 19 under, in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • James Hahn is 18 under, in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Justin Thomas is 17 under, in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Xander Schauffele is 17 under, in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Martin Laird is 16 under, in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Carlos Ortiz is 16 under, in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Luke List is 14 under, in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • J.T. Poston is 13 under, in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Vaughn Taylor is 12 under, in 19 rounds playing 6 years
  • Patrick Rodgers is 12 under, in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 12 under, in 13 rounds playing 4 years
  • Jon Rahm is 12 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Adam Hadwin is 12 under, in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Kyoung-Hoon Lee is 11 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Talor Gooch is 10 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Marc Leishman is 9 under, in 18 rounds playing 6 years
  • Jordan Spieth is 8 under, in 22 rounds playing 6 years
  • Cameron Smith is 7 under, in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Stewart Cink is 7 under, in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Si Woo Kim is 6 under, in 14 rounds playing 5 years
  • Sergio Garcia is 6 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 -54 under, playing 6 years (-9.0)
  • Adam Scott is -40 under, playing 5 years (-8.0)
  • Rory McIlroy is -28 under, playing 4 years (-7.0)
  • Patrick Cantlay is -20 under, playing 3 years (-6.7)
  • Matt Kuchar is -31 under, playing 5 years (-6.2)
  • Jon Rahm is -12 under, playing 2 years (-6.0)
  • Xander Schauffele is -17 under, playing 3 years (-5.7)
  • Kyoung-Hoon Lee is -11 under, playing 2 years (-5.5)
  • Bubba Watson is -30 under, playing 6 years (-5.0)
  • Talor Gooch is -10 under, playing 2 years (-5.0)
  • Sung Kang is -24 under, playing 5 years (-4.8)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is -22 under, playing 5 years (-4.4)
  • J.T. Poston is -13 under, playing 3 years (-4.3)
  • Carlos Ortiz is -16 under, playing 4 years (-4.0)
  • James Hahn is -18 under, playing 5 years (-3.6)
  • J.B. Holmes is -21 under, playing 6 years (-3.5)
  • Stewart Cink is -7 under, playing 2 years (-3.5)
  • Jason Kokrak is -19 under, playing 6 years (-3.2)
  • Martin Laird is -16 under, playing 5 years (-3.2)
  • Bryson DeChambeau is -12 under, playing 4 years (-3.0)
  • Justin Thomas is -17 under, playing 6 years (-2.8)
  • Luke List is -14 under, playing 5 years (-2.8)
  • Wesley Bryan is -5 under, playing 2 years (-2.5)
  • Patrick Rodgers is -12 under, playing 5 years (-2.4)
  • Vaughn Taylor is -12 under, playing 6 years (-2.0)
  • Adam Hadwin is -12 under, playing 6 years (-2.0)
  • Max Homa is -5 under, playing 3 years (-1.7)
  • Marc Leishman is -9 under, playing 6 years (-1.5)
  • Cameron Smith is -7 under, playing 5 years (-1.4)
  • Jordan Spieth is -8 under, playing 6 years (-1.3)
  • Si Woo Kim is -6 under, playing 5 years (-1.2)
  • Sergio Garcia is -6 under, playing 5 years (-1.2)

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:

  • Dustin Johnson – $11,300
  • Justin Thomas – $10,700
  • Rory McIlroy – $10,500
  • Jon Rahm – $10,400
  • Bryson DeChambeau – $10,100
  • Xander Schauffele – $9,900
  • Brooks Koepka – $9,700
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,600
  • Collin Morikawa – $9,500
  • Tony Finau – $9,300
  • Jordan Spieth – $9,200
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,100
  • Adam Scott – $9,000

Have to say this, a great field this week at Genesis gives you a lot of options.  But one option you won’t have is taking two players over $10,000.  That will make it even harder.  A key that could help, lot’s of good players in the 9,000 range, it’s possible to take three of them.  If you take say Cantlay, Morikawa, and Spieth the three will cost $28,300 leaving you with $21,700 or about $7,233 per your next three choices.  Look at our list of those that make the most cuts at Genesis and you will see a lot of great players under $7,300 that you can choose from that could surprise you.  You can even get with a Carlos Ortiz at $7,800 and Sung Kang at $6,500 or possibly a Jim Furyk at $6,400 or Stewart Cink at $6,300 to help average things out.

