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Genesis Invitational tips, predictions and odds

As Tiger Woods makes his PGA TOUR return at the Genesis Invitational, Mike Glasscott has the latest tips, predictions and odds.

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Genesis Invitational Tips

To Win – Max Homa (18/1)
Top 10 – Cameron Young (16/5)
Top 20 – Tom Hoge (12/5)

Riviera Country Club course guide

One of the classic American golf courses, The Riviera Country Club, designed by George C. Thomas, opened for business in 1927.

Hosting the former Los Angeles Open for the 62nd time, the Par-71 layout has stretched 7,322 yards since the 2016 edition.

The West Coast swing ends with another week on Poa annua greens. Running at 12.5 feet on the Stimpmeter, the large putting surfaces, averaging 7,500 square feet, rank in the top five largest on TOUR.

There’s no water on the course that runs through the Santa Monica Canyon. Kikuyu grass cut at two inches will provide nest-y, uneven lies off the fairways and around the greens. The bunkers, 58 of them, are penal. The Riviera Country Club ranks as one of the toughest tracks on the calendar when it comes to getting up and down out of the sand or, getting it close.

Taming Riviera requires a full array of shots, including a cooperative flat stick. Grinding out pars on the Par-4 holes, attacking the scorable Par-5 chances, and surviving the all-encompassing Par-3 holes will produce a worthy champion.

Genesis Invitational Preview

Just down the street from The Riviera Country Club is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The stars of the PGA TOUR will be teeing it up this week as a field of 70 will feature 41 of the top 50 from the Official World Golf Rankings, highlighted by nine of the top 10 and 26 of the top 30.

“Hogan’s Alley” has hosted the U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan in 1948, plus two PGA Championships. The historical record includes a U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Amateur, plus the 2026 U.S. Women’s Open and 2028 Summer Olympics yet to come.

Hosted by Tiger Woods, The Genesis Invitational is the third of eight Signature Events this season on the PGA TOUR. The field of 70 will be cut, as will the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament, to the top 50 players and ties, plus any golfers within 10 shots of the lead. 

Scoring improves when Mother Nature cooperates. Lanny Wadkins set the tournament scoring record of 20-under in 1985. Posting 61 has not happened since Ted Tryba pulled off the feat in 1999. 

Top of the Board  

Sitting No. 1 in the OWGR, Scottie Scheffler (7/1) will look to add his name to the winners at The Genesis Invitational who have also won the Masters. Cashing T12 and T7 the last two seasons suggests he’s closing in on joining that club. I don’t need to remind you about his numbers in the Strokes-Gained department from last year or last week. The only question that follows the Texan is WHEN he will return to the winner’s circle. 

Making his eighth start in Tinsel Town, Rory McIlroy (10/1) attempts to return to the form he used to start 2024 (WIN-T2). Pebble Beach wasn’t the soft landing he anticipated, and T66 wasn’t the payday he expected to take home. Rested after skipping WM Phoenix Open last week, the Ulsterman will look to add to his bounty of T29 or better in six of seven starts, including three top-10 paydays in Southern California.

A slow start from Norwegian superstar Viktor Hovland (14/1) has turned heads for the wrong reasons. Unable to breach the top 20 in Maui and not firing during the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach (T58), he was a late withdraw before the WM Phoenix Open last week. Cashing a pair of top-five paydays from three starts in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Canyon might provide the tonic needed to swing his game into gear. The last two winners were in their 20s, but none were from decade before. I’ll wait.

Xander Schauffele (16/1) leads the California contingent this week, even though he’s only painted the top 10 once from six starts. Running in the red to start the season, the San Diego native ran into the wind and weather of Pebble Beach (T54) and withdrew just before the WM Phoenix Open. Cashing four of his last six T15 or better, I’d lean into the top 20 (-170) as insurance.

