2022 Genesis Invitational: Tournament Preview

PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 16: Rickie Fowler of the United States tees off on the 16th green during a pro-am prior to The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 16, 2022 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 16: Rickie Fowler of the United States tees off on the 16th green during a pro-am prior to The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 16, 2022 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams for winning Super Bowl LVI. Now that football season is over it’s time to shift the focus to golf. Just a 30-minute drive north of SoFi Stadium lies Riviera Country Club, where the PGA Tour is heading for the Genesis Invitational this week.

Tiger Woods took over as host of the Genesis Open in 2020, which elevated the tournament’s status to an invitational. Unlike most tour events, invitationals do not have to fill their fields using the PGA Tour Priority Ranking System, do not have Monday qualifying, and winners are given a three-year exemption instead of two.

Looking back at the 2021 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club

Nobody seemed to want to win the Genesis Invitational last year. Sam Burns had a five-shot lead over four players heading into the weekend. None of these five players won, nor made the playoff. Burns held a two-shot lead over Fitzpatrick, Dustin Johnson, and Max Homa entering the final round and was up two entering the turn.

Tied for the lead on the 72nd hole, Homa hit his approach to 3’4”. Sportsbooks adjusted his odds to -2500 after his approach. He missed the putt and that put him in a playoff with Tony Finau, whose final round 64 tied him for the lowest round of the tournament. On the first playoff hole, Homa hit his tee shot directly against a tree and oddsmakers gave him +1000 live odds to win. Lucky for Homa, he’s a righty and hit this shot.

But still, nobody wanted to win this tournament. He blew the putt 3’ by the hole and Finau pushed his 7’ birdie putt for the win. Homa won with a par on the next playoff hole to alleviate the stress of anyone who put $2,500 to win $100 on him before his putt on the 72nd green. The win was the first on Tour for local Max Homa who grew up in between Riviera and SoFi Stadium.

Genesis Invitational, PGA, Riviera Country Club
PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 16: Actor Jason Bateman plays a shot into the ninth hole during a pro-am prior to The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 16, 2022 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Riviera Country Club

This tournament has been held since 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Riviera Country Club is a private club and is hosting for the 58th time and 24th consecutive. Originally the Los Angeles Open and formerly the Northern Trust Open, the Genesis Invitational is often the last event of the West Coast Swing before the tour heads to Florida and this year is no exception. The course was designed by George Thomas and William Bell and later renovated by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The par-71 course measures 7,322 yards with Kikuyu fairways and Poa annua greens. Here’s the scorecard for this week.

Riviera is a course with an abundance of elevation so some holes will play significantly longer or shorter than the number on the scorecard.

The tee box on the par-5 1st is so elevated that every player in the field can hit less than driver off the tee and still get home in two. Players can’t go driver off the tee because there is 60 yards of rough bisecting the fairway 325 yards down, but this hole still plays close to the easiest on tour every year. A par on 1 is essentially a bogey.

Despite no water hazards on the course, strokes gained: off the tee is significant. The fairways are narrow and the rough isn’t too penal but there’s an abundance of trees lining most driving holes. It’s ok to miss the fairway, as only two players in the entire field last year hit more than 58% of them for the tournament, but if any player ends up behind a tree he’ll have to pitch out and scramble from 150+ yards out.

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The most intriguing hole at Riviera and arguably on Tour is the drivable par-4 10th. Despite being drivable this hole is far from a guaranteed birdie. The right of the green is dangerous because this skinny green is tiny and slopes down to the left. Anything right is tough to save par and it’s one of the few holes you will see multiple pros go from bunker to bunker. Most players will end up in the left rough and have a challenging pitch shot to get on the small green and two-putt for par. In extreme winds, the hole becomes nearly impossible. Check out this putt on the 10th from Keegan Bradley last year.

The least interesting hole on the course and possibly on tour is the Par-3 6th


The least interesting hole on the course and possibly on tour is the Par-3 6th. Forget playing it safe and going for the center of the green on this hole because they put a bunker in the middle of the green.

Yes, Riviera put a hazard in the middle of the green forcing players to go directly at the pin. As amusing as it is to see pros chipping off the putting surface, players should never be punished for hitting the green. Rumor has it Riviera will revoke your membership if you’re caught chipping over the bunker as they claim the green is designed for it to be putt around. This doesn’t apply to the tour pros and almost every player in the field who has the hazard between him and the hole will chip over it.


light. Must Read. 2022 Genesis Invitational: Top 10 power rankings at Riviera CC

 The Genesis is one of five invitational tournaments on the PGA Tour.

The standard tour event has around 156 players, but invitationals have about 20% less. There are 121 guys playing this week at the Genesis Invitational, and this is the strongest field of the young season as all the top 10 in the OWGR are in the field.

Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith are back from Saudi Arabia after taking last week off to recover from the jetlag. Rory McIlroy played in Abu Dhabi three weeks ago and is in the field. Rory had to take two weeks off, one for the jetlag and one to get over his foolish decision on the par-5 72nd fairway.

Tied for the lead and needing a birdie to win and par for a playoff, Rory tried to cover the water hazard from 270 yards out. He hit it 250 into the drink, made bogey, and Viktor Hovland lifted the trophy. Viktor, who climbed to #3 in the world after the win, is in the field coming off his first missed cut in nearly a year last week in Scottsdale.

