PGA Preview - Tiger Woods Among Favorites in Loaded Field for Genesis Open
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
The field is pack with talent this week as the 2019 Genesis Open is set to tee off Thursday at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Big names include Tiger Woods, who is making his second Tour appearance in the new season, as well as Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and others.
The Genesis Open has traditionally been one of the early tournaments of the year where the top players in the game start showing up on a more regular basis to start working towards FedEx points. The winner picks up 500 of those points!
This year is no different when it comes to big names as the top-ten favored players to win outright, according to Intertops, are all high up the leaderboard of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR). Here are the top-ten favored players with their OWGR rankings.
The notable missing name is Justin Rose who’s currently ranked No. 1 in the world along with Brooks Koepka who’s ranked No. 2. Rose has already played several times this season picking up a win at Torrey Pines. His next event is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March. Koepka picked up a win early in the season at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges.
Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson
Two names jump out when you look over the favorite list if you know your Genesis Open history. The first is Bubba Watson who is the defending champ and Dustin Johnson who captured the title in 2017. Watson has three wins out of five times he’s played in this event. The Riviera course seems to fit Watson’s style of play and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to play well this time.
Johnson also falls into the same category when it comes to the style of play fitting a course. Johnson may only have won once at the tournament, but he’s finished second several times. Both Watson and Johnson will be players to watch this week.
Maybe this Time for Tiger
Tiger Woods has played this event multiple times, nine in all, and he’s never won at the Riviera. He’s notched two second-place showings at the event of which he’s returning as the host. Last year, in a season that saw a resurgence in his game, Woods missed the cut.
Now Woods is playing better than ever and is once again the host of the event. His enthusiasm for what could be considered a hometown course has exploded and that may carry over to his play in the Open. Tiger has brought star power back to the event as fans watched a celebrity event captained by Woods and Fred Couples. Players included Reggie Bush, Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Pratt, Luke Wilson, Oliver Hudson, Chris Harrison, Kid Rock, Nick Jonas, and Carson Daly.
This may be the year that Woods finally wins at the Riviera. He’s coming off a fantastic 2018 season and has shown his latest back surgery was successful. After all, Carson Daly won the 1988 Junior Club Championship at the course. If Daly can win there then Tiger should be able to as well!
Riviera Country Club by the Numbers
The Genesis is played at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles and Potter will tee up against a field that includes several of the top ten players in the world rankings. Plus, Tiger Woods is back in the lineup for the tournament which always increases excitement from golf fans. It’s the first time Woods has played the event in a decade. Tournament Director Mike Antolini said there is a “buzz” around this year’s event.
“The buzz surrounding this year’s Genesis Open is off the charts and for good reason,” Antolini said. “We’re all excited for Tiger’s return to Riviera for the first time in more than a decade. He’ll join a field of golf’s top young stars and established greats vying to become the next Genesis Open champion.”
Riviera Country Club by the Numbers
The Genesis Open is played at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. The course is very traditional when it comes to fairways and bunkers. It has a clean and classic look to it with open fairways and well-placed landing areas. The terrain is gently rolling with some elevation drops.
Several of the holes will challenge club selection such as the long par three, No. 3, that Ben Hogan called the “best par-3 in America.” Number six, another par three, is protected by four bunkers; front, back, left with the fourth bunker right in the middle of the green.
The course has been the shooting location for several movies, being so close to Hollywood, including the Caddy staring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin which featured a cameo by Ben Hogan.
Location: Pacific Palisades, California Year: 1926 Designer: George C. Thomas Par: 71 Length: 7,322 Rating: 75.6 Slope: 137 Greens: Poa Annua Grass Fairways: Kikuyu grass.
Genesis Open TV – All times Eastern
• Thursday: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET • Friday: Golf Channel, 4-8PM ET • Saturday: Golf Channel, 2-3:30PM ET; CBS, 4-7PM ET • Sunday: Golf Channel, 1-2:30PM ET; CBS, 3-6:30PM ET