The PGA Tour’s west coast swing concludes this week with the Genesis Invitational, hosted annually by golf legend Tiger Woods at Riviera Country Club.
Riviera, where Woods made his first PGA Tour start as a high school sophomore in 1992, has played host to three major championships: the 1948 U.S. Open and the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995. It will also be the venue for golf at the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Los Angeles.
Last year, we saw a hometown star shine through at the Genesis, as Burbank, CA native Max Homa defeated Tony Finau in a two-hole playoff. Homa held his nerve just enough in the end, bouncing back after missing a three-foot putt on the 72nd hole that would’ve sealed the title in regulation.
The Genesis has brought in another star-studded field this year, so we should be in for a great week of golf.
After a poor showing last week on the betting side, let’s see if I can find some winners this time around as we dig into the odds.
Genesis Invitational Winner Odds 2022
Genesis Invitational winner PGA odds are current as of 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, February 15 and provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
- Jon Rahm (+900)
- Patrick Cantlay (+1200)
- Dustin Johnson (+1600)
- Justin Thomas (+1600)
- Collin Morikawa (+1800)
- Rory McIlroy (+2200)
- Viktor Hovland (+2500)
- Scottie Scheffler (+2500)
- Cameron Smith (+2500)
- Xander Schauffele (+2500)
Genesis Invitational Course Tips
Riviera Country Club (Pacific Palisades, CA)
- Par 71 (7,322 yards)
- Despite the official yardage, Riviera generally plays longer than listed because the opening hole on each nine is particularly short. No. 1 is a 503-yard Par 5, which cedes birdies or better 66% of the time, while No. 10 is a driveable Par 4 that is listed at 315 yards. That leaves plenty of yardage to make up for the rest of the round, as there are six Par 4s in the 450-500 yard range.
- With Riviera playing on the longer side, about 50% of approach shots will come from 150-200 yards out and an additional 23% will come from beyond 200. Shorter hitters can succeed here, but they’ll need to be tuned in with their long irons to have success.
- Just over 57% of players reach the green in regulation at Riviera, about 9% fewer than the Tour average tournament, according to Fantasy National. That will put an emphasis on around the green play, as golfers will have to scramble effectively to make par on some of these long Par 4s.
- As we’re back in California this week, the greens at Riviera CC are Poa annua. Poa greens can be tricky to navigate, and these typically play firm and fast, which will lead to a higher three-putt percentage than we typically see on a given week. Even the short ones aren’t gimmes here.
Genesis Invitational Field
The fact that this is an invitational means we have a slightly reduced field this week. Just 120 players will tee it up at Riviera. That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of quality, though. Each of the top-10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings will make the trip to California.
Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay will look to continue their strong play after top-10 finishes last week in Phoenix, while Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Collin Morikawa are back after playing overseas on the DB World Tour the past few weeks.
Homa (+4000) will look to be the first player to successfully defend his title at Riviera since Phil Mickelson went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009, while Scheffler will be hoping to go back-to-back after earning his first win in 71 career starts last week.
Genesis Invitational Best Bets
Cameron Smith to Win Genesis Invitational (+2500) at Caesars
Smith hasn’t played in the U.S. since missing the cut at the Sony Open, but he’s coming off a T-4 finish in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago and won the Sentry Tournament of Champions by holding off World No. 1 Jon Rahm to kick off the year in Hawaii.
The Australian is particularly strong around the greens and with the flatstick, both of which should come in handy here. He’s also made some major gains off the tee, which he showed off in the TOC win by ranking fourth that week in driving distance at 302.6 yards.
He’s finished T-6 or better in two of the past four years at Riviera and should be in the mix again this week.
Bubba Watson to Win Genesis Invitational (+4000) at Caesars
Watson is the definition of a horse for the course. He has won three times at Riviera (2014, 2016, 2018) during his illustrious career.
The lefty is also in the midst of an impressive run of form at the moment. Watson finished second in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago and picked up a T-14 last week in Phoenix, where he led the field in Strokes Gained Approach (7.7) and failed to capitalize on the greens.
A return to a comfort course could be just what Bubba needs to get back in the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018.
Rory McIlroy Top-5 Finish (+450) at Caesars
McIlroy may also end up on my outright betting card come Thursday morning, but I don’t mind playing him as a top-5 if I don’t get involved.
The Northern Irishman should have won his last time out at the Dubai Desert Classic but a final-round 71 allowed Viktor Hovland and Richard Bland to chase him down, with Hovland emerging victorious over Bland in a playoff.
One of the longest drivers on Tour, McIlroy has had plenty of success here as well. He recorded a pair of top-five finishes in 2020 and 2019 before missing the cut here last year, so he’ll be eager to get back into contention this time around.
Dustin Johnson Top-10 Finish (+180) at Caesars
When it comes to course history at Riviera, DJ’s is unmatched. He won the Genesis in 2017 after finishing runner-up in 2014 and 2015. In the four years since the win, he’s finished no worse than T-16 and has been in the top 10 three times.
Given his distance off the tee and propensity for putting on these poa greens, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see DJ contend again this year. His form over the past year hasn’t been great, but he’s starting to turn the corner.
Xander Schauffele Top-20 Finish (+110) at Caesars
Schauffele led the field in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green last week in Phoenix, but left a few too many putts short en route to a T-3 finish.
If he can come close to replicating last week’s performance in which he gained 4+ strokes off the tee, on approach, and around the greens, he’ll be in contention again.
Top Scottish Player: Robert MacIntyre (+163) at Caesars
Riviera has drawn some comparisons to Augusta National, given the firm and fast greens and the success that lefties like Mickelson and Watson have had on both courses.
MacIntyre fits the mold as a long-hitting lefty that finished T-12 on his first trip to The Masters in 2021. He’s got Martin Laird and Russell Knox for competition in this category, both of whom are playing pretty well, but length should be a distinguishing factor his week.
Mackenzie Hughes Over Adam Hadwin & Aaron Rai (+150) at Caesars
Hughes hasn’t had the most success at this course, missing the cut in two previous starts before a T-31 last year, but I feel like Riviera should be suited for him.
The Canadian has a little Jordan Spieth in him around the greens and is one of the better putters on Tour. He generally plays his best golf on harder courses and is a class above these two.
Genesis Invitational Event Details
- Dates: Thursday, February 17 - Sunday, February 20, 2022
- Course: Riviera Country Club
- Course Dimensions: Par 71 (7,322 yards)
- 2021 Genesis Invitational Winner: Max Homa
- How to Watch: ESPN+/Golf Channel/CBS