THE first playing of the Genesis Open was in 1926 and the purse was the richest prize in golf history … $10,000!
Now it is one of the top tournaments on the Tour and benefits many charities, the host organisation this year is the Tiger Wood Foundation. The Riviera Golf Club is renowned for its beauty and challenging course.
The greens will be prepped for 12.5 on the Stimpmeter and were ranked last year as the hardest to convert from inside 10ft. So don’t expect the tournament to be a putting contest.
With rain and wind due over Friday and Saturday power and precision tee to green could be a big influence. So I’ll be looking at SG:tee to green, par 4 scoring and bogey avoidance.
With six top 10s in 10 visits and only being out the top four twice from seven visits, Dustin Johnson has to be a selection. Big DJ has been so consistent since his 2016 US Open win with 12 top 10s. He also has great form at Riviera with five top-four finishes since 2010.
He must be due a win here with that record. His SG:tee to green stats at 2.117 (2nd), par scoring 3.9 (T18) and bogey avoidance of 12.30% (47) are certainly good enough for Dustin to do the business.
I’m sorry guys but I’m going to be predictable again and go for our Japanese friend Hideki. After his play-off win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Matsuyama had a week off and hopefully is well rested for this tough course.
The leader of the Fed-Ex is hard to leave out any week with form of two wins and two seconds from six outings. He has a Strokes Gained: Tee to green stat of 1.923n (7th), par four scoring of 2.82 (3nd) and a bogey avoidance of 8.80% (5th). His form hasn’t been that bad here – T11 last year, T4 (2015) and T23 (2014) and with his form at the moment he can do better this year.
Although Justin Thomas missed the cut at the WMPO two weeks ago his form has been phenomenal this year. With three wins from six outings he has hit the ground running and I’m going to forget that missed cut. He doesn’t have a great record here with no top 40s in two trips but like Matsuyama with the form he is in don’t rule him out. His SG:tee to green is 2.126 (1st), par four scoring of 3.73 (1st) and bogey avoidance 9.34 (8th) make him even a better contender.
Since winning the BMW PGA Championship in 2015 Byeong Hun An has not risen to the heights I expect from him. This year his form looks on the up. In the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last month he was in the mix until a final round 73 dropped him off the leaderboard.
Then at the Waste Management Phoenix he again two weeks ago he again was in the mix on the final day before, yes you’ve guessed it, another 73 knocked him down the rankings. So he has begun to get consistency back and if he can only hold his form for four rounds he could be in at the finish. His stats are SG:tee to green .719 (45), par 4 scoring 4.03 and bogey avoidance 15.28.