The Genesis Open, formerly known as the Northern Trust Open, was first played in 1926 and is played annually in Pacific Palisades, California. The tournament has been contested at the Riviera Country Club on a near-continuous basis since 1973.
Designed by golf course architect George C. Thomas Jr., Riviera has hosted the US Open in 1948 and the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1995. It also hosted the US Senior Open in 1998. Noted for its spectacular beauty and challenging design, Riviera Country Club is recognised as one of the best courses on the PGA Tour.
“Riviera is definitely one of the greatest, no-nonsense golf courses in the world. It requires a player to play every club in his bag and every shot in his game“Johnny Miller
Riviera is a Par 71 (35-36) that measures 7,349 yards. Finding the fairways and even the right part of the fairways is key in order to attack pins and set up birdie opportunities. The fairways and rough consist of a tough strain of grass called Kikuya which makes for perfect lies on the fairway, sitting the ball up. However in the rough the grass grabs and covers the ball minimising the ability to control shots.
As a 16-year-old amateur, Tiger Woods made his first PGA Tour start in 1992 at Riviera, competing on a sponsor’s exemption.
Greens in Regulation is the key attribute this week. With a premium on playing from the short stuff, distance gives way to accuracy from the tee. Experienced accurate ball strikers tend to do best with an efficient game tee-to-cup. Riviera is no bargain for scrambling so an A-game is required in getting the ball up and down around the small green complexes.
2020 Genesis Open | Adam Scott
Last year, Adam Scott secured his 14th PGA Tour title by winning the 2020 Genesis Open. He carded a final round -1 (70) for a -11 (273) total to win by two strokes from Sung Kang, Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar. The victory came 15 years after Scott won a playoff at Riviera that didn’t count as official because rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes.
“This is incredibly satisfying, it’s a place I’ve loved for many years and played well at a lot of times and to get an official victory here among one of the best fields we’ll have this year feels very, very good”Adam Scott
Tee-to-green is where the magic happened for the talented Aussie. He finished the week 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green which translated to a gain of just over 10 strokes on the field average. In particular, his iron play on approach was dialled-in finishing the week 3rd in the Strokes Gained Approach-The-Green. Other stats for the week include T63 for Driving Accuracy, 15th for Driving Distance, 1st for GIR and 27th in Strokes Gained Putting.
2019 Genesis Open | J.B. Holmes
In 2019, J.B. Holmes came from 4 shots back of Justin Thomas in the final round to win the Genesis Open. Holmes carded a final round -1 (70) to edge out JT by one stroke. It was his fifth PGA Tour win and first since the 2015 Shell Houston Open. Putting woes saw JT shoot a +4 (75) to open the door for Holmes to walk through.
“I knew it was going to be very difficult to shoot a low score, I needed some help from Justin”J.B. Holmes
Suspensions to play in earlier rounds due to inclement weather meant that Holmes and Thomas had to play 33 holes on the final day. They had just 30 minutes separating the end of their third round with the start of their final 18 holes.
Holmes finished the week first in SG:Putting, gaining 8.170 strokes on the field average for the week. This amounted to almost 55% of his overall strokes gained. He also finished 6th in the SG:Approach-The-Green (5.395 strokes) for the tournament. Other stats include T59 for Driving Accuracy, 41st for Driving Distance, T2 for GIR and 6th for Putts per GIR
2018 Genesis Open | Bubba Watson
In 2018, Bubba Watson carded a final round -2 (69) to finish on -12 (274) to win his third title at Riviera and 10th PGA Tour victory. His previous two victories in the tournament came in 2014 and 2016.
“It means a lot, my goal was always to get 10 wins and this got me to my 10th win. There’s so many emotions going around my head right now. You never know if you’re going to play good again, you never know if you’re going to be able to lift a trophy again.”Bubba Watson
Almost 80% of Bubba’s strokes gained on the field average came tee-to-green. The left-hander finished the week T27 for Driving Accuracy, T21 for Driving Distance, T7 for GIR and 13th for Putts per GIR
2017 Genesis Open | Dustin Johnson
The 2017 champion, Dustin Johnson, captured the Genesis Open with a five shot victory that propelled him to number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. His impressive play from the tee, in particular his length, coupled with a sure putting stroke were key to getting the job done.
“I believe in myself, I think I’m a great player, the best in the world — until now I probably wouldn’t have said I was the best in the world, but now I can say it.”Dustin Johnson
DJ finished the week 1st in Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee and 3rd in Stokes Gained Putting giving a combined 12.57 stroke gain on the field average for the week. Other stats included T45 for Driving Accuracy, 1st for Driving Distance, 1st for GIR and T16 for Putts per GIR.
2016 Northern Trust Open | Bubba Watson
In 2016, Bubba Watson, was two shots behind with four holes to play in the final round. Birdies on 16 & 17 was enough to capture his second title at Riviera. Bubba finished the week T16 for Driving Distance, T50 in Driving Accuracy and T7 for GIR. When he won in 2014 he was 1st, T8 and T3 for the same stats respectively.
2015 Northern Trust Open | Bubba Watson
2015 saw seven players having at least a share of the lead during the final round. James Hahn got up-and-down from behind the 18th green in regulation play to save par for a -2(69) and earn a place in a playoff with Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey. He holed a 25-foot birdie putt at the third extra hole to capture his first PGA Tour title. Hahn won with a negative Strokes Gained Putting ranking 50th for the stat.
Genesis Open Betting Tips 2021
Rory McIlroy 12/1 (E/W) – his last three results at Riviera read T20-T4-T5. Was tied for the lead in the final round last year but a triple bogey on the 5th followed by bogey on the 6th derailed his chances. Followed up a T16 in the Farmers Insurance Open with a T13 in the WM Phoenix Open, so, by his lofty standards, arriving somewhat under the radar. His stats this season are dire. Tee-to-green and in particular off-the-tee are rock solid, but as he approaches the green his game becomes somewhat untidy. That said, he can still grind out a score highlighted by his 7th place position on Tour for Scoring Average. This week’s challenge from both a course and field perspective will seriously appeal to the talented Northern Irishman. Needs something positive to happen before his drive down Magnolia Lane. Perfect week to get his mojo back.
Tony Finau 22/1 (E/W) – a regular at Riviera he followed up a T2 in 2018 with a T15 in 2019. It is his Current Form that puts him firmly on this week’s radar. Followed up a solo 4th at the American Express with a T2 in the Farmer’s Insurance Open. He also finished second to DJ a couple of weeks back at the Saudi International on the European Tour. A solid all-round game puts him just inside the Top 30 in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 19th on Tour for SG:Approach-The-Green and 10th for Scoring Average. A red hot flat stick is not critical this week which will suit the 31 year old. A regular on leaderboards he should be one of the main protagonists come Sunday. Big question is, can he get the monkey off his back and get that elusive second win on Tour? With his form right now, why not?
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