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Genesis Invitational: Expert Picks

Bubba wins here every other year

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Tournament Information

The Genesis Invitational
Date: February 13th – 16th
Course: Riviera Country Club
Purse: $9.3MM ($1.7MM to winner)
FedEx points: 500 to winner
OWGR points: 70
2019 Winner: JM Holmes (-14)

Course

Riviera Country Club. Built in 1927 under the then Los Angeles Athletic Club, this event has hosted under the name Los Angeles Open dating back to 1929. At 7,300 yards, the par 71 course, the course runs pretty easy if you don’t get caught up trying to get ahead too quickly and cheat through sections of the course. Wind can be an obstacle at times across this longer course, especially without a lot of trees to block cross drafts.

PGA: Genesis Open - Final Round Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

My Starting 4

Bubba Watson (1st selection this year) — The only active player to have won here 3 times (Phil Mickelson won here in 2008 and 2009) Bubba has wins in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Do you see a trend there? He played in two tournaments this year: 6th at Farmers Insurance and 3rd at Waste Management Open. Bubba was 3rd last season in strokes gained around the green and 38th in strokes gained tee to green.

Dustin Johnson (1st selection this year) — The 4th round of the AT&T Pebble Beach was the straw that broke (many Camel’s) backs. Taylors victory was so impressive as many fought through the winds and Dustin was no exception: here are DJ’s last eight rounds: 72, 71, 71, 69, 69, 65, 72, 78. Which one of those is not like the others? Dustin is playing well and he has three consecutive years of top 10 wins at Genesis.

Patrick Cantlay (1st selection this year) — He has been a top 15 finisher the last two years at Riviera. Each of his last four tournaments have been top 20 finishes to boot (dating back to October). My main concern is lack of regular play although he has played in two of the last five tournaments.

Kevin Na (1st selection this year) — He finished 33rd last year and that was a drastic step back from 2017 and 2018 where he finished in the top five each year. He has produced at a decent rate thus far this year, his last four tournaments: 14th, 82nd, 17th and 32nd. He thrives around the green where he was 7th in strokes gained last year.

My Bench 2

Max Homa (1st selection this year) — This is the current hot hand, his last five finishes: 25th, 48th, 9th, 6th and 14th. He has slowly become one of the better California golfers, in 2017, he averaged a 129th place finish (he would go on to make 2 cuts that season across 17 tournaments and losing his card), after regaining the card in 2019 he averaged a 57th place finish and he currently holds a 24th place finish this year. He placed 37th at Genesis last year. Max was 49th in driving distance and 58th in strokes gained off the tee last year. He needs to power through those cross winds.

Patrick Rodgers (1st selection this year) — Patrick has finished in the top 30 each of the last three years at Riviera. The last two seasons he entered Genesis Open after a terrible finish at the Waste Management Open (worse than 100th) and this year he comes into this tournament having a 101st place finish at AT&T Pebble Beach, different tournament leading up to it but same premise. Before the AT&T Pebble Beach Open he finished 16th, 9th, 64th and 38th. The putting is what really carries Patrick, he was 22nd last year in strokes gained putting.

Fun Fact: This tournament generally concludes the West Coast section of the PGA Tour as the Tour heads to Mexico then Puerto Rico before Florida.


2020 Stats:

Starting 4: Avg finish 46th (31st percentile)
Bench 2: Avg finish 66th (44th percentile)