The Genesis Invitational may not be the start of the golfing season but there is a feeling that it is where the season really gets serious as we head into the spring before the first of the Majors.
This tournament became an Invitational in 2020, with the field limited to 120 players. The other Invitationals on the PGA Tour are the Arnold Palmer, RBC Heritage, the Charles Schwab and the Memorial.
Riviera Country Club first hosted this event back in 1929 when it was known as the Los Angeles Open. It shared hosting duties over the years and decades that followed before taking over as the sole host in 1999.
The most successful player here in recent times has been Bubba Watson who won in 2014, 2016 and 2018. There have been two four-time winners, Scotsman Macdonald Smith between 1928 and 1934, and American Lloyd Mangrum between 1949 and 1956.
Next Played: TBD
Next years tournament dates have not been scheduled yet. We'll update this page with more information as we have it.
Last Played: February 2021
- Winner: Max Homa
- To Par / Margin: -12 / Playoff
|Riviera Country Club||Pacific Palisades, California||7,322 Yards||$9,300,000|
Riviera Country Club is an excellent example of a classical golf course. The relatively narrow fairways are framed by trees, players must carefully set up their approach shots into the greens and the bunkers are deep enough to be genuinely hazardous.
Riviera is a long way from the sort of wide, expansive courses that we see so often on the PGA Tour with the change in pace one of the reasons that so many world class players ring the Genesis Open in their diaries at the start of every season. The history and prestige of the course is also a significant pull factor. Riviera has hosted three major championships and has form lines that tie up well with other major venues such as Augusta National.
Although intimidating off the tee with trees ready to punish errant tee shots, Riviera actually tends to favour the longer hitters. The five most recent editions of the tournament were won by Adam Scott, J. B. Holmes, Bubba Watson (twice) and Dustin Johnson and it is the big hitters who head the betting for the 2021 renewal.
That said, a Tom Fazio-led redesign in 2008 helped future-proof Riviera in that it cannot simply be overpowered. Dog-legs, bunkers and those trees all make it important for players to set up their approach shots whilst what a player does on the greens can make or break their week. So, where should your cash be going this week?
Genesis Invitational Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2021. Tips for next year will be added the week of the tournament.
The Genesis Open is organised by TGR, Tiger Woods’ charitable foundation. The combination of a text from Tiger, a huge prize fund of $9.3million and the chance to place on such an excellent golf course is enough to attract one of the strongest fields of the year anywhere in golf.
This event has the feeling of ushering in the start of the major season in the game. A number of players have won the Masters after a big week at Riviera and the chance to land a blow on so many rivals is a major carrot dangling in front of the field. This is a tournament that tends to go the way of established, world class players so a long odds winner would be even more of a surprise than usual.
Rory McIlroy - 12/1
Dustin Johnson is the worthy favourite for the Genesis Invitational. The world number one heads to the tournament on the back of a win against a very strong field in Saudi Arabia despite struggling badly on the greens and is a previous winner at Riviera so ticks all the boxes in terms of performance. The only box that he doesn’t tick is the price, with the bookies’ favourite available at a general 11/2 which, given the calibre of his opposition, has to be considered a bit short.
The benefit of having such a strong favourite is that you get some generous prices about other world class players including the 12/1 generally available about Rory McIlroy’s chances of winning. McIlroy may not have won the Genesis Open before but he’s never missed the cut in his four starts and finished inside the top five on his last two appearances.
In terms of his technical abilities, it is clear that world number seven McIlroy has everything required of a winner at Riviera. He is one of, if not the, best driver of the ball in golf (he ranks second for strokes gained off the tee on the PGA Tour this season) and when his ball striking is up to scratch he has more than enough skill to set up a host of scoring chances.
It is not all good news for McIlroy this season. There are nagging concerns about his approach play, especially with his wedges, and his putting still isn’t reliable from week to week but it’s obvious to anybody who has watched him this season that he is tantalisingly close to his best.
He is playing consistent golf without quite getting over the line and only once in his last nine outings has he missed the top 20. The intensity of this tournament could well be the thing required to bring the very best out of McIlroy and that is certainly enough to win even a tournament of this calibre.
Collin Morikawa - 30/1
This week will feel almost like a home game for Collin Morikawa. The 24-year-old was born in Los Angeles and has played a huge amount of golf on the Kikuyu grass found on many courses in California and which is used for the fairways and rough here at Riviera.
There are not many players with Morikawa’s relative lack of experience both at this course and on the PGA Tour in general, who punters would consider backing at 30/1 for the Genesis Invitational but he is a special case. The way that he dealt with the nerves and the demands of the course to win the PGA Championship at Harding Park showed an incredible control of both the mental and technical side of his game and he has two other tournament wins on the PGA Tour already.
Morikawa showed an excellent ability to learn a golf course when making the cut and finishing 26th on his tournament debut last year. The fact that he ranks well for driving accuracy and strokes gained approaching the green will stand him in good stead too. His putting stats aren’t nearly as impressive this season but all three of his professional wins have come on greens featuring Poa Annua grass which is a major plus ahead of what could be a huge week for Morikawa and those who back him at 30/1.
