RETURNING champion Dustin Johnson must be real favourite for the Genesis Open with six top-four finishes from 10 appearances and won by five shots last year from Thomas Pieters on -17.
- Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California: 7322 yards: Par 71.
Quite a few doglegs on this course and the par-three sixth has a bunker in the middle of the green.Although the ball sits up on the Kikuyu grass on the fairways if you land in the thick rough the ball could disappear or at least make control impossible.
Also putting could be quite important as the greens here are notoriously difficult. So driving accuracy and greens in regulation could be the relevant stats.
Johnson was also runner-up in 2014 and 2015. Although he missed the cut at Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago his form looks good coming into the Riviera – T6th at Kapalua, 2nd in Abu Dhabi and a T2 last week at Pebble Beach.
He wasn’t the most accurate off the tee last year at Riviera Club but did manage to hold the rest of his game together and the POA grass on the greens suited him. I love to watch big DJ when he is on his game (also depressing when he’s not) but this week he will almost certainly be there on the Sunday and as he will be short favourite backing him to win is probably the way to go.
- Driving Accuracy: 64.33% (54th). GIR: 72.22% (31st). Putting Average: 1.660 (2nd).
Although my selection last week only managed a T20 at Pebble Beach Spieth looked like his old self. Pebble Beach has POA grass on the greens which he is comfortable on. He still wasn’t at his best with the flatstick but he is strong in other aspects of his game.
In five outings here he has missed the cut twice but did finish fourth in 2015 and 12th in 2014, so course form isn’t that bad.
As I said last week once he gets back into the groove with the putter he will get on the winning trail once again. Quite happy to back the Texan this week.
- Driving Accuracy: 64.32%. GIR: 77.38% (2nd). Putting Average: 1.779 (121st).
One man who has caught my imagination this season is Ollie Schniederjans who finished T3 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this month. He finished off that tournament with a blemish free six-under 65.
He is strong in nearly all departments and I can see him being at the top of the game for years to come. Had five top-10s last year and it’s only a matter of time before he wins his first tournament. The 24-year-old Texan finished T8 here last year and it wouldn’t surprise me if he improved on that position this weekend.
- Driving Accuracy: 62.50% (81st). GIR: 69.21% (72nd). Putting Average: 1.716 (20th).