Dustin Johnson is a great choice but expensive at $11,300.  He knows how to win at Riviera and in his last seven starts has six top-ten finishes.  He is playing great now and can’t see him not finishing inside the top-ten and making a lot of points.  Justin Thomas at $10,700 is too high and now with all of his baggage is a bad choice.  He missed the cut last year at Riviera and yes he finished T-13th at Phoenix, but with his Grandfather just dying just think too much is on Thomas’s mind right now.  Rory McIlroy at $10,500 is also worth the price, but we have seen him not able to put together four great rounds which is a problem.  So despite him being worth the cost, there are other better choices.  Jon Rahm at $10,400 is one of them, his record is Ok at Riviera plus he has two T-7th finishes and a T-13th in the last five weeks.  The only thing that I worry, he is an emotional person and with his wife seven months pregnant it could produce a problem, so I am not picking him.  Bryson DeChambeau at $10,100 is a person to think about, he finished T-5th last year at the Genesis.  On the surface DeChambeau is good for Riviera, he can hit it a long way and not get in much trouble.  He is well-rested but I still wonder if he is at full steam right now.  With that said I am saying no to DeChambeau.  Now is the time for us to get some yes votes in, I like Xander Schauffele at $9,900, he has two runner-up finishes in a row and is bound to win very, very soon.  Brooks Koepka is $9,700 and comes to Riviera with a full sail of steam after winning at Phoenix.  Still I don’t think Riviera is his type of course and think the greens drive him crazy.  But the greens won’t drive Patrick Cantlay at $9,600 crazy, think just like Schauffele is playing great right now and on the verge of a victory, could come this week.  Collin Morikawa at $9,500 is also a great choice, normally a week putter these are the type of greens he can putt, but the course is perfect for his tee to green game, I say he is a big yes.  The same with Tony Finau at $9,300 he has mixed results at Riviera, but he was runner-up in 2018, and do I need to remind you he was runner-up in his last two starts at Farmers and Saudi.  Jordan Spieth at $9,200 is another guy to pick, I think he is ready for a win after what he has done at Pebble and Phoenix.  Now Jordan’s record seems spotty at Riviera, but it’s better than it looks and he calls the place one of his favorite courses.  It’s always nice to end a poor stretch with a win on your favorite course.  Mixed emotions on Hideki Matsuyama at $9,100.  Normally I would say yes at Riviera, but he hasn’t putted well at all in his previous four starts.  My last yes is for Adam Scott at $9,000, he plays well at Riviera and did great at San Diego in his first three rounds.

Historical missed cuts for the Genesis:

Here is our new feature in which we help you decide which guys make the cut the most in a tournament.  The importance of picking six players that play 72 holes is vital in playing well in Draftkings, and this list will help.  It’s a look going back to the 2015 Genesis on who has made the most cuts.  Of course, those who make a lot of cuts and are priced low are very helpful.  To get on this list, you have to make at least three Genesis starts:

