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Genesis Invitational Preview

Genesis Invitational
Photo Copyright Steve Haag

Genesis Invitational Preview

A weekend after the Academy Awards dominated the LA landscape, the world’s top golfers head to Tinseltown, with an event hosted by their biggest A-lister: Tiger Woods.

Riviera is a jewel of the West Coast and has been the near-continuous host of this event since 1973. It is a classical tree-lined test that is amongst the most famed courses in America.

It also hosted both the 1983 and 1995 US PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy has recaptured the World Number One slot and will be looking to make a major statement this week.

Tiger Woods actually made his PGA debut here in 1992 at the age of 16, playing off of a sponsor’s exemption. Strangely enough, this is one of the few courses where he is yet to taste victory.

Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas linger just behind McIlroy in the markets while Dustin Johnson needs to find some traction with that errant putter.

Nine of the world’s top 10 players will be in attendance this week, making this a wonderful precursor to both the Player Championship and Masters.

Past Winners

2019: J.B Holmes (-14)
2018: Bubba Watson (-12)
2017: Dustin Johnson (-17)
2016: Bubba Watson (-15)
2015: James Hahn (-6)*playoff

Outright Betting

Rory McIlroy – 15/2
Justin Thomas – 9/1
Jon Rahm – 9/1
Dustin Johnson – 14/1
Tiger Woods – 18/1

Value Bets

Sergio Garcia
To Win (50/1), To Place (11/1)

Garcia is currently tinkering with his clubs, which always makes backing a player slightly precarious.

But the evergreen Spaniard has been playing some consistent golf since tasting victory at last year’s KLM Open.

His recent desert swing saw finishes of T23 in Dubai, T8 in Abu Dhabi and sixth in Saudi Arabia.

His tee-to-green game has been splendid: he finished second in shots gained approach last time out in Saudi Arabia.

Garcia has shown amazing consistency around this course. He has top 4 finishes in 2012 and 2015. He also finished sixth way back in 2007. Perhaps more importantly, he has seven top 25 finishes in his twelve visits here.

Joaquin Niemann
To Win (90/1), To Place (19/1)

It’s easy to forget that young Chilean Joaquin Niemann is five years younger than the likes of Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas. He will be making his second trip to Riviera.

Last year he never really shone, though a second round 66 indicating a potential affinity for the course.

Niemann won his first event at Old White TPC, which is a similar classical test to Riviera.

The youngest international PGA Tour winner since 1923, Niemann has played well this season without getting the rewards.

Niemann sits 64th in the World Rankings. That puts him directly on the cut line for the WGC Match-play, which should motivate him to perform well this week.

The Man to Beat

Tony Finau
To Win (28/1), To Place (6/1)

There will be many who will be rooting for the affable Tony Finau this week.

He is far too good a player to still be stranded on one PGA Tour win.

His recent runner-up finish at TPC Scottsdale could be viewed as yet another choke by Finau. But in my opinion, it was Webb Simpson who won that event.

Finau now has three top 10 finishes in his last four starts.

He finished runner-up at Riviera in 2018, following that up with a tie for 15th last year.

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