13th - 16th February
Nine of the world’s top-10 line up for the 2020 Genesis Invitational, this week’s golf tournament on the PGA Tour. New world number one Rory McIlroy heads the list of stars teeing it up at the famous Riviera Country Club, that has been equally renowned for attracting movie stars over the years.
The Riviera Country Club is also punter-friendly, as it’s hosted the Genesis Invitational (or the equivalent tournament) 56 times, including for the last 21 years. The tournament has thrown up the odd shock winner, such as John Merrick in 2013 and James Hahn in 2015, but the leaderboard tends to be filled with big hitters, especially those that are most comfortable working the ball from left to right.
The Genesis Invitational is also one of the few big tournaments that Tiger Woods has yet to claim, and it was one that he often excluded from his schedule when in his prime.
Let’s get straight on to the first of this week’s free tips for the 2020 Genesis Invitational, with Bubba Watson being a standing dish in this event with three wins in the last six editions. Those three wins have also come in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and he’s bidding to win it every other year for the fourth consecutive occasion. It’s a big ask but his ability to shape the ball at will is perfect for Riviera Country Club, and it’s interesting that all his wins in the event have come in Ryder Cup qualifying years, as this is.
Watson also comes into the tournament in great form after playing well at Torrey Pines two weeks ago and he followed his tried and tested path of giving last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am a miss. It would be easy to argue that Watson deserves to be favourite on his course and current form and he deserves to be a 2 points each-way selection this week.
The bookies make new world number one Rory McIlroy the favourite to win the 2020 Genesis Invitational, and he’s only around a third of the odds of Bubba Watson at around 15/2. He’s played at Riviera Country Clun three times before, finishing twentieth on his first two visits and fourth last year. He could go close, but he hasn’t been playing much tournament golf of late.
John Rahm and Justin Thomas are available at around 10/1 and both having been playing at a level that could easily see them win their first Genesis Invitational. Rahm finished ninth on his tournament debut last year and his current form figures read 2/10/2/9. Meanwhile, Thomas has finished ninth and second in the last two renewals and has a win and a third to his credit on his last three starts.
Dustin Johnson finished 2/2/4/1 here between 2014 and 2017 and sixteenth and ninth on his last two visits shows Riviera Club is a great fit for the world number five. The problem is he comes here after playing the last two weeks in Saudi Arabia and at Pebble Beach, and he finished poorly last week. The same can be said of dual Riviera Champion Phil Mickelson, who has also played the last two weeks and let slip a good chance to win with a poor final round at Pebble Beach, despite finishing third.
Tiger Woods is around 18/1 if you think he can break his Riviera duck this week. Brooks Koepka is even bigger at around 25/1 but, whilst he may be motivated to try and regain the world number one spot, he missed the cut here on his only previous visit.
That’s why the second of this week’s 2020 Genesis Invitational free tips is Tony Finau. It took Finau a while to get to grips with Riviera, but he’s finished second and fifteenth on his last two visits and comes into this week’s tournament playing consistent golf.
Marc Leishman is anything but consistent, but he again showed his one of those players that knows how to win when last seen. There’s no guarantee he’ll return in that sort of form again but his form figures of 5/MC/MC/4 on his last four visits make him look worthy of a bet.
Kevin Na doesn’t possess the typical power-game associated with Riviera winners, but he’s won three of his last 50 events and has posted three top-4 finishes in his last nine visits to Riviera. He looks a big price this week considering his record over the last 18 months and is the fourth and final of our 2020 Genesis Invitational free tips.