  • Abraham Ancer made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,900.
  • Adam Hadwin made 6 cuts in 6 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,300.
  • Carlos Ortiz made 4 cuts in 4 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,800.
  • J.T. Poston made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,300.
  • Rory McIlroy made 4 cuts in 4 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 10,500.
  • Sung Kang made 5 cuts in 5 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,500.
  • Xander Schauffele made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 9,900.
  • J.B. Holmes made 10 cuts in 11 starts for a 90.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,500.
  • Matt Kuchar made 9 cuts in 10 starts for a 90.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,200.
  • Cameron Tringale made 8 cuts in 9 starts for a 88.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,600.
  • Adam Scott made 7 cuts in 8 starts for a 87.5%.  His DraftKings cost is 9,000.
  • James Hahn made 6 cuts in 7 starts for a 85.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,500.
  • Sergio Garcia made 6 cuts in 7 starts for a 85.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,700.
  • Stewart Cink made 6 cuts in 7 starts for a 85.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,300.
  • Hideki Matsuyama made 5 cuts in 6 starts for a 83.3%.  His DraftKings cost is 9,100.
  • Justin Thomas made 5 cuts in 6 starts for a 83.3%.  His DraftKings cost is 10,700.
  • Dustin Johnson made 9 cuts in 11 starts for a 81.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 11,300.
  • Cameron Smith made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8,400.
  • Jim Furyk made 8 cuts in 10 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,400.
  • Luke List made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,300.
  • Patrick Rodgers made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,700.
  • Brendan Steele made 7 cuts in 9 starts for a 77.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,100.
  • Jason Kokrak made 7 cuts in 9 starts for a 77.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 8,000.
  • Vaughn Taylor made 7 cuts in 9 starts for a 77.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,700.
  • Bryson DeChambeau made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 10,100.
  • Jordan Spieth made 6 cuts in 8 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 9,200.
  • Charley Hoffman made 8 cuts in 11 starts for a 72.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,300.
  • Jimmy Walker made 8 cuts in 11 starts for a 72.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,100.
  • Pat Perez made 8 cuts in 11 starts for a 72.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,400.
  • Brian Harman made 5 cuts in 7 starts for a 71.4%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,400.
  • Charl Schwartzel made 5 cuts in 7 starts for a 71.4%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,500.
  • Martin Laird made 7 cuts in 10 starts for a 70.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,800.

(Those that I like are in bold)

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

Have to say that Joaquin Niemann at $8,800 could be a good choice.  He has not played well at Riviera but has only two starts, but I like that his last two starts are runner-up finishes at Sentry T of C and Sony Open.  Viktor Hovland at $8,700 is a great choice, has never played in this event but was T-6th at Saudi and T-2nd at Farmers so is playing very well right now.  Plus he isn’t a great putter and these greens could be perfect for him.  Now Max Homa at $8,200 is a great pick, he was T-5th last year in this event and after finishing T-7th at Pebble said he is playing great and looking forward to this week.  Need to watch Kevin Na at $7,900 he has had some great finishes at Riviera including a T-4th in 2017 and runner-up in 2018.  We know how well he is playing with his victory at the Sony Open.  Carlos Ortiz at $7,800 is a steal, has played well not only this year (finished T-4th last start, Phoenix) but is 4 for 4 in making cuts at Riviera.  Sergio Garcia is priced right at $7,700 when you consider he was T-4th at Riviera in both 2012 and ’15, plus he won in October at Sanderson Farms and was T-6th at Dubai and T-12th at Saudi.  Normally I would say take a pass on Francesco Molinari at $7,600.  His Riviera record is terrible, has missed four cuts in six starts.  But his game has been great of late and is a dues-paying member at Riviera so maybe he knows a bit more of the course.  Should at least think a second or two on James Hahn at $7,500.  He has won at Riviera and had some nice finishes, he has also had some good finishes in 2021, and have to say his price is cheap and you know he will make the cut.

What are the “Bargains” out there?

