2022 Genesis Invitational Golf – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The final leg of the West Coast Swing in the PGA Tour takes place this week with what I believe to be the best of the tournaments once again saved for last as the great and good of golf head to Riviera Country Club for the Genesis Invitational.

Max Homa rounded off the leg of the tour in his home state in style last year when he overcame Tony Finau in a playoff and he will attempt to defend the title this week. A seriously top field has been assembled to provide the opposition to him though.

Recent Winners

2021 – Max Homa

2020 – Adam Scott

2019 – JB Holmes

2018 – Bubba Watson

2017 – Dustin Johnson

2016 – Bubba Watson

2015 – James Hahn

2014 – Bubba Watson

2013 – John Merrick

2012 – Bill Haas

The Course

Riviera Country Club is a course for the ages but it always generates a decent tournament. Don’t be swayed by the long hitters on the role of honour because the course has been soaked in recent years due to bad weather but the one thing we shouldn’t ignore is the amount of Augusta specialists that are on there. This course plays very similar to that one with the only difference being the smaller greens on this Californian track.

The course, which will host the Olympics in six years, is a par 71 which measures 7,322 yards and is very much a second shot golf course. You need good iron play into these greens and because they are small excellent scrambling is also a necessity too. Given that there isn’t a lot of trouble off the tee the bigger hitters can let their driver go but you don’t need length over an excellent second shot and in game. Precise iron play is huge here.

The Field

There is no tournament on the DP World Tour this week so all eyes will be on the Riviera Country Club. That is reflected on the quality of the field. We would usually have to wait for a major or a WGC event for the top 11 players in the world to tee it up in the same tournament but they are all at this one which means the likes of Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay are all in the field, as is Rory McIlroy who begins his Masters preparation here.

This field really is loaded everywhere you look. The defending champion Max Homa is here as is the man who broke his PGA Tour duck last week in Scottie Scheffler. Other notables include Hideki Matsuyama, Tournament of Champions winner Cameron Smith and former winners here in Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Adam Scott. A very strong European charge is bolstered by the likes of Matt Fitzpatrick, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters and Paul Casey. Star quality is everywhere you look this week.

Market Leaders

Jon Rahm is in the field this week and he is once again the favourite to win it. He is creeping towards a double figure price but hasn’t got there yet and begins the week as a 9/1 shot for glory. Rahm has been quite active recently and this is actually his fifth event in 2022 already. His class has seen him in the top 10 in three of those past four events but in each of them his putter has been a concern. You sense it is getting to him as well because his demeanour hasn’t been the usual relaxed nature recently. These greens are small which should help the putter to cooperate but until it does Rahm looks plenty short enough here.

Patrick Cantlay missed a putt to win the Phoenix Open on debut last week and eventually went down in a playoff. He is in some form right now though and is 12/1 to go one better this week. The FedExCup champion has form figures dating back to the BMW Championship of 1-4-4-9-4-2 which is incredible consistency. He has four straight top 20 finishes at Riviera and looks bullet proof in terms of a lack of weaknesses. If you can bring yourself to take 12/1 in a field as loaded as this then he should be high on your shortlist.

Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson come next in the betting at 16/1. Thomas flirted with the top end of the leaderboard at the Phoenix Open last week but disappeared over the weekend when once again he lost strokes with the putter. His long game was pristine so if he can sort out problems that have been there for a while then he should go well. Thomas has missed both cuts here since throwing the title away in 2019. He isn’t for me. I’ll elaborate on Johnson below.

Collin Morikawa comes next in the market at 20/1. He had a quiet time of it on the Desert Swing on the European Tour but we know he is top class and if the iron play is the key requirement around here there aren’t any in the world who better him in that department. The big concern is that he has played this event twice, admittedly in softer conditions, and T26 is the best he has finished. I wouldn’t be completely against him but he feels a little short at 20/1 right now.

Main Bets

Dustin Johnson is a former winner around here but he is more than that. He has an incredible record with his last seven entries in this event yielding results of 2-4-1-16-9-10-8. Johnson hasn’t played much in 2022 but he looked in decent order at Torrey Pines before a poor final round but in that tournament he gained more than eight strokes from tee to green and was in the top 10 on approach. His putter was cold there but the fact he was in contention in the Saudi International last time out suggests that club is warming up. You don’t need to be a special putter to win around here but you do need to strike the ball well and the longer ball strikers are better still. Johnson is an elite ball striker and has to be the main bet this week.

My other main bet isn’t an original pick because he fills this position in my team every year we come here. That is Bubba Watson who has won here three times. He went missing off the face of the earth after The Northern Trust in 2021 apart from being cheerleader at the Solheim Cup but he has begun 2022 in good style by finishing second in the Saudi International and T14 at the Phoenix Open last week. He gained almost nine shots from tee to green last week and led the field in strokes gained on approach but got nothing going with the short stick. I don’t know whether jet lag was a part of that or the change from UAE conditions to American ones. I do know one thing though and that is Bubba Watson is a creature of habit and you should back him at ‘Bubba tracks’. His seven PGA Tour wins have come at three tracks – here, Augusta and River Highlands. When a course suits his eye he goes well and so with his return to form under a new caddy being a welcome one I will have him as my second main bet.

Outsiders

As there is no DP World Tour event this week I’ll go with four outsiders here with the first of them a man who was second for me here five years ago and who I really think has a strong chance this week. Thomas Pieters has won twice on the DP World Tour in the last four months including at the Abu Dhabi Championship at the beginning of the year. Pieters has the ideal profile for here. He belts it long, eats up shots into the greens and generally putts well. The two events he won recently he gained more than 10 shots on the field from tee to green and although he was near the back of the field the second time he played this event his slump in form was going on then. It certainly isn’t now and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him right there this week.

Keegan Bradley was in my team last week because of his ball striking skills and although he could only finish T26 he would have been a lot higher up the leaderboard had it not been for a nightmare third round which actually wasn’t in keeping with the rest of his week at all. The fact he bounced back with a 66 on Sunday suggests to me that Saturday was just a bad day at the office. His long game was once again in pinpoint order last week and if that continues here then he is likely to be another who is right in the mix this weekend.

Francesco Molinari registered a top 10 here last year when his form was bang ordinary. On the face of it that should be a surprise but he is actually a member here so he will know this place very well. This year he finished in the top 10 in The American Express where his long game was fantastic and in the two events which followed he was going well over the first two rounds before he faded at the weekend. In both of those tournaments he putted very well but Torrey Pines and TPC Scottsdale are probably too long for him. Riviera certainly isn’t else he wouldn’t be a member here. If he putts like he has been and his long game returns at a place he knows he shouldn’t be too far away.

My final pick this week is Martin Laird, another elite ball striker who tends to do his best work in the state of California. Laird has recorded two top 15 finishes this season including in Phoenix last week where he was ninth for strokes gained putting which is eye catching because that is generally his weakness. Laird is very hit and miss around this golf course but there was a three year stretch when he went 11-8-9 from 2016-2018. It was only last season he won a tournament so he is a dangerous sleeper this week in what might be his last week of contending for a while with some tougher courses coming up. At a three figure price I’ll pay to see how he goes here.

Tips

Back D.Johnson to win Genesis Invitational (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 17.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back K.Bradley to win Genesis Invitational (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

Back B.Watson to win Genesis Invitational (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-8)

Back T.Pieters to win Genesis Invitational (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 61.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-8)

Back F.Molinari to win Genesis Invitational (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-8)

Back M.Laird to win Genesis Invitational (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

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Author: Martha Chavez