Bryson DeChambeau is not in the field after withdrawing from the Saudi International two weeks ago with a left hand and left hip injury. Bryson has seen his world ranking slip to 12 and that number could continue to tumble should he accept the rumored quarter of a billion-dollar offer he received from the Saudi-backed super league.

Currently, none of these tournaments qualify for OWGR points. 2021 champion Max Homa and 2020 champion Adam Scott are also teeing it up this week. Other past champions in the field are Bubba Watson (2014, 2016, and 2018), James Hahn (2015), and Dustin Johnson (2017).

Stats that matter at the 2022 Genesis Invitational

Strokes gained: tee-to-green (TTG) is the most indicative of success at Riviera. Over the last two years, the top four players in TTG finished in the top five for the tournament. Granted, TTG is a broad statistic as it’s calculated by taking strokes gained: total (TOT) minus strokes gained: putting (SGP), but I doubt there’s another tournament where the top four in one category finished in the top five for the tournament twice in a row.

SG:P is the least important stat in my opinion because any guy can get hot with the flat-stick on any given week. Scottie Scheffler was 60th in SG:P for the season prior to last week before finishing 2nd in the field putting in Phoenix. The week prior Tom Hoge entered Pebble Beach T-157th in SG:P and won after being third in putting. Luke List was 204 out of 229 players in putting entering the Farmers and won after finishing top 10 that week.

Obviously, putting is important and the guy who wins is going to putt well but it’s much easier to predict who is going to have a better week TTG than on the greens.

The key stats I’m focusing on this week at the Genesis Invitational are TTG and the ones that make-up TTG (OTT, APP, and ARG). The following is a list of the top 10 players in the field in these stats, as well as Max Homa and Adam Scott’s results for the tournament in the year they won.

Ideally, I’m looking for a guy who is top-25 in the field in all four categories. At worst I want a guy who isn’t losing strokes in any category. I can live with Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa losing strokes around the green because they aren’t going to be missing many of them.

2022 Genesis Invitational Odds

 The following is a list of the top of the board on WynnBet Sportsbook. Odds are current at the time of publication but are subject to fluctuate throughout the week. 

It’s hard to see someone who is not on this list winning the Genesis Invitational. Adam Scott was +3000 in 2020, but Max Homa was +6000 last year. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that someone not on the board’s top 20 wins. J.B. Holmes won in 2019. I can’t find odds on him that year, but I assume they must have been north of +10000.

I did hit Luke List at the Farmers but outside of that, I’ve had some rotten luck. I was on Xander last week. Xander was up two on Saturday but then he couldn’t help himself hitting duck hooks directly at water hazards. The week prior I was on Seamus Power who had a five-shot lead through 36 holes before crumbling on the weekend. The worst one of all was my Russell Henley +3500 at the Sony Open. Henley had a five-shot lead at the turn on Sunday and ended up losing in a playoff to Matsuyama.

The wind was a factor here last year, and it appears that players going off in the afternoon on Thursday, and the morning on Friday have a slight advantage. At first glance, it’s hard not to like Bubba Watson. Bubba seems to be in good form. He finished T14 last week while playing jetlagged from the Saudi International a week prior. He finished second in that tournament by one shot after Harold Varner III hit a walk-off eagle bomb on the 72nd hole.

Pretty crazy way to win a tournament. Outside of Phil at Augusta, I don’t think you’ll find a better price on a three-time winner than +4500 on offer for Bubba Watson.

I know Sam Burns has missed two cuts in a row, but he plays this course well. If he finds himself with a nice cushion this year, I don’t see him blowing it again after getting his first and second wins on tour since he blew it last year. I don’t think I can even make my obligatory Viktor Hovland pick this week. Vik is DFL in ARG. He’s lost over 20 shots ARG in only 18 rounds this season! Just when you think he’s getting better at chipping, you check and he’s 219 out of 219 players on tour. But seeing how I can’t close an article without making a pick so here’s one!.

Genesis Invitational, Riviera Country Club, PGA
Patrick Cantlay could very well win the Masters in 2022 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

 Patrick Cantlay +2000 to win the 2022 Masters

I know the guy doesn’t have a great track record in majors but it’s mind-boggling that nine players have lower odds than him to win this tournament. Cantlay has finished in the top 10 in his last six events with two wins. 5/6 of these finishes are in the top four. Seven tournaments ago he finished 11th.

Cantlay was tied for the lead at Augusta in 2019 with three to go before the Tiger pressure got to him. There’s unlikely to be a Tiger tracking him down this year. He gains strokes in the four main categories and is 4th this season in total strokes gained. The greens at Augusta National are the hardest on Tour to read and it’s hard to argue against him being the best putter in the world currently. You’re not going to find a top-three player in the world playing at the best level of his career at +2000 to win a major. He may not win but it’s a great value. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him around +1200 by the time they tee it up in April.

Next. The Genesis Invitational: A Tournament Rich With History. dark

Let’s just hope that if they interview Tiger Woods during the tournament this year like they did last year, he gets enough to sleep the night before. He looked exhausted last year!.