2023 The Genesis Invitational
The Riviera Country Club
Pacific Palisades, CA
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I’d tell you to follow him on Twitter but if you’re here you probably ain’t on Twitter! @RobBoltonGolf just in case!
My favorite non-major event. Big time course. Bright lights of LA. Massive field.
And the LARGE CAT.
Imagine the stones on this guy! Shows up to play at an event that he’s never won plus the scene of his almost tragic accident. Toss in a course that’s hardly a walk in the park and we’ve got ACTION.
Won’t get the “California Dreamin'” sunshine until Sunday as clouds will be the order of the first three days. Doesn’t appear the wind will have a big role in the proceedings but this golf course doesn’t need any help in the difficulty department.
Last year the weather was perfect as Joaquin Niemann opened 63-63-68 to set a multitude of records. He didn’t catch Lanny Wadkins’ 264, which has remained the scoring record here since the mid-80s.
Hello Niemann? Nope, goodbye. He’s ineligible to defend this week as he’s chosen to apply his trade on the LIV Tour.
The elevated event will produce a field of 129 after Brendan Steele’s WD on Tuesday.
|Host Course||The Riviera Country Club|
|Yards (per official scorecard):||7,332.|
|Greens:||Poa annua; 7,500 square feet.|
|Rough:||Kikuyu grass at two inches.|
|Bunkers/Water Hazards/In Play||58/0/0|
|Architect(s):||George C. Thomas (1927).|
|Purse:||$20 million; ($3.6 winner plus 550 FedExCup points).|
|Defending Champion:||Joaquin Niemann (not entered).|
|Multiple Champion(s) Entered:||Adam Scott (2020, 2005 – not official).|
|72 Hole Tournament Record: (post redesign)||264; Lanny Wadkins (1985).|
|Oldest Winner:||43; Steve Stricker (2010).|
|Youngest Winner:||23; Joaquin Niemann (2022)|
|Course Record:||61; Ted Tryba (1999).|
|Fact of the Week:||Course played UNDER PAR last year for the first time in forever.|
|Fact of the Week II:||Only six international winners since 2000.|
- Field of 129
- Cut to Top 60 and ties after two rounds
Los Angeles has already received over 10 inches of rain in 2023 so firm and fast isn’t going to be in the recipe this week. Should help ball-strikers and big hitters even more!
2022-2023 Season Winners
|Fortinet Championship||Max Homa|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||Mackenzie Holmes|
|Shriners Children’s Open||Tom Kim|
|ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP||Keegan Bradley|
|CJ CUP at CONGAREE||Rory McIlroy|
|Butterfield Bermuda Championship||Seamus Power|
|Mayakoba Championship||Russell Henley|
|Cadence Bank Houston Open||Tony Finau|
|The RSM Classic||Adam Svensson (first TOUR win)|
|Sentry Tournament of Champions||Jon Rahm|
|Sony Open in Hawaii||Si Woo Kim|
|The AMERICAN EXPRESS||Jon Rahm (2)|
|Farmers Insurance Open||Max Homa (2)|
|AT&T Pebble Beach||Justin Rose|
|WM Phoenix Open||Scottie Scheffler|
Recent Event Winners
Italics – not entered this week
|2022||Joaquin Niemann (-19)||Wire-to-wire winner, only the fourth in history.|
|2021||Max Homa (-12)||Defeated Tony Finau in a playoff.|
|2020||Adam Scott (-11)||Last debut winner in 2004 backed it up with a 72-hole victory in the first installment as an elevated event.|
|2019||JB Holmes||Trailed by seven in the final round before catching and passing Justin Thomas for the win.|
|2018||Bubba Watson (-12)||Won for the third time as he held off Finau by two shots.|
|2017||Dustin Johnson (-17)||Won for the second time as he cruised by five shots.|
|2016||Bubba Watson (-15)||Picked up his second win as he held off Adam Scott by a shot.|
|2015||James Hahn (-6)||Won a three-man playoff to pick up his first victory on TOUR.|
This Week – The Genesis Invitational
No offense to Torrey Pines. Or Pebble Beach. Or all of our rowdy friends in Scottsdale.
