Genesis Invitational - Winner

Riviera In Los Angeles has long since been the host for this, one of the most prestigious events of the calendar year. The field doesn't disappoint and probably will turn out to be the strongest field of the year outside the majors. The tree-lined track is challenging off the tee with fairways notoriously hard to hit.

Kikuyu rough awaits errant shots and can cause huge problems. Being blocked out by trees is another factor for those straying from the tee. Despite it being challenging off the tee it hasn't stopped the bombers making hay here over the last number of years. Bubba, Dustin and Holmes have shared five of the last eight events here and there is no doubting the sluggers will have a significant advantage.

Mickelson obliged a few times also as well as fellow Masters champions Adam Scott, Mike Weir, Nick Faldo, Craig Stadler and Fred Couples. Augusta runner ups Chip Beck, Len Mattiace and Ernie Els all have wins around Riviera also so Augusta form is clearly a pointer to a potential winner here.

We have small greens once again that favour a high ball flight and those with strong performances off the tee recently must be closely looked at. Poa Annua greens is another feature to look at here with particular attention to form at Pebble and Torrey in recent weeks. 

Hideki Matsuyama at 25/1 (Eight Places)

I see little reason to get off the Hideki train following another impressive effort in all departments last week at his beloved Scottsdale. The only minor blips (30th at Torrey and 13th at Kapalua) came courtesy of average putting weeks. The long game is as consistent as it ever has been and it looks like only a matter of time before he adds to his early-season success.

He has two top-fives here and a couple of top 11 finishes also. His last top-five in 2020 came with a poor enough putting week so he is definitely capable of going a few spots better than that if he can manage a good week on the greens. Short distance putts here can be a horror show for the entire field so this may be a week where the gap is bridged a little even if he doesn't fare all that well with the putter.

Of the battle towards the top of the market he just about shades it for me with his imperious long game right now and I think with his game in this condition he certainly has a better than one in 25 chance of winning this. 

2pts each-way H.Matsuyama 25/1 (1/5 8)

Hideki Matsuyama - 2pts e/w @ 25/1

Marc Leishman at 50/1 (Eight Places)

Marc Leishman has all the credentials to win around here and must be backed around the 50/1 mark. Although I don't think a solid effort either at Pebble or Torrey in the last few weeks is a pre-requisite, two poor weeks there would be more than enough to put me off.

The Aussie just teed it up at Torrey and after a first round of 71 matched the winner List for the final three rounds. It was a similar story in Saudi after starting with a 74 and finishing with a final round 10 shots better. Hopefully, we get a faster start this time around and a couple of top-five finishes here suggests he is more than capable.

His tee to green game is in great nick and currently, this is his best putting season to date on tour so big things could be on the horizon as we enter major season. The conditions suit here and should he be in the mix he is as reliable as many ahead of him in the market.

1pt each-way M.Leishman 50/1 (1/5 8)

Marc Leishman - 1pt e/w @ 50/1

Tony Finau at 45/1 (Eight Places)

Tony Finau now has a couple of runner up spots here following his playoff defeat to Max Homa last year and with course form a huge pointer to this event he must be considered despite some semi worrying form. Off the tee and approaching the greens Finau is as consistent as ever but he's finding huge trouble on or around the greens.

However, this is a week where scrambling and putting is extremely tough for the entire field, especially putting from inside 10 feet. We saw with Fox last week just how some putting woes can be turned around in a flash and it's worth chancing that Finau finds some grace in these Poa Annua greens coming back to a course he has had success on before. 

1pt each-way T.Finau 45/1 (1/5 8)

Tony Finau - 1pt e/w @ 45/1

Thomas Pieters at 66/1 (Eight Places)

I'll continue my powerhouse games with Thomas Pieters. Pieters has long since been on everyone's radar here since winning the NCAA Championship here at Riviera back in 2012 during his college days. He franked that form with a runner up here to runaway winner Dustin Johnson back in 2017.

He doesn't hide his love for the place and having won in Abu Dhabi which could be a career turning victory for the Belgian he must be considered to go well here once again at a tasty price. His ball-striking game at Abu Dhabi and in Dubai would rival some of the best in the world and if that form travels to California then he has a serious chance of causing an upset.

Fourth at the Masters in 2017 and sixth at the PGA at Bellerive is a sure sign he has what it takes to win on a venue like this and he'll be a popular winner should he continue his early-season success.

1pt each-way T.Pieters 66/1(1/5 8)

Thomas Pieters - 1pt e/w @ 66/1

Joaquin Niemann at 66/1 (Six Places)

Tee to green prowess is massively important around Riviera and I'm determined to assemble a team of experts in that field and I'll continue that with Chilean Joaquin Niemann. Niemann has started off 2022 in fine fashion with a sixth place at Torrey after around eight weeks off the course and followed that up with another impressive effort of eighth in Saudi.

In three appearances here he hasn't done an awful lot with the putter letting him down more than any other aspect but must be said arrives in better form than those other occasions courtesy of the two top 10s. Putting looks to have turned for the better the past couple of weeks and he looks a likely contender to overcome some average form here.

1pt each-way J.Niemann 66/1 (1/5 6)

Joaquin Niemann - 1pt e/w @ 66/1