PGA Tour: Genesis Open Preview

Golfer lines up iron shot

We take a look at the Genesis Open which will be played between 15 February and 18 February at the Riviera Country Club. 

The PGA Tour moves about 300 miles down the Californian coast from Pebble Beach to Los Angeles for the prestigious end of the ‘West Coast Swing’. Originally known as the Los Angeles Open, this event has gone through several incarnations over the years, eventually landing up as the Genesis Open. 

Clearly much of the attention will focus on Tiger Woods, aiming to tame one of the few courses that have befuddled the great man over the years. Elsewhere, the crème de le crème of the golfing world have assembled for the most illustrious field of the season thus far.

Genesis Open | 15 February -18 February | Riviera Country Club, California

Riviera hosted it first Los Angeles Open in 1929 and this will be the 55th edition staged here. One of ‘Hogan’s Alleys’- along with Colonial- Riviera is a tight course that favors shot makers. It has great course corollary with Augusta- which is also a tight tree-lined course that is not overly punitive on errant driving. Riviera has increased in length prodigiously over the years- it measures over 7,300 yards- and the bigger hitters have certainly started to prosper here. Just look at the fact that Bubba Watson has won twice here, while Dustin Johnson is the defending champion. 

While Johnson is the defending champion, his fairly spectacular meltdown at Pebble Beach on Sunday makes an already unattractive 5/1 look damn near hideous. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas looks far more palatable from my vantage point while a considerable European charge is present in the likes of McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood. You also have the likes of Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey who seem to have course credentials. And as Ted Potter showed last week, anything can really happen on the PGA Tour. 


Past Winners
2017: Dustin Johnson (-17)
2016: Bubba Watson (-15)
2015: James Hahn (-6)*playoff
2014: Bubba Watson (-15)
2013: John Merrick (-11)*playoff

To Win Outright
Dustin Johnson 5/1 | Jordan Spieth 12/1 | Rory McIlroy 12/1 | Justin Thomas 18/1 | Phil Mickelson 22/1

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Value Bets

Paul Casey- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
Although he has not won on the tour since 2009, it’s impossible to deny the consistency of one of the best ball strikers on tour, especially for each-way punters. He had a top 10 finish at Pebble Beach, and reading backwards his form reads 8-8-11-19-7-5-33-4-5-13-5-11-5. He has made the top 10 in 40% of his last 50 starts. And he returns to a place where he lost in a play-off against James Hahn and Dustin Johnson in 2015. So the performance at Pebble Beach bodes well for this week. 

Alex Noren- To Win 45/1, To Place 19/2
The nine time European Tour winner may not exactly be a household name, but the metronomic Swede- that came off as slightly xenophobic- is a tremendous ball striker and has taking to the PGA Tour like a duck to water. His playoff defeat at the Farmers was followed by yet another steady showing in Phoenix, where he shot 65 and 68 and ended up just outside the top 20. While he hasn’t played here before, his ball striking and current form could make him a real contender this week. 

Luke List- To Win 125/1, To Place 25/1
Towards the lower echelons of the betting markets, I’m opting for a tremendous ball striker whose erratic putting may be forgiven this week: Johnson ranked 55th for putting last year while Hahn ranked 50th when he won. List is tremendous off the tee and has shown steady improvement with his irons in recent weeks, ranking inside the top 10 for greens hit at both the Farmers and Phoenix Open: he ultimately finished those events in in 12th and 26th respectively. List sat in seventh at the halfway point here on debut two years back, only for a third round meltdown to relegate him to a 20th-place finish.

The Man to Beat- Phil Mickelson: To Win 22/1, To Place 48/10
‘Lefty’s’ remarkable T2 last week followed up another top 5 finish in Phoenix- it was the first time he has achieved back-to-back top fives since 2013. He has won a remarkable 19 of his 42 PGA Tour Titles on the West Coast and comes to an event that he loves. He has never missed the cut in eight events, which includes two victories and two runner-up finishes. He has scrambled brilliantly over the last two weeks, finishing second and first respectively in that category. He seems to be eliminating the mistakes that have dogged him of late. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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