The Genesis Invitational Preview
February 16, 2020
There weren’t too many that picked Nick Taylor last week at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am but what a wire-to-wire victory by the Canadian. If you were able to deal with the coverage you would have got to witness quite the back nine. With winds and scoring high, we were treated to the pros hitting shots most amateurs would encounter. Now we are off to Riviera and the Genesis Invitational where 9 of the top 10 in the world will be competing.
What a difference a week makes. Last week we had one of the weaker fields and this week we have one of the strongest. New world number 1, Rory McIlroy, will try to keep the top spot against Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. We also get the pairing of Tiger and the guy he carried around Royal Melbourne in November.
This will be a “small” field of 121 players as it is not considered an open event. The prize money has increased to 9,300,000 which explains why the field is so strong. What I really like about the event is that they give one sponsor exemption to one of the top college golfers. This year, the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption went to Sean Yu of San Jose State. Scottie Scheffler, a past winner of the award, will be competing as a professional this year.
We will be treated to a great week of golf with some of the biggest names competing. It will be interesting to see if these big names can help with the TV ratings. Last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am got beat by all four XFL games which would be a little concerning for CBS. Let’s see if this field and this course help that ratings.
Built in 1926, the par-71 Riviera Country Club will play host to the Genesis Invitational for the 57th year on the PGA Tour. Located a few miles west of Los Angeles, this course will host the Olympics in 2028. Riviera has the nickname “Hogan’s Alley” after Ben Hogan won the LA Open three times and the 1948 US Open.
The Genesis Invitational will be paying tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant this week. They have named the 8th hole the Mamba and will have a purple and yellow flag honor of the late Bryant. There won’t be any jerseys worn this week, but will be a great way to honor someone who meant so much to the sports world.
Players to Watch
It would be easy to name off all 9 golfers inside the top 10 as players to watch but let’s look at a few storylines heading into this week. The biggest storyline is the tournament host, Tiger Woods, looking for the record breaking 83rd PGA Tour victory. Not only would a win break Sam Snead’s record, but would also join three others in winning in four different decades. Yes, we talk about Phil looking to do this as well but very few have mentioned that Tiger could do it first.
Rory McIlroy has returned to world number 1 for the first time since September 2015. He will look to defend his ranking against both Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. With a win, either Rahm or Koepka could make Rory’s recent reign brief. This will be the first PGA Tour event Koepka has played in in 2020.
I will skip this week on a where’s Jordan Speith rant after his top-10 at Pebble and move into the top 50. The question now is on Phil Mickelson and whether he can stay inside the top-60 through May 28 and qualify for the US Open. He is currently ranked 55th in the world and will have some work to stay inside the top 60. Is this his final act on the PGA Tour or will we see Phil rise again?
Speaking of qualifying, this will be the last week to qualify for the WGC-Mexico Championship. The top 64 automatically qualify and with everyone inside the top 50 already qualified. That means that this week could mean a lot to those right on the bubble. Click here for the current world rankings.
It looks like we will not have to worry about rain this year. The forecast is calling for mid-60s and sun all four days. We may see some gusts but nothing like Pebble last week. Besides James Hahn’s win in 2015, the winning score has been in the double digits. With perfect weather conditions, I could see low scores and a winning score of 16-under.
I was way off on my Brandt Snedeker prediction last week but look to bounce it back this week. One player that always seems to play well at this course is Bubba Watson. It always seems like Ryder Cup years Bubba comes out of nowhere and plays great golf. This course suits the three time winner of this event and would not surprise me if he wins again this week.
Draft Kings Lineup
Similar to my prediction, I was way off on my Draft Kings lineup. It was looking good after the first round with HV3 tied for second but that is why they play four rounds. There are some big names that are a great value (Brooks) but I am going with my gut on Bubba. Here is my lineup this week:
- Jon Rahm- $11,200
- Bubba Watson- $9,600
- Max Homa- $7,500
- Charles Howell III- $7,500
- Scottie Scheffler- $7,400
- Lanto Griffin- $6,800
Who do you think is going to win this week? Comment below with your picks and if you think that you can pick a better lineup on Draft Kings click here.