The Genesis Open 2019 is this week’s tournament on the PGA Tour and the host venue is the famous Riviera Country Club. It’s a golf course that is renowned for attracting more than its fair share of Hollywood celebrities over the generations including the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, and Marky Mark Wahlberg.
A-list celebrities are often seen in the crowd this week, but the star attraction this week will undoubtedly be Tiger Woods. But Riviera has never been one of Tiger’s favourite hunting grounds, and it’s worth noting that he didn’t win here even in his prime. Indeed, he only ended an 11-year hiatus from this tournament last year when he missed the cut under the pressure of being tournament host. This will also only be Tiger’s second event of 2019 and there doesn’t look to be any value in his odds of 20/1.
Those in front of Tiger in the market include Dustin Johnson whose form here is right out of the top drawer. He finished 2/2/4/1 between 2014 and 2017, before finishing a perfectly respectable sixteenth last year when trying to defend. A third round 64 also showed just what Johnson is capable of around Riviera and he’ll surely go close this week if his Saudi International win and four rounds at the weather-hit Pebble Beach Pro-Am haven’t exhausted him. But that’s a big if, and there will probably be better opportunities to back him at around 8/1 this year.
It’s harder to find reasons to back the other market leaders at this classic par 71 course that measures just over 7,300 yards. Justin Thomas cracked the top-10 for the first time in four tries last year, whilst Jordan Spieth has placed just once in six previous visits. John Rahm is making his tournament debut, Rory McIlroy has only finished twentieth both times he’s played here, while Bryson DeChambeau broke par just once in his four rounds last year.
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That means there could be some value further down the field at the course nicknamed Hogan’s Alley this week. One player that looks overpriced on his achievements is Bubba Watson, who won here in 2014, 2016, and 2018. But despite his habit of winning tournaments he likes multiple times, Bubba has yet to defend a title the following season.
Last week’s winner Phil Mickelson also has plenty of decent performances here, but the 48-year-old may not have too much left in the tank after having to wait until Monday to close out his record-equalling fifth win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
One player I do want on side this week is Xander Schauffele who, despite topping the FedEx Cup rankings courtesy of wins at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions in his last five events, still doesn’t seem to be getting the attention he deserves from the bookies. A great iron player, he caught the eye on his tournament debut last season by shooting steadily progressive rounds of 71, 70, 68, and 68 to finish in a tie for ninth place. A better player now, who showed he was still in great form when finishing tenth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open two-weeks ago, he could easily win this year’s event.
Another player that gave last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am a miss to come here fresh is Adam Hadwin and it surely won’t be long before the ever-improving Canadian adds another PGA Tour victory to his C.V. He’s already shot a 59 in his career and he showed he can go low at Riviera last year when finishing sixth after a pair of 66’s on Saturday and Sunday, which was two-shots lower than any other player shot over the weekend. He’s also shown good recent-form when finishing second at the Desert Classic.
The third and final player in this week’s betting portfolio is Jason Kokrak, who was beaten by just one shot by Bubba Watson here in 2016. He’s finished 22/20 on his two visits since and has been catching the eye of late with three consecutive top-20’s in 2019. He’s shot two 65’s and two 66’s in his last three tournaments and, with just one of his last 12 rounds being over par, he could easily feature this week if finding just a small amount of improvement for a return to a course he obviously relishes playing.
2019 Genesis Open Golf Free Tips
Xander Schauffle (Each-Way) @ 21.00 SkyBet, PaddyPower
Adam Hadwin (Each-Way) @ 51.00 SkyBet, PaddyPower
Jason Kokrak (Each-Way) @ 67.00 SkyBet, PaddyPower
8 places on all above bets