Watch Charley Hoffman at $7,300, he is priced low and has mixed results at Riviera  But he did finish T-4th in 2017 and despite being inconsistent in this event comes with a T-7th at Pebble with rounds of 68-66 on the weekend.  Luke List at $7,300 also is consistent and makes cuts at Riviera, has played well in his last three starts including a T-10th at Farmers.  Adam Hadwin at $7,300 has also been consistent at Riviera, making six of six cuts including a T-6th in 2016 plus he has played ok in his last three starts.  Maverick McNealy is $7,300, never played in the Genesis but was runner-up last week at Pebble with the great final round.  Matt Kuchar at $7,200 is a hard choice, hasn’t played well since finishing runner-up in last year’s Genesis.  Has struggled with his game but still makes cuts, I like the fact that in 14 Riviera starts has made the cut 13 times and seems to always produce a good week.  We have another cheap price for Charles Howell III at $6,800.  Now his game in 2021 has been spotty at best, but he has played great at Riviera and have to think he will continue to do well and make the cut.  Sung Kang at $6,500 is a great choice, was T-2nd at year at Riviera and has made six of six cuts.  Jim Furyk at $6,400 is someone that you close your eyes on and pick.  Knows how to play well at Riviera even though he has missed cuts in two of his last three Genesis starts.  But is hitting the ball great, leads the tour in Greens in Regulation with is a good stat for Riviera plus he has made the cut in his starts at Sony Open and Pebble.  Hard to believe that you can get a player like Stewart Cink at $6,300.  Has played well at Riviera, missed only one cut in 16 starts but did miss the cut at Pebble, still think he will be fine this week.

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 2020 players made 85.10%, which ranked 3rd on tour.  Winner J.B. Holmes made 83.787% ranking 51st.
  • 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 25 years:  Adam Scott, 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 24 since 1997, only six have finished in the top-25, so that means that 18 of them were out of the top-25, amazing.  Last year Adam Scout was T-3rd, in 2019 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 Adam Scott, 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 24 years, only eight 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 in 2019 J.B. Holmes hit 52 of 72 greens and was ranked T2nd.  Last year Adam Scott became the 3rd player in the last 24 years to lead the greens hit category hitting 52 of 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 in 2017 Dustin Johnson took 114 putts which ranked T-48th.  In 2018 Bubba Watson had 108 putts which ranked T-16th while in 2019 J.B. Holmes had 111 putts which ranked T-11th.  Last year Adam Scott had 114 putts which ranked T-43rd.
  • 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 17 winners since 2002, nine of them have been in the top-10.

  • In 2020 Adam Scott was 17th getting it up and down 12 of 20 tries (60.00%)
  • 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%).

Last but not least, the weather will be perfect all week with sunny skies and temperatures each day in the high-60s.  Winds will blow off the ocean at 10 mph

Who to watch for at the Genesis Open

Best Bets:

Dustin Johnson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T10 T9 T16 Win 4 T2 2 CUT T4 CUT T3 T10

Is the most sensible favorite, is playing great, and does well at Riviera.

Jordan Spieth

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T59 T51 T9 T22 CUT T4 T12 CUT

What is the old saying, the third time is the charm. Says Riviera is his favorite course, let’s have him prove it to us this week.

Collin Morikawa

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T26

This course is perfect for his game, even the greens are good for him since he is a weak putter, but these greens will be perfect for him.

Best of the rest:

Patrick Cantlay

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T17 T15 T4 CUT CUT

His game has been really strong of late, have to say he is perfect for a tee to green assault.

Xander Schauffele

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T23 T15 T9

Only a matter of time before he puts everything together and has a great week and wins.

Bryson DeChambeau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 T15 T41 WD

The only problem I have with him is you just don’t know what to expect. If he is putting good he can win, but if he isn’t could struggle.

Viktor Hovland

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Has never played on this course but think it’s perfect for him. Just like with Morikawa, Hovland is a weak putter but may find the greens perfect for him.

Francesco Molinari

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT CUT CUT T52 CUT T40

Has been knocking on Heaven’s door of late has moved to the Los Angeles area and is a dues-paying member at Riviera so he should know a thing or two about the course.

Adam Scott

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win T7 T53 T11 T2 T10 T17 CUT

Played well in his last start in San Diego, always plays well at Riviera.

Solid contenders but has this one or two small problems about them:

Rory McIlroy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 T4 T20 T20

Still has that one bad round or bad nine, once he beats that problem should go on a tear.

Tony Finau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T51 T15 T2 CUT CUT T56

Just doesn’t seem to know how to close, he will have to back into a victory. One thing, he is playing great right now.

