The show goes on in La La Land! Just 15 miles northwest of SoFi Stadium sits the iconic Riviera Country Club, host of what is undoubtedly the premier, most star-studded event in town this week, the 2022 Genesis Invitational. As always here at TheLines, we’ll go over an early look at the tournament, giving you what you need to know before the Genesis Invitational odds even hit the board.
The WM Phoenix Open provided plenty of entertainment, thanks to a difficult course and a very strong field. This week, we’ve cranked it up a notch, with an even stronger field and even more difficult course. The median four-day score over the last five years has been just about 1-under par, which means birdies are at a premium. Par will be a good score for a majority of holes we see this week — my favorite kind of golf!
This event shifted from an “Open” to an “Invitational” in 2020 when some guy named Tiger Woods took over as host. That distinction (and presence of Tiger) adds more prestige to the event. The field will be capped at 121 players with no Monday qualifier. The purse will be amongst the highest of any non-Major event this season. And the winner will receive a three-year PGA TOUR status exemption as opposed to the two-year standard. I think the winner probably gets to leave with a new Genesis car, too. Or maybe a signed Genesis album? Should be both in my opinion, but in any case, it’s a lot of prestige!
Here’s a look at everything you can expect to help navigate 2022 Genesis Invitational odds.
GENESIS INVITATIONAL FAVORITES
When Genesis Invitational odds hit legal U.S. sportsbooks, this section will show you the top-five favorites playing in LA this week.
THE FIELD AT A GLANCE
As an Invitational, the field is set at a tight 121 players. And what players they are — this will surely rank among the top Strength of Fields outside of majors this year.
Jon Rahm headlines the field yet again as the world No. 1, but we’ll see 35 of the top-50 OWGR players. That includes every single top-10 player in the world — Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith and Hideki Matsuyama. I’m excited to finally see some bettable odds on elite players who we haven’t seen north of 20-1 since last year’s majors.
Essentially every top player in the world who is physically able to golf is here this week. Bryson DeChambeau, Daniel Berger and Harris English are each absent due to injury.
Course history will matter again. Past winners of the Genesis Invitational returning to action this week include defending champion Max Homa as well as Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson.
INTRODUCTION TO RIVIERA COUNTRY CLUB
The iconic Riviera Country Club was once my favorite course to play on EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA TOUR ’07. Now it has matured into one of my favorite landscapes to watch golf as well.
It’s a beautiful oasis and architectural marvel, built into the cityscape of Los Angeles. It features a myriad of memorable holes.
- First hole: the easiest par-5 on TOUR, playing 500 yards downhill
- Sixth hole: 200-yard par-3 with a two-tiered green featuring a bunker right in the center
- 10th hole: one of the shortest yet most challenging par-4s on TOUR
On a calm day, Riviera Country Club presents one of the toughest challenges we see across golf. That attracts the best players each year to compete. The cut line has been over par at the Genesis Invitational for every year over the last decade.
What makes Riviera so challenging first and foremost is narrow fairways. This event has ranked in the bottom two in average Driving Accuracy every year since 2015. That high Missed-Fairway percentage has also correlated with one of the lowest Green-In-Regulation percentages on TOUR.
And if that wasn’t hard enough, these firm, fast Poa greens have given players fits year in and year out. The course ranks top five for most missed putts both inside and outside of 15 feet.
The course also features a number of elevation changes and is heavily bunkered both around the fairways and green-side complexes. So, Sand Saves will be an important stat to track this week.
Monitor Genesis Invitational Weather
That’s all assuming play occurs on a calm day, which we’re not always promised. Fantasy National lists round three of the 2021 Genesis Invitational as moderate wind, but play was suspended as the final pairing stepped on the tee box. Golf balls were being blown across greens, hats were flying off and players were hitting range balls like boomerangs back at themselves. Monitor these winds, which can further increase course difficulty.
We also shouldn’t treat wind performance as gospel in modeling, as it can be a very flawed process to track wind levels across a full day of play.
