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Horses for Courses: Riviera provides familiar walk for TOUR stars

3 Min Read

Horses for Courses

Horses for Courses: Riviera provides familiar walk for TOUR stars

    The city of blinding lights welcomes 131 of the best players to The Genesis Invitational at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. Considered a classic course in every sense, this masterpiece was designed by legendary architect George C. Thomas in the late 1920s. A wonderful test featuring doglegs, elevation changes, Kikuyu grass and Poa annua greens will test not only all 14 clubs in the bag but the space between the ears.

    The elevated event, a designation shared with only the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial tournament, features a prize pool of $20 million with the winner taking home $3.6 million plus 550 FedExCup points.

    Many aspects in golf have changed in recent years but Riviera’s par-71, 7,332-yard layout, greens and design has not. Adam Scott (+5500), the tournament’s all-time winning money leader, fell in love in his first visit, winning a weather-shortened event in 36 holes in 2005. He returned the following year to take second and added another T2 in 2016. Playing every event since 2016, the Australian returned to the winner's circle officially in 2020 and cashed a T4 last year. He's cashed in nine straight and 13 of 14 career. Nobody playing this week can match his top-10 returns, seven from 14 attempts.

    Southern California native Max Homa (+2000) cracked the code here in 2021 as he defeated Tony Finau in a playoff to win in his fifth visit. Signing for a T5 with a 65 on the card in 2020 should have provided the first clue. Defending in his own backyard last year he opened with 66 before collecting a T10. His streak is currently at four in a row and 13 of his last 16 rounds are in the red, including 10 of 11.

    Looking to regain the mark of world No. 1, Rory McIlroy (+950)returns to "Hogan's Alley" for the sixth consecutive season and seventh appearance overall. Only missing the weekend once (2021) he's never cashed outside the top 20. Top-10 returns include three of the last four years, with a T4 in 2019 the pinnacle. Interestingly, he's only posted one round of 22 lower than 67 – that was a second-round 63 in 2019.

    Justin Thomas (+1600)never missed a weekend in his first five trips to Riviera before back-to-back early exits in 2020 and 2021. The ship was righted last year, as his T6 included his seventh score of 67 or better from 28 career rounds (64 in Round 2). Thomas will feel he's owed one here, as he led by five in the final round in 2019 before settling for second. His last five trips have resulted in a trio of top-10 paydays and two MC. Volatile.

    For those that are more visually inclined, take a look at the breakdown below for event-specific data on some of the top players in the field – and some insight on a few that may not be household names but could surprise this week given course fit and history:

    Top Players entered this week (cuts made/events entered)Top 10Top 25Scoring AverageRecent BestNotes
    Collin Morikawa (3/3)1169.42T2 2022T43-T26 previous 2 years; closed 65 last year; all 4 rds 60s 2022
    Jon Rahm (4/4)2469.38T5 2021T9 2019; T21 last year is worst; 65 to close last year too
    Tony Finau (6/8)2370.36P2 2021T2 2018; 5 straight.
    Adam Scott (13/14)71069.54T4 20222020 winner; 6 of last 8 T11 or better; 2004 debut win 36 holes; 9 straight.
    Justin Thomas (6/8)3370.216th 20222nd 2019 when closed with 75; all 3 top 10s in last 5; so are both MC
    Scottie Scheffler (3/4)1270.29T7 2022Trending T30-T20-T7; best last year by 9 shots
    Jordan Spieth (8/10)2570.42T9 2018T4 2015; 6 straight and 4 T30 or better
    Tiger Woods (11/14)4970.33T15 201968th in last visit 2020; only 3 trips since 2006; most starts never won
    Rory McIlroy (5/6)3569.59T10 2022T5 2021, T4 2019; Worst is T20 twice
    Max Homa (4/6)3369.80Win 2021T10 2022, T5 2020 makes three straight paydays; LA Native. 4 straight.

    Eye Catchers entered this week (cuts made/events entered)Top 10Top 25Scoring AverageRecent BestNotes
    Alex Noren (4/4)0270.50T12 2021T16 2018 debut
    Patrick Rodgers (5/7)0370.42T12 20215 straight T30 or better busted with 2022 MC
    James Hahn (8/9)1470.35T15 20214 of last 5 T28 or better; 2015 winner; 6 of 8 T29 or better
    Luke List (4/8)0270.45T15 2019T30 or better in all paydays
    KH Lee (4/4)0270.50T13 2020T25 2019 debut; T26 2022
    Russell Henley (5/7)0171.13T17 2020cashed last 4 years and previous 5 starts
    Chez Reavie (5/12)3371.91T10 2022T10 2020 plus 7th 2016; top 10 or bust!
    Justin Rose (11/12)2470.52T4 2017Cashed in last 7 visits; 2020 only start since 2017
    Matt Kuchar (14/16)2670.50T2 2020concluded 5 straight T28 or better; shared 54 hole lead; T67-MC L2Y
    Adam Hadwin (7/8)1370.67T6 2018T34 or better in 6 of 7; 7 straight busted 2022 MC

    -odds courtesy of BETMGM.COM-

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