Justin Thomas

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT 2 T9 T39 T54 T41

2021 hasn’t been that great so far, the death of his grandfather last week will put another emotional item he will have to deal with this week.

Brooks Koepka

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T43 CUT

First don’t think Riviera is that great for him, also he was a bit lucky to win in Phoenix, don’t think he will be as good.

Sergio Garcia

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T37 T37 T49 CUT T4 T13 T4

Always finds a way to do well when you least expect it, that could happen this week.

Other guys to watch:

Carlos Ortiz

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T26 T9 T26 T20

has played well not only this year (finished T-4th last start, Phoenix) but is 4 for 4 in making cuts at Riviera.

Joaquin Niemann

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T44

He has not played well at Riviera but has only two starts, but I like that his last two starts are runner-up finishes at Sentry T of C and Sony Open.

Matt Kuchar

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 T28 T26 T22 T8 CUT T38 T24 T35 T20 T57

May not be playing well but has a knack for doing well at Riviera.

Max Homa

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 T37 CUT CUT

Was T-5th last year in this event and after finishing T-7th at Pebble said he is playing great and looking forward to this week.

Kevin Na

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T33 T2 T4 CUT T61 CUT CUT 76 3 T10 T25

had some great finishes at Riviera including a T-4th in 2017 and runner-up in 2018. We know how well he is playing with his victory at the Sony Open.

Long shots that could come through:

Maverick McNealy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Never played in the Genesis but was runner-up last week at Pebble with the great final round.

Sung Kang

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 T64 T16 T22 T8 T72

a great sleeper pick, was T-2nd at year at Riviera and has made six of six cuts.

James Hahn

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T13 T14 T28 CUT Win T29 T61

Has won at Riviera and had some nice finishes, he has also had some good finishes in 2021.

Comments

  1. I felt the same about Ortiz as you and now he’s the only guy on my 6 man squad to miss the cut!! And Burns was $400 cheaper! This stuff is so tough to predict. Stats are great, but we never know what’s between the players ears at tee time! Still love your site!

  2. I’d like your opinion. I win 60-65% of my DK contests. Given that, how would you invest? I don’t play more than $50/per week. I never really get ahead because I usually go in some of their Featured Contests, which are tough with so many players. Just looking for thoughts.

  3. In my youth 40 years ago, I would go to the Santa Anita race track outside of L.A. and bet the ponies. I too would get frustrated because I thought I have all of the research and could do a great job of predicting things. One day I was in the Paddock area watching the horses start there warmups before the race and got into a conversation with a man. He was dressed very nicely in a suit that had to be 30, 40 years old and you could see he loved to drink and had seen better days. We were talking about betting strategies and he gave me some of the greatest words of wisdom about all of this gambling. I was feeding him some of my great stats on some horse and he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Son all of this shit is meaningless and the only true way to know how to bet is if you could talk to the horses and see how they feel. You got to know if they had a great morning and got enough to eat, you got to know if they feel like racing that day, or if they have had a terrible day and just aren’t in the mood to race.” 40 years later I can still remember that speech he gave me and I can say the same thing about Carlos Ortiz. First of all he has been flawless in his last eight events and been very steady. On top of that, he had a great record at Riviera, made four of four cuts, and was in the running a few times. But who knows, Ortiz is from Dallas, maybe he had some family members in peril and felt a heavy heart playing this week. You just never know, unless you can get on the first tee and talk with each player for a minute or two and see what frame of mind he is in. So we just have to think about all of this, we all didn’t know about the Dallas thing and I bet any amount of money that a lot of players could of been stressed out over this.

  4. Clayton, for your question on DK contests, the key is always to get six players to go 72 holes. I know that now in Virginia I get Draftkings Sports book and am doing more one-on-one betting on players and having terrific results. This is the future of gambling, picking six players is more like a lottery than skill. He three weeks ago I won big, first place of $3,500 in an Abu Dhabi play and felt like a million dollars. The next week I had ten games going and didn’t win a dime, using the same skill and heart that I used the week before. So again, you just never know that is why they call it “gambling.”

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