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Genesis Invitational Course Preview and Odds: Are Correlating Courses the Key?

It really feels like golf season has kicked into another gear, and Tom Jacobs is back to preview another classical test on the PGA Tour, as he breaks down who plays well and how they do it at Riviera Country Club.
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Genesis Invitational Course Preview and Odds: Are Correlating Courses the Key?

It is Genesis Invitational time, and both the event and its course (Riviera Country Club) are steeped in tradition. Tiger Woods will play host this week, at an event he’s never won. He’s 0-11 in his time here, and that’s not something that Woods is used to. Given Woods’ historic career and legendary ability, what is it about this course that cost him in the past?

Well, first of all, he didn’t play here a lot. After having to withdraw with an illness in 2006, he didn’t return until 2018, when he again missed the cut. Injuries have plagued his career during and after that span, so that’s a big factor. Poa Annua was also Woods’ worst putting surface, and golfers will need to be able to cope with those testing greens this week to succeed.

Let’s focus on those greens, Riviera’s Kikuya grass, and more in our course preview below.

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The Course

Riviera Country Club

  • Length: 7,322 Yards
  • Par: 71
  • Greens: Poa Annua
  • Designer: George C. Thomas Jr. and William P Bell
  • Course Record: 61 (George Archer, 1983 & Ted Tryba, 1999)

George Thomas Jr and William Bell designed multiple courses in the California area, but other than Riviera, none of the others have been used on the PGA Tour.

Industry Hills used to host the LPGA event, the Kia Classic, and previously the Monday Qualifier for this event, but there's not enough sufficient data from those to give any significant insight into this week.

Correlating Courses & Events

The Masters (Augusta National)

This is the easiest comp in the world to make, but I’ll put it here anyway. There have been 58 renewals of this event so far, under varying titles, and in that span 34 of the wins have come from present or future major winners.

Of those wins, 22 of them have been by 12 different Masters winners, with Dustin Johnson the latest example.

Farmers Insurance Open (Torrey Pines)

Not only is this another classical course, but Kikuya grass and Poa Annua greens are also in play at Torrey Pines South Course, so it makes a lot of sense that these events overlap.

  • Bubba Watson is a previous winner at Torrey Pines and is a three-time winner here.
  • Phil Mickelson is a three-time winner at Torrey and a former winner of this event.
  • J.B. Holmes won here and lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines.
  • Adam Scott is a two-time winner here and has finished 2nd and 10th at Torrey Pines in two starts.
  • Aaron Baddeley has won here in the past and has four top-13 finishes at Torrey Pines.
  • John Merrick has won here and finished T6 at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
  • Bill Haas has won here and has four top-11 finishes at Torrey Pines.
  • Last year, Max Homa won here and has finished T9 at Torrey Pines. He beat Tony Finau in the playoff, who has four top-13 finishes at Torrey Pines, including a T2 finish.
  • Viktor Hovland finished 5th on his Riviera debut, a week after finishing T2 at Torrey.

Wells Fargo Championship (Quail Hollow)

There is plenty of crossover between these two events, and while they're not obviously similar as tests, they are both tough golf courses, that test your long iron game, and strong Scrambling has been essential at both events, so it is worth keeping in mind.

  • Max Homa has won here and at Quail Hollow.
  • James Hahn has won here and at Quail Hollow.
  • J.B. Holmes has won here and at Quail Hollow.
  • Bubba Watson is a three-time winner here and finished runner-up at Quail Hollow.
  • Phil Mickelson is a two-time winner here and finished runner up at Quail Hollow.
  • Steve Stricker has won here and finished 2nd at Quail Hollow.
  • Vijay Singh won at Quail Hollow and finished 2nd here.
  • Brian Harman won at Quail Hollow and finished 3rd here.

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Course Form (Past 10 Years)

Below is the Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past 10 years at this event:

  • Dustin Johnson - 4-MC-2-2-4-1-16-9-10-8
  • Viktor Hovland - 5
  • Jon Rahm - 9-17-5
  • Xander Schauffele - 9-15-23-15
  • Talor Gooch - 20-10-12
  • Adam Scott - 17-10-2-11-53-7-1-38
  • Wyndham Clark - 17-8
  • Max Homa - MC-MC-37-5-1
  • Rory McIlroy - 20-20-4-5-MC
  • Patrick Cantlay - MC-MC-4-15-17-15

If we remove the players that have played less than three times, the following players crack the top-10:

  • Hideki Matsuyama - 23-4-11-MC-9-5-MC
  • Sam Burns - MC-23-3
  • Tony Finau - 56-MC-MC-2-15-51-2

Key Stats

SG Putting (Poa) - We’ve just come through a three-week stretch in California, in which we saw three events that featured Poa greens, so you can get an idea of who’s liked those surfaces recently. Three putts can happen at any time here, so previous positive experience putting on Poa and in particular on these greens is huge. While you don't necessarily need to have top-10'd here in the past to succeed, having had multiple four-round visits here could be pivotal when it comes to playing on and around the greens.

SG Around-the-Green/Scrambling- Given how tough it is to regularly hit the greens here, especially when playing from the rough, I think it is essential to be able to get up-and-down well. This is where Augusta form and previous looks at this golf course come to the fore. The areas around the greens here aren't the easiest to chip from and require creativity, which is why course experience is key, as stated above.

Approaches from 150-200 Yards - I would even be tempted to lengthen this to 175-200, in order to get a better indicator of who's hitting their mid-to-long irons the best at the moment. Holding these greens, to avoid tricky around-the-green shots could be key.

The Genesis Invitational Winner Betting Odds

+950Jon Rahm
+1200Patrick Cantlay
+1600Justin Thomas
+1800Dustin Johnson
+2000Collin Morikawa
+2200Rory Mcllroy
+2200Xander Schauffele
+2500Cameron Smith
+2500Hideki Matsuyama
+2700Viktor Hovland
+3000Scottie Scheffler
+3000Will Zalatoris
+3500Brooks Koepka
+4000Jordan Spieth
+4000Sam Burns
+4000Sungjae Im

Click Here for Genesis Invitational Odds

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Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!


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