But this is it.
This is what it should look like.
No distractions of the beautiful California coast line or celebrity swings.
No distractions of CUP SNAKES, plastic surgery or general debauchery.
Proper course. Proper field. Proper host.
The OWGR is represented as 23 of the top 25 eligible are in the field.
The top 30 of the FedExCup Points standings also will compete.
The prize funded is amped to the tune of $20 million for the first full field ELEVATED event of the season. Same $3.6 million as last week but the FedExCup points are now 550 plus the exemption is three years, not two.
Plenty of Masters champions litter the winners (Scott, DJ, Watson, Mickelson, and Weir) this century. All of them are multiple champions at The Riv as well.
A proper test of golf this week will put to use all 14 clubs in the bag. The Par-4 holes include three of the toughest 50 on TOUR annually and have four that play 470 yards or better.
Par-3 holes are no picnic either as three of the four stretch over 190 yards. One has a bunker in the middle. Another is 236 from the tips.
Par-5 holes, just three of them, will provide the opportunity to stabilize the proceedings. Scoring on the first, at just 503 downhill yards, is required.
Time for barranca and Kikuyu! Don’t like it? Don’t hit it in there! Recovery creativity and short game nerves will come in handy this week as well.
Chalk (via BetMGM)
Jon Rahm (+750): Same number as last week! Essentially same course form. Nothing better than 66 or worse than 68 last week with less than his best. Best stroke average in the field with 10 or more rounds on his books.
Rory McIlroy (+900): Playing with Tiger and JT should feel like a home game. Unbelievable to think NONE OF THEM have won here. Managing the circus is part of it but so is feeding off one another.
Scottie Scheffler (+1000): Best of his three visits last year and it came after his first win. Not sure what, if anything, bothers him. Bit boring but effective as hell!
Justin Thomas (+1400): Moves up the board this week at a course where he’s MC in 2 of his last 3 starts! He’s hit the top 10 in three of his last five though. I’ll save him for Bermuda.
Tony Finau (+1600): His part of the world on his grass! A pair of runner up finishes in the last five years and a streak of five straight at the event.
Xander Schauffele (+1600): Only one top 10 here from five starts.
Patrick Cantlay (+2000): Loves the desert. Check his numbers at TPC Summerlin!
Max Homa (+2000): Keep reading everything I’ve posted this week.
Collin Morikawa (+2200): For a guy who lives at The Summit Club and plays a TON of golf in Las Vegas, last week’s MC was a mystery. T2 here last year in benign conditions on 17-under.
Patrick Cantlay (+2500): Like Schauffele, only one top. MC last week should have him eager to bounce back.
Top 10/Top 20/Top 40
Jordan Spieth – How much do YOU trust his putter?
Sungjae Im – Nothing here in three visits but back to back top 10s on TOUR.
Jason Day – See: Im, Sungjae.
Adam Scott – All you can get.
Seamus Power – Run of T25 or better is impressive.
DESIGNATED and ELEVATED EVENT WEEK PEOPLE!
Not winning or hitting the podium on these weeks is turning into my specialty! I’m going with SoCal experience and a 2000s trend.
MY CHOICE: Max Homa
Time to panic but if this is where I turn, it’s COMFORT PANIC.
Favorite course. Favorite city. Favorite event.
I’m done over thinking. Some would suggest I’ve been done with the thinking for a while!
Others to consider:
Scottie Scheffler – If ANYONE has the “I don’t care if I won last week” gene, he’s definitely in a small group that does. Hard to point to all of his successes on Poa but there will be plenty this week hopping aboard.
Xander Schauffele – I’d save him for the US Open as his track record in that event is something. BUT. I did play him LAST WEEK and he did lead the field in GIR.
Justin Thomas – Playing with his best mate and Rors this week should settle him right in. He also won’t be the third wheel in shit talking this week as neither Woods nor McIlroy has won here.