All of this to say, Riviera CC is a refreshing reminder that you can design a golf course to be challenging at just 7,300 yards. You need not grow out the rough or push tee boxes back to extreme lengths. Riviera will reward shot-makers who can position themselves well off the tee, work in both directions, and scramble at a high percentage around the tricky, undulated greens complexes.
Genesis Invitational COURSE SPECS
- Yards: 7,322
- Par: 71 (4x 3s / 11x 4s / 3x 5s)
- Greens: Poa
- Architect: George Thomas (Renovations from Ben Crenshaw, Bill Coore, and Tom Fazio)
- Historical Cut Line: +1 to +4
- Median Four-Round Score: -1 (’21), -1 (’20), -2 (’19), -1 (’18), -4 (’17)
- Comp Courses: Club de Golf Chapultepec, TPC Harding Park, Bay Hill, Torrey Pines (South), Innisbrook (Copperhead), Quail Hollow
- Recent Winners: Max Homa -12 (’21), Adam Scott -11 (’20, ’05), JB Holmes -14 (’19), Bubba Watson -12 (’18, ’16, ’14), Dustin Johnson -17 (’17)
- Hole-by-hole Breakdown:
EVENT HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS
The Genesis Invitational slightly favors longer hitters with great short game, particularly on Poa. With that said, shorter hitters have also found success here, if they can make up for it with elite Short Game.
How quickly we’ve forgotten the dominant force on TOUR that was once Dustin Johnson. Late-2020 DJ was an absolute behemoth compared to the revolving door of elites we’ve seen in the current PGA TOUR landscape.
He went on a stretch from June ’20 to January ’21 that featured five wins including Masters and TOUR Championship. He also had a playoff loss to Rahm at the BMW Championship and two other second-place finishes. We’re just a year removed from Johnson being the clear most dominant golfer on planet Earth.
Yet, you will find a handful of players priced at shorter odds on one of his favorite courses.
DJ not only won but tied the four-day scoring record with a -17 in 2017. That left him five strokes clear of second. He also lost in a playoff to James Hahn in 2015 and has never finished worse than T16 in his last eight appearances.
It will be interesting to see where he opens in Genesis Invitational odds, but I expect to see around 16-t0-1.
Others Excelling (And Sputtering) At Genesis Invitational
After Johnson, the rest of the top 10 in Event History includes Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Xander Schauffele, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, James Hahn, Hideki Matsuyama and Matt Kuchar. Again, course history has proven pretty sticky and repeatable here.
Conversely, players like Corey Conners, Aaron Wise and Patrick Reed have struggled here. They may be worthy of fades.
Ten players in this field have delivered multiple T10 finishes over the last five years: Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Scott, Tony Finau, Max Homa, Kevin Na, McIlroy, Cam Smith, Justin Thomas, Martin Laird, and Matsuyama. A few other notables with multiple recent T15s also include Talor Gooch, Patrick Cantlay, Hahn and Schauffele. Viktor Hovland and Will Zalatoris each finished inside the top 15 in their debuts here last year.
It would be cliché to say that no course compares to Riviera CC, but I do struggle to find an exact match.
From a leaderboard overlap standpoint, Quail Hollow would have to be up there, sharing the motley crew of Max Homa, JB Holmes and James Hahn as overlapping winners. Both are difficult tests that favor distance over precision off the tee. Both are classical, tree-lined, and share the Tom Fazio influence after his renovations to Riviera in the 2000s.
I also like Golf Club de Chapultepec, former host of the WGC Mexico, as another course with the same Poa Greens and Kikuyu Rough blend. Both also have difficult strength of field, elevation changes, and consistent dominance from Dustin Johnson. Chapultepec is far less of a grind however, as winning scores had routinely pushed to the high teens.
I’ll also be looking at TPC Harding Park and Torrey Pines (South) as other difficult courses with strong fields in the same California region, as well as Bay Hill and Innisbrook (Copperhead). Those touch off on the premiums of positional off-the-tee play with a bias towards distance in difficult scoring conditions. Mashing those comp courses together, the top-10 players in SG: TOT are Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Cameron Tringale, Dustin Johnson, Aaron Wise, Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey and Jordan Spieth.