Justin Thomas (18/1) embraced the tough conditions at Pebble Beach (T6) and was not deterred by the weather delays at TPC Scottsdale (T12). Since missing the cut at the 3M Open last summer, the two-time major champion has produced T12 or better paydays in seven consecutive starts on TOUR. The “new” swing changes have been replaced with the old, familiar action, and the results have followed. 

Long Beach native Patrick Cantlay (18/1) pushed onto the podium last year with solo third. The early days of 2024, he has struggled to put all four rounds together, especially on Sunday. Sitting T11 after three rounds at Pebble Beach, he did not have a chance to wash away the difficult fourth-round mojo that had been following him to start the year. Cashing T17 or better in five of his last six here, hitching to a top 20 or top 10 might be the prudent play.

If there’s a track that will play Max Homa (18/1) into winning shape, I would point to this week. The 2021 winner, runner-up last year, has peeled off four straight paydays inside the top 10 and has not missed a weekend in five years. Cashing T13 in his defense at Torrey Pines, the Burbank native, born 20 miles up the street, didn’t fire at Pebble Beach (T66) and missed the cut last week in Scottsdale. A home game is just what the doctor ordered! Remember, four of his six wins on TOUR have come in his home state.

Ludvig Åberg (20/1) continues to produce results on premium courses against premium fields. The elements of Pebble Beach, the wind, weather, and Pro-Am, could not slow him down as he cashed solo second. Playing almost 7,800 yards, Torrey Pines kept him at T9. Experience is a must-have for most, but the Swedish star has been writing his own rules since last June. 

Collin Morikawa (20/1) is another local who will be making noise this week. Finishing T2 in 2022 and cashing T6 in 2023, the La Canada-Flintridge native enjoys most ball-striking challenges. Sitting second behind Scheffler in SG: Approach the Green and fourth in SG: Tee to Green, he embraces tough layouts. A disappointing missed cut at Torrey Pines might distract investors. Not me.

Players to consider for Top 10, Top 20, or Top 40 action:

Adam Scott (30/1): The 2020 champ is the all-time leading money winner at the event and has produced top 20 or better results worldwide over the last three months. Lovely convergence.

Cameron Young (40/1): Backed up solo third from the Middle East with his second top-10 in three starts with T8 last week in Phoenix. Tying for second on debut in 2022, he posted 62 in Round 2. Last year, he returned for T20.

Will Zalatoris (50/1): Riding into Hollywood on a sponsor’s exemption, just like Scott, he will look forward to repaying the faith shown in him by his host. Running fourth here last year, he closed with 64, his best round in four appearances.

Emiliano Grillo (110/1): Playing for the sixth time in seven weeks, the Argentine has produced T22 or better in his last four starts. The winner at Colonial, the other Hogan’s Alley, last spring can work it tee to green.

Tom Hoge (125/1): Making his seventh consecutive start to begin 2024, I’ll back the free roll. Hitting 28 of 36 GIR on the weekend in Phoenix, he cashed T17 for the second time in three starts on TOUR. The other payday was T6 at Pebble Beach.

Angles

Since 2007, every winner was 30 years or older until the 2022 and 2023 editions, when the winners were 23 and 28.

Masters champions have won this event 11 times since the turn of the century.

The last eight winners needed four or more starts before raising the trophy.

The last player to win on debut was Adam Scott in 2005. The victory was unofficial as the event, canceled due to weather, was only 36 holes.

The trio of Par-5 holes are some of the friendliest on TOUR.

The Par-4 holes are not.

Gaining strokes off the tee and into the greens will go a long way to determining the winner.

Bunkers this week are penal. Getting it close is rare. Getting it up and down is a struggle.

The fifth consecutive week on Poa annua greens will require concentration from outside the leather again. Look for the speed on the green to be the quickest yet on TOUR this season. 

Genesis Invitational Tips

OUTRIGHT – Max Homa (18/1)

TOP 10 – Cameron Young (16/5)

TOP 20 – Tom Hoge (12/5)

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