The 92nd annual Genesis Open tees off from the famed Riviera Country Club on Friday morning (AEDT).
There’s another cool $7.4 million purse up for grabs, and if it’s anything like the thrilling conclusion to Monday’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, we should be in for a treat.
Two-time champ Phil Mickelson returns following last week’s success, while Tiger Woods also makes his return following a three-week break. Meanwhile, Adam Scott leads the charge for the Aussies following a disappointing showing at Pebble Beach last week, and who can forget Bubba Watson – the American heads to Riviera with a chance to make history.
As always, we’ve previewed all the top hopefuls, and our complete 2019 Genesis Open Preview can be found below.
Bubba Watson – $21.00
Watson returns to defend his title following last year’s memorable bunker shot that led to a birdie on the par-3 14th. The sequence gave Watson a two-stroke lead last year and his third win in the tournament. Success this weekend would also see Watson join some elite company alongside Macdonald Smith and Lloyd Mangrum as the only two golfers to have won the Genesis Open on four separate occasions. The World No.16 finished fourth at the Phoenix Open a fortnight ago, but like Phil Mickelson last week, you have to back players that know the tricks and turns of the course. Watson recorded five birdies in each round last year and also eagled the first hole in the third round.
Dustin Johnson – $9.00
The World No. 3 was far from his best last week at Pebble Beach. Johnson tied for 45th after shooting back-to-back 73’s in the second and third rounds, but the good news is the 34-year-old loves Riviera. Johnson won the Genesis Open back in 2017 finishing -17 under par, the same year he won the Presidents Cup. With seven Top 10 finishes in 11 tournaments at Riviera, Johnson looks to be a worthy favourite despite last week’s shortcomings.
Justin Thomas – $13.00
Thomas returns following a third placing at the Phoenix Open a fortnight ago. The American has finished inside the Top 5 in three of his last five tournaments, and will now look to improve on his ninth-place finish at last year’s Genesis Open. Thomas is among good company both on and off the course. He ranks first in approach to the green percentage and tee-to-green rate, while a grouping alongside Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy this weekend should provide plenty of storylines.
Rory McIlroy – $15.00
McIlroy returns to Riviera with two Top 5 finishes to his name in 2019. His performance in last month’s Farmers Insurance Open was nothing short of superb, and with two weeks to rest up, it looks as though Rory is ready to rejoin the winners circle. The Irishman finished 20th at this tournament last year and was right in the thick of things before a poor Round 3 curved his chances. McIlroy looks a strong chance to finish inside the Top 5 this time around.
Bryson Dechambeau – $17.00
It’s been a month since we last saw Bryson Dechambeau on the greens. He left us with a lasting impression at the Sony Open finishing tied for 10th, but he’s got some work to do if he wishes to improve on his career-best 41st at the Genesis Open last year. The good news is Dechambeau knows how to win. He’s a five-time Tour winner, and with four wins in his last 10 starts, the World No. 5 looks great value to claim another.
Jon Rahm – $17.00
After opening as the favourite during his last three tournaments, Rahm prepares to make his Genesis Open debut this weekend. The Spaniard has been a treat to watch of late finishing inside the Top 10 in four of his last five events, but can he handle the unforgiving Riviera course? Rahm’s driver should keep him in contention once again, especially on the infamous 315-yard par 4 10th.
Hideki Matsuyama – $26.00
Don’t be surprised if Matsuyama wins a tournament sometime soon. He’s been on the verge of a breakthrough finishing tied for third at the Farmers Insurance and 15th in Phoenix a fortnight ago. The Japanese sensation hasn’t won on Tour since 2017, but he returns to the Genesis Open having finished fourth at Riviera in 2014. Not much has been made of Matsuyama’s driver so far this year, but he’s been generating some crazy power off the tee to rank second in the PGA in tee-to-green rating. The two week break should have done the 26-year-old some good.
Jordan Spieth – $26.00
Hard to fall in love with Spieth right now. The 2017 US Open winner has endured a lukewarm start to 2019 finishing outside the Top 30 in his last two tournaments. Spieth is now in danger of falling outside the Top 30 in the world rankings, but at least his first two rounds at Pebble Beach were encouraging. The 25-year-old found himself sitting 12th on the leaderboard heading into Day 3 only to implode for a third round 74. Spieth will hope to improve on last year’s ninth place finish at Riviera.
Phil Mickelson – $26.00
Not surprisingly, lefty came through last week at Pebble Beach winning his fifth Pro-Am. Even mother nature couldn’t stop Mickelson from claiming his 44th victory on Tour, but how will he fare at Riviera? As is the case with just about every course Phil visits, Mickelson is right on the cusp of joining some elite company. He’s won the Genesis Open twice before (2008, 2009), while a win this weekend would see him join Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Bubba Watson as the only players to have done so on three separate occasions. Phil finished ninth here last year, and should be right in the mix teeing off alongside Spieth and Xander Schauffele.
Top 10 Finish
Patrick Cantlay – $3.00
Cantlay came so close to claiming his second Tour victory at Riviera last year. The 26-year-old American took the lead in the final round but recorded a pair of bogey’s on the back nine to finish tied for fourth. This course appears to suit Cantlay perfectly however, and it’s worth noting he won the NCAA Championship at Riviera back in 2012. After failing to make the cut for the first time in his last 15 starts on Tour at the Farmers Insurance last month, look for Cantlay to bounce-back with a strong performance.
Top 20 Finish
Tiger Woods – $2.10
Tiger announced last year that’d be playing a little less golf in 2019, so it’s always exciting when he’s set to headline a tournament – especially one he’s never won before. Woods will tee off alongside McIlroy and Thomas on Friday, and will hope to improve on his T20 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open last month. Woods is set to make his ninth career start at Riviera this weekend after failing to make the cut last year. The 43-year-old finished runner-up at the Genesis during his rookie year on Tour, and after carding a final round 67 at Torrey Pines three weeks ago, he’s as good a chance as any to make the Top 20.