For the first time in the tournament’s history, the entirety of the Top 10 in the world are taking part in the Genesis Open this week.
A star-studded field will meet in the Pacific Palisades, looking to win the seventh PGA Tour event of 2022 and take away the $12,000,000 purse that comes with it.
So, what can we come to expect from this weekend at the Riviera Golf Course in Los Angeles, California? Our resident golfing-guru and PGA-previewing-mainstay David Kristiansen has you covered…
Course: Riviera Country Club
Length: 7322 yards
Greens: Poa Annua
Architect: George Thomas and William Bell
DK: The Genesis Open became an invitational two years ago and add to that the fact that the host is Tiger Woods, you will understand why this is the strongest full-field event outside of the majors.
Riviera is a somewhat long par 71 course with hard-to-hit fairways, small poa annua greens.
There are seven holes between 445-500 yards and three 190+ yards par 3s, which leads to mid and long irons being an important quality this week.
Everyone will miss a lot of fairways here so it’s more important to be long rather than straight off the tee. The greens are infamous for being difficult, especially in the afternoon.
With as many long holes and small greens that Riviera has, the golfer’s short game will also have to be on point this week.
It’s worth noting that the area has had close to no rain since December, so the course should play firm and fast, which will give the shorter guys a better chance and presumably put even more pressure on the players’ short game.
With a top-tier golf course that requires all parts of the game to be firing, I see a top-tier golfer getting it done this week at a winning score in the low teens.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
Proximity 175-200 and 200+ yards
Strokes gained around the green
Strokes gained approach
Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards
Poa annua putting
Par 5 scoring
2019-20 season: +35.61 units , ROI: 121%
2020-21 season: +170,92 units, ROI: 148%
Wagered: 73 units
Won: 49.58 units
Result: -23.42 units
Justin Thomas 15,00 4 pts to WIN
After starting the year, a little middling for him with gaining 1,3 and 2,4 with his irons at TOC and Farmers he was second in the field on approach last week gaining over 7 strokes.
His off the tee (+3,3) and his around the green game (+2,3) were also solid, but, as has been the case for the last year, his putter (-2,8) held him back.
While I’m always hesitant betting on players with putting woes, all other aspects of his game are firing and he putts best on poa greens and, at the course with most missed putts inside 5 feet on tour, his shortcomings on the green should be neutralised a bit.
He ranks second in my overall model for the last 24 rounds so if we could get a neutral putting performance from the major champion, he should be able to pick off his 15th PGA Tour title.
Luke List 81,00 1 pt EW (1/4 the odds 5 places)
After finally securing his maiden win at the Farmers three weeks ago, he reverted to regular Luke List last week, gaining 5 strokes from tee to green only to give it all back and more on the greens on his way to a T53.
Like Torrey Pines, Riviera Country Club should set up perfectly with length off the tee, precise irons and a silky touch around the greens all being important success metrics around here.
That it also features some of the trickier greens on tour should help even out some of his putting issues and he has in fact gained strokes here in three of his last four starts.
While he has never really threatened the lead on Sunday, he does have four top 30 finishes since 2016 and when we dive into the stats, it’s clear that he should be backed in the form he is in at the moment.
He ranks in the top 5 in approach, proximity from 175-200, driving distance, greens in regulation, strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained around the green.
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