Quick look at the Genesis Open
February 13, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Genesis Open preview
Hogan. Snead. Nelson. The biggest names in golf have won there, and the biggest names will headline at this week’s Genesis Open at 7,322-yard, par-71 Riviera Country Club. Matt Kuchar and Xander Schauffele, FedExCup Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, are separated by just 8 points. Bubba Watson has won the Genesis three times, Phil Mickelson twice, Dustin Johnson once. Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are winless here on TOUR, as is Tiger Woods, who will try to address one of the only holes in his golfing resume.
To go or not to go? Players often try to drive the 315-yard, par-4 10th hole, with mixed results. Simply put, the shallow and well-bunkered green provides a stiff defense whether they’re trying to hit it with their first or second shots. Statistically, 61 percent of players have gone for the green off the tee since 2014, making birdie or better 30 percent of the time. The winners since ’14 are a combined 1-under when going for it and 2-over when laying up. Translation: Going for the green just might be a gamble worth taking.
Riviera Country Club - Hole No. 10
The 503-yard, par-5 opening hole provides an unusually elevated tee shot and a gentle start to the round. It has given up the most eagles on TOUR since 2004 (414), and winner Bubba Watson went a combined 5 under there last year, the fourth winner in the ShotLink era (since 2003) to play it in 5 under or better. Nearly 98 percent of the field went for the green in two last year, the highest percentage of any hole on TOUR.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Wade Stettner: “Rain will continue through the day on Thursday and could be heavy at times, especially during the afternoon hours when a front is forecast to reach LA. Total rainfall on Thursday is expected around 1 inch. Rain will taper off Thursday evening. Scattered showers are possible on Friday with the better chance during the afternoon hours. Dry conditions are forecast on Saturday, but there will be another chance of showers Sunday afternoon. Temperatures will be cool this week with afternoon highs only in the lower 60s each day.”
For the latest weather news from Pacific Palisades, Calif., check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKI'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself because a lot of people are pulling for me, and I'm pulling for myself, too.
BY THE NUMBERS
1926 – First year the Genesis was played, making it the seventh-oldest active TOUR event, behind The Open Championship (1860), U.S. Open (1895), BMW Championship (1899), RBC Canadian Open (1904), PGA Championship (1916), and Valero Texas Open (1922).
25 – Tiger Woods’ MC a year ago was only the 25th missed cut of his long career. In 17 TOUR starts since, his only MC came at the 2018 U.S. Open.
4 – Rounds of 64 or better already this season for Matt Kuchar, who leads the FedExCup by 8 points after wins at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Sony Open in Hawaii.
2.814 – Winner Bubba Watson’s Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last year, second best in the field. He was 21st in SG: Putting (+.767)
Tiger’s to-do list: Woods made his first PGA TOUR start at age 16, in 1992. He missed the cut. Last year he missed the cut again. He’ll make his 13th career start at Riviera this week, the only TOUR course where he’s never won in 10 or more attempts.
Black History Month: The Genesis will mark the 50th anniversary of Charlie Sifford’s win at the TOUR’s L.A. stop in 1969 (played at Rancho Municipal G.C.) and the 10th year of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption. Tim O’Neal is the 2019 recipient of the Sifford Exemption, named for the first African-American to play the TOUR in 1960.
Spieth has good memories: Jordan Spieth, who flashed some form in the first two rounds of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am before slogging through a forgettable weekend, has never won the Genesis. A T4 finish in 2015 remains his best result in six starts. However, as a member of the Texas golf team he helped the Longhorns win the 2012 NCAA championship at Riviera.
DJ going for history: Dustin Johnson, who won the Genesis in 2017 and was runner up in 2014 and ’15, has 19 TOUR wins at age 34. In the last 50 years, only four players have reached 20 wins before age 35: Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller and Phil Mickelson.