What do you get when you combine the design of Riviera Country Club, the exclusivity of a 120-man field, the elegance of its construct and improved perks for the champion?
Introducing the latest iteration of The Genesis Invitational.
The anchor of the West Coast Swing got a detailing for its 94th edition, but Tiger Woods remains the host. Lost on no one is the irony that he made his PGA TOUR debut here in 1992, yet he's winless in 13 career appearances. So, if you're scripting the possibility in La La Land, it'd be poetic on this property for Woods to collect career victory No. 83 and break his tie with Sam Snead for most all-time.
Scroll past the projected contenders for details on how the tournament was modified, what the field expects at the Riv, what the winner receives and more.
POWER RANKINGS: THE GENESIS INVITATIONAL
Notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider will include defending champion J.B. Holmes, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am champ Nick Taylor.
Save the 2010 edition when 132 golfers filled the field at Riviera, the previous versions of The Genesis Invitational throughout the FedExCup era reserved space for 144. It included open qualifiers. However, having shifted into the current role as an invite (absent the four-spotter), and having extended the opportunity to play to all 125 who qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs in 2019, the field is as strong as it's ever been. In fact, until Chesson Hadley and Brice Garnett withdrew after the commitment deadline, it was poised to be a 122-man competition given the plethora of automatic qualifiers. (For other invitationals, only the top 60, 70 or 80 from the previous Playoffs qualify automatically.)
Not unlike how the Batman signal in the sky attracts the superhero's attention, a historic venue generates a high-quality field, and Riviera doesn't disappoint. It checks the boxes of firm and fair, and it will again this week. Consistently maintained to challenge the world's best, par never is a bad score on the par 35-36–71. The field average has landed over par every year since 2010. Last year's was 71.199.
For the fifth consecutive edition, Riviera will tip at 7,322 yards. The only impactful change can be found to the right of the green on the par-4 fifth hole where a collection area has been added. Poa annua greens will reach 12-and-a-half feet on the Stimpmeter. The shortest kikuyu rough is presented at an inch and a half.
The recent litany of long hitters capturing victory here demonstrates the value of the power and precision, but as easy as it might be to hang the same label on defending champion J.B. Holmes because he ranked ninth in distance of all drives, T2 in greens in regulation (averaging 13 per round) and 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, that would overlook him paying off the scoring opportunities on the greens. He also led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. He missed on only three of 10 tries from 10-15 feet.
Holmes also paced the field in par-3 scoring and co-led in par-4 scoring, the latter of which is as close to a prerequisite as it gets for everyone planning to see his name on the electronic scoreboards regularly. Riviera's par 4s are among the most difficult on TOUR every season. Interesting, and perhaps infuriatingly for those who overthink it, the famous 10th hole was the easiest of the 11 par 4s last year. It averaged 3.767.
At the certainty of burying the lede, a stacked field also shows to get paid. This year's prize fund is a record $9.3 million. It's an increase of $1.9 million over last year. In addition to the standard 500 FedExCup points and invitations into an array of tournaments, the winner will receive $1.674 million. Also new this year is a three-year membership exemption that aligns with the same earned by the winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
The elements will do their part in identifying a worthy champion. Sunshine, light winds and daytime highs in the low 60s are expected throughout.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.