Tony Finau – Gone close twice here and has lurked at Torrey Pines.
Just missed: Adam Scott, Jason Day (no course history), Keegan Bradley,
Use ’em wherever you see fit! All players listed are +10000 or worse and are for a reason or two!
Last Week – WM Phoenix Open
Chalk (via BetMGM)
Jon Rahm (+750): Here we go again! His best finish is T5 when he was playing at ASU. Solo third. Finally hit the podium and did so with his B-minus game.
Rory McIlroy (+800): Only played here once before, T13 in 2021. T32 as he opened with 73 and never threatened. Lesson learned.
Scottie Scheffler (+1200): First time defending as he picked up his maiden TOUR win here last year. Well, that wasn’t so hard! Of his four rounds in the 60s, he posted 64 in Round 2 and closed with 65. WINNER.
Xander Schauffele (+1600): Feels he’s owed something here after back to back podium finishes the last two seasons. Led the field in GIR and was T10 Fairways. One guess on the club that didn’t show! T13.
Collin Morikawa (+1800): Done everything but win this year in two events. Putting is NOT the key this week so he stands out even more as well as he hits it tee to green. MC.
Justin Thomas (+2000): Quiet start so far but annually contends here. Played the weekend 67-65 for solo fourth, but was six shots back.
Patrick Cantlay (+2000): Loves the desert. Check his numbers at TPC Summerlin! Joined Morikawa on the MC early jet set home. Shocking after his playoff loss a year ago.
Tony Finau (+2000): Only one big finish here with FIVE MC. T14 after 71 on Sunday. Just not his event for our purposes.
Max Homa (+2200): This field and atmosphere aren’t going to bother him one bit. The days of him in the +2000s aren’t going to be here forever. Hit it all over the shop (T51, T54) for T39.
Cameron Young (+2800): If Par Breakers are required, not sure who’s been making more of them recently! Second last week in the Middle East. Squared SIX DOUBLE BOGEYS and was 62nd of 66 in putting. HOW WE LOOKIN?? 64TH.
Sungjae Im (+2800): Doesn’t pop it but he knows where it’s going. DNS here in 2022. T6 as the Las Vegas champ did his best Cantlay impersonation this week!
Hideki Matsuyama (+2800): T9 at Torrey Pines suggests he should be in play on a course he loves this week. Opened with 74 before finally kicking on. Can’t throw away a round here without sub 64! T32.
Top 10/Top 20/Top 40
Tom Kim – Sounds right up his alley. 73-73 weekend T50.
Jason Day – Top 20 as six of his last seven are T21 or better. Solo 5th
Keegan Bradley – Top 10 as he won’t have the Patriots to distract him. Solo second to Homa last time out at FIO. T20
Keith Mitchell – T10 or Top 20 or both as he’s trending into town. 67 on Sunday couldn’t save T42
Brian Harman – Rattled of seven straight here with the best T14 last year. T42
Adam Hadwin – Also seven straight but never into the top 10. FINALLY! T10
JT Poston – Let’s make it five in a row. Nope! MC
I’m back for another year of punishment, longing and second guessing.
Oh, and I’m in Spotter’s One and Done league again!
Each week I’ll throw five names in here who should or SHOULD NOT be looked upon when making your weekly suggestion.
With only 30-odd events in 2023 it will streamline our decision making quite a bit. Not going to want to roll into the final week with 3 or 4 premium players sitting on the bench!
DESIGNATED EVENT WEEK PEOPLE! – WM Phoenix Open
Gotta win a few of these events that matter! It’s more than TWICE what Rose won last week so time to unleash!
MY CHOICE: Xander Schauffele T10 – $485,000
I didn’t get it right. Not hitting a podium in these events is SUBOPTIMAL.
I am SUBOPTIMAL.
Use ’em wherever you see fit! All players listed are +10000 or worse for a reason!
Brendan Steele MC
Taylor Pendrith T57
Christiaan Bezuidenhout MC
Davis Thompson MC
Mark Hubbard MC
James Hahn T32
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