KEY STATS TO CONSIDER
- SG: OTT / Good Drives Gained
- SG: APP
- SG: ARG / Scrambling / Sand Saves Gained
- P4: 440-500
- P5: 550-600
- SG: P (Poa)
- SG: TOT (Difficult Scoring Conditions)
- Course & Comp Course History
This is a huge week for Good Drives Gained, in my opinion. You can’t bomb and gouge Riviera given all the elevation changes and forced layups from angular tree-lines. Any wayward drives into the trees are essentially an automatic bogey.
On the other-hand, I think there’s just too much length on the par-4s to lean on your typical fairway finders here. Even they will struggle to hit a high percentage of fairways with the firm conditions and undulated runoffs.
Since the rough is not very penal, I don’t see a huge advantage for driving accuracy on this course.
The top-10 players in Good Drives Gained are Russell Knox, Adam Hadwin, Joel Dahmen, Martin Laird, Chez Reavie, Kyle Stanley, Viktor Hovland, Corey Conners, Luke List and Russell Henley.
I think it’s also worth looking into a blend of Good Drives Gained + SG: OTT with first shot positioning being so important here. There are 11 players who rank top 25 in both categories: Dahmen, Stanley, Hovland, Conners, List, Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris, Hayden Buckley, Bubba Watson, Ryan Palmer, Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm.
Short Game, Scrambling Also Key At Genesis Invitational
This will be one of the most crucial weeks for short game outside of the majors. There are a slew of long Par 4s and long par-3s that require long irons into multi-tiered, firm and fast greens at different elevation.
For the par-4s, many of these approaches will come from the rough with players only hitting 55% of fairways on average. That means a lot of Scrambling from the green-side rough and difficult bunkers. The top-10 players in SG: ARG are Im, List, Matt Jones, Robert Macintyre, Scott Piercy, Patrick Rodgers, Beau Hossler, Tom Hoge, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Na.
There are just five players who rate out Top-30 in SG: ARG, Scrambling, and Sand Saves: Hossler, Kuchar, Mackenzie Hughes, Taylor Moore and Patrick Cantlay.
This will be our last stop on the West Coast swing, so definitely worth revisiting the Poa specialists. The top-10 Poa Putters in this week’s field are: Kuchar, Jon Rahm, Maverick McNealy, Wyndham Clark, Troy Merritt, Matt Wallace, Andrew Putnam, Na, Brian Stuard, and Patrick Reed.
There can be some flaws in strictly referencing recent SG data that pull in easier birdie fest conditions, as those are not at all translatable to the conditions we’ll see at Riviera CC. Referencing the top-10 players in SG: TOT (Difficult Scoring Conditions), the best grinders in this week’s field over the last 24 rounds are Rahm, Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler, Paul Casey, Cameron Tringale, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Reed, and Aaron Wise.
The perfect golfer for Riviera CC should be solid in Good Drives Gained + SG: OTT, Around the Green, and have established success both at this event and other difficult scoring conditions. There are just five players who rate out above-average in each of those categories: Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy, Zalatoris, List, and Wallace.
Correlation And Riviera CC
Like last week at TPC Scottsdale, the correlations stats at Riviera CC are fairly on par with the TOUR average, which tends to favor the best overall players.
The biggest differences at this course compared to TOUR average come from P5: 550-600 and Opportunities Gained, which fall outside the top 10.
Instead, Bogey Avoidance, GIRs Gained, P4: 450-500, and SG: Short Game make the biggest jumps inside the top 10 at this event. We also see a substantial increase in the importance of Good Drives Gained and Sand Saves Gained, falling just outside the top 10. Scrambling Gained and SG: Short Game make the biggest jump compared to TOUR average, each falling inside the top 10.
In terms of stats to de-prioritize, all proximity stats from 125+ did not correlate with success at Riviera CC. Given the high percentage of approaches from the rough into firm and fast greens, even the best approach players have needed to rely on a balanced short game to account for missed greens in regulation.
