Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The PGA Tour’s west coast swing to start the new year concludes this weekend with the Genesis Invitational at historic Riviera Country Club outside Los Angeles. Just about any movie star who likes to golf has played Riviera – also known as “Hogan’s Alley” as the legendary Ben Hogan won the Los Angeles Open at the track three times as well as the 1948 U.S. Open there.
The Genesis Invitational is hosted by and benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, and while Woods will be on the grounds some this weekend, he’s still not healthy enough to play off another back surgery. We might not see Tiger compete until the Masters. This is a very rare event he has yet to win; Jack Nicklaus never won it, either. The tournament was renamed the Genesis Invitational last year, and an invitational means the fields are a bit smaller (120 players) and the purses a bit bigger. It’s still 72-hole stroke play with a 36-hole cut.
While the field at last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am left much to be desired, especially after world No. 1 Dustin Johnson withdrew, it’s a very strong field at Riviera that includes Johnson. He played over in Saudi Arabia on the European Tour two weeks ago and won. Technically, that was a second straight win on that Tour when including last November’s rescheduled Masters.
Johnson is the +550 favorite this week and won here in 2017 by five shots at 17-under 267 – Riviera is a par 71 measuring approximately 7,300 yards. Johnson also has been a runner-up in this event twice and has several other Top 10 finishes – he was T10 last year.
Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are all +1200 to win this event for the first time. Rahm’s best result is T9, Thomas’ is a runner-up in 2019 behind J.B. Holmes (+25000), and McIlroy has had Top-5 finishes each of the past two years.
Adam Scott is the defending champion, finishing at 11-under 273 last year and two clear of the field. He also won in 2005 but it technically isn’t an official victory as the tournament was shortened to 36 holes due to weather. Scott also has been runner-up twice.
Bubba Watson is a three-time champion of the tournament and +4000. Daniel Berger won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday and was at +2800 for this week but decided to withdraw from the tournament. Berger has missed the cut in two trips to the Genesis Invitational.
Before Scott in 2020, Americans had won the tournament eight straight years.