Bubba Watson - 40/1
Predicting how Bubba Watson will perform at the Genesis Invitational can look a little bit like a fool’s errand at times. His course form at Riviera includes as many wins as missed cuts and he’s also withdrawn twice. When he does play all four rounds, Watson has never finished worse than 15th at this tournament and the signs are fairly positive about his chances of mounting another challenge this year.
Watson has spoken candidly about the struggles he has had with anxiety over the last year or so. Being so open and honest will not only help countless others deal with similar issues, it’s also lifted a weight off his shoulders. As with any sport, a happy player is much more likely to play good golf and some very decent results have taken Watson back into the world’s top 50. There is much more to come from him and a return to a course that he loves - at least some of the time! - may well bring the best out of him and see him bang in contention, so an each way bet looks in order at the very big price of 40/1.
Genesis Invitational Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2020||Adam Scott||-11||2 Strokes|
|2019||J. B. Holmes||-14||1 Stroke|
|2018||Bubba Watson||-12||2 Strokes|
|2017||Dustin Johnson||-17||5 Strokes|
|2016||Bubba Watson||-15||1 Stroke|
|2014||Bubba Watson||-15||2 Strokes|
About the Genesis Invitational
The history of the PGA Tour is full of events which started off as local golf tournaments and grew to become major, internationally renowned events. The Genesis Invitational is one such tournament with a history that begins in 1926 when it was called the Los Angeles Open.
The tournament has gone by many different names since that inaugural event. Currently, it is sponsored by Genesis Motors who provide a lot of money for what is one of the richest events on the PGA Tour. As of 2020, it is also one of the few tournaments given invitational status.
Nissan and Northern Trust are the two companies to have sponsored the Los Angeles Open before Genesis took over in 2017. The event has also been held at a large number of local courses but is best known for its long association with Riviera Country Club.
As you might expect from a top class golf course in Los Angeles, Riviera is incredibly exclusive with a membership drawn up from the great and the good of LA. It’s also a very challenging test of golf which has been able to keep pace with modern golfers despite it being a classical layout.
A Special Event for Tiger
It’s always special for a golfer to return to the site of a former triumph. That’s particularly true of the Genesis Invitational which has produced a number of multiple champions (as outlined in the table below).
This is also a very special event for Tiger Woods despite the fact that two runners-up finishes in 1998 (at Valencia Country Club) and 1999 is the closest he’s come to lifting the trophy. That’s because Riviera was the site of Woods’ first ever appearance on the PGA Tour back in 1992.
It was obvious even at that incredibly early stage that Woods was something special – the PGA Tour does not regularly hand out places in the field to 16 year olds – but nobody could have imagined that Woods would go on to change the face of the sport in the way he has.
Woods has earned an eye-watering amount of money since that debut but he has equally raised a huge amount for charity through his Tiger Woods Foundation. He hosts the Genesis Invitational through his foundation and is still very keen to add the tournament to his long, long list of wins.
Multiple Genesis Winners
|Golfer||Number of Wins||Years|
|Macdonald Smith||4||1928, 1929, 1932, 1934|
|Lloyd Mangrum||4||1949, 1951, 1953, 1956|
|Ben Hogan||3||1942, 1947, 1948|
|Arnold Palmer||3||1963, 1966, 1967|
|Bubba Watson||3||2014, 2016, 2018|
|Harry Cooper||2||1926, 1937|
|Sam Snead||2||1945, 1950|
|Paul Harney||2||1964, 1965|
|Billy Casper||2||1968, 1970|
|Tom Watson||2||1980, 1982|
|Gil Morgan||2||1978, 1983|
|Lanny Wadkins||2||1979, 1985|
|Fred Couples||2||1990, 1992|
|Corey Pavin||2||1995, 1995|
|Mike Weir||2||2003, 2004|
|Adam Scott||2||2005, 2020|
|Phil Mikelson||2||2008, 2009|
2007 – Beem’s Commercial
Anybody who has watched much golf on Sky Sports will know that Rich Beem is something of a character. ‘Beemer’ as he is affectionately called, is best known for holding off the challenge of Tiger Woods to win the 2002 PGA Championship but British golf fans have got to know him for his relaxed, humorous approach to the sport.
That humour was on full display in the 2007 Nissan Open. Beem was in the shakeup at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday thanks to a very good round of golf which turned into a great one on the 14th tee. Beem required a mid-iron club to reach the pin on the par three which can stretch to almost 200 yards, but he was obviously feeling confident as he took dead aim at the flag and was rewarded with a hole in one.
Quick as a flash, Beem raised his arms in celebration, threw his club into the air and climbed onto the roof of the brand new Nissan Altima – the prize for a hole in one – which sat behind the tee. His reaction of pure joy was replayed around the world and eventually was turned into a television commercial by Nissan who ran with the strapline, “nothing compares to owning a Nissan.”