There are eight players who rate out above-average in each of this week’s top-10 correlated stats with success at Riviera CC: Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Seamus Power, Luke List, Sam Burns, Aaron Wise and Lanto Griffin.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: PAUL CASEY
I’ll start off by saying this – Paul Casey is going to win a golf tournament again soon. I don’t know if it’ll be this week, or even on the PGA TOUR, but he has the combination of elite ball striking and streaky putting that is an inevitable formula for winning golf tournaments.
It’ll be a tall order for Casey to beat this loaded field in his first PGA TOUR start of 2022, however. He is No. 27 in OWGR and will have 21 players ranked ahead of him in this field. That means we should be in store to catch some odds slippage.
Despite this being his first PGA TOUR event since the CJ Cup in October, he’s kept busy with three international starts across the Asian Tour and DP World Tour. He’s finished T25 or better in each of his last four events, highlighted by a T12 in the Dubai Desert Classic.
Comp Course Star
Paul Casey’s results at Riviera CC won’t wow you, but his results at every other comp course will. He has two wins at the Valspar, another difficult, angular golf course on tight fairways favoring elite ball strikers. He also finished runner-up at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. Golf Club de Chapultepec might be my favorite comp to Riviera, and he’s finished inside the top 20 in each of his four WGC Mexico appearances.
Put that all together, and Casey rates out as No. 1 in SG: T2G and #3 SG: TOT across Comp Courses. In theory, Riviera CC lines up perfectly for Paul Casey. It’s a Ball Striker’s course, rewarding players with plus distance and plus approach play. In practice, Casey’s strengths have translated to success here, just not necessarily results, having gained strokes Ball Striking in all seven of his career appearances.
Unfortunately, his short game at this course has kept him out of serious contention. Despite having made it through the cut in all seven appearances, he hasn’t finished better than T25 since his playoff loss to James Hahn in 2015. Still, I’m optimistic that with Casey gaining 4.7 strokes Putting at the CJ Cup and 7 strokes Putting at the WGC FedEx St Jude recently, he’s on a path to gain on the greens at the 2022 Genesis Invitational. If he does, we know the ball striking will keep him in the mix.
At a fairly long price, he’ll be worth a look.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2022 GENESIS INVITATIONAL
Max Homa got a big-time win on these grounds last year, in what was one of the most eventful tournaments of 2021. First-round leader Sam Burns was in position to run away with this for his first career victory before coughing up a three-stroke lead on the back nine on Sunday. Tony Finau was the clubhouse leader after a blazing back nine stretch.
Homa missed a three-footer for the win on 18 in regulation. He then won in a playoff over Finau after being left for dead against a tree on the 10th hole. It was an emotional win for Homa at home in Los Angeles (some would call it a Homa-coming), but he’s proven year over year that he is comfortable playing in California. He’s a threat to contend here once again after a hot start to his 2022.
With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool for DFS. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the 2022 Genesis Invitational odds as well. It’s broken out by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON 2022 GENESIS INVITATIONAL ODDS
For my model in Fantasy National this week, I’m prioritizing Good Drives Gained, Course & Comp Course History, SG: APP and SG: OTT. After that, I’m looking at a balanced mix of SG: ARG, SG: TOT (Difficult Scoring Conditions), SG: P (Poa), Scrambling, Sand Saves, P4: 450-500 and P5 Scoring.
Surprise, surprise Jon Rahm remains in the No. 1 spot yet again this week. The SG juggernaut has pretty good history at the Genesis Invitational even by his standards, with a T5, T17, and T9 in three career appearances.
After Rahm, my model’s top 10 is rounded out by Luke List, Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy, Sam Burns, Marc Leishman and Viktor Hovland.
With such a jam-packed field, I’m going to wait to see where the value is on the odds board before I start to lean in any given direction. It’s hard to differentiate amongst the elites with so many in great form now, so it may just be a matter of constructing a card that can squeeze in as many big names as possible.
As far as the mid-tier goes, I do see myself leaning towards Paul Casey and Marc Leishman in the 50-1 range. Check back below here at TheLines to see where odds open on Monday!
Thanks for reading, and good luck navigating 2022 Genesis Invitational odds!
GENESIS INVITATIONAL ODDS BOARD
Here are betting odds from the top US sportsbooks for the 2022 Genesis Invitational.