Genesis Open: Johnson out to impress at Riviera Country Club
Genesis Open: Johnson out to impress at Riviera Country Club

Genesis Open: Johnson out to impress at Riviera Country Club

After a brief, but highly eventful, trip to the Arizona desert, the California coast is once again the focus for our PGA Tour picks as we study the odds for some Genesis Invitational tips.

The famous Riviera Country Club plays host to a star-studded field, with every member of the world’s top 10 and 16 of the top 20 in action.

Quality ball-striking is a must at a course which ranked inside the five most difficult last season in terms of percentage of fairways hit (47.24), greens in regulation (54.17), proximity to the hole (42ft 7in) and conversion percentage inside 10 feet.

California native Max Homa defends the title he won last year by beating Tony Finau in a play-off.


Surprise winners are not unheard of at Riviera, with Homa’s victory 12 months ago preceded by James Hahn in 2015 and John Merrick in 2013.

However, it is hard to look outside the host of star names for the first of our PGA Tour picks, with former world number one Dustin Johnson getting the nod.

Johnson has recorded 10 top-10 finishes in 14 appearances, including a five-shot victory in 2017 which was the first of three straight wins which made him a massive favourite for the Masters until he injured himself in a fall at Augusta.

The two-time major winner was eighth on his last start and will be determined to start climbing back up the rankings after slipping to sixth.


A correlation between Masters champions and winners at Riviera – which includes Johnson, Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Adam Scott – leads us to our second PGA Tour pick in the shape of Cameron Smith.

Scott’s fellow Aussie has yet to slip on a green jacket at Augusta National but was second behind Johnson in 2020, becoming the first player in Masters history to break 70 in all four rounds.

Smith began the year with a record-breaking total of 34 under par in winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions and although he missed the cut the following week, he bounced back with a tie for fourth in the Saudi International.


As well as winning two Masters titles, Watson lifted the trophy at Riviera three times in the space of five years, with his first victory in 2014 courtesy of back-to-back rounds of 64 over the weekend.

The left-hander has surprisingly missed the cut in each of the last two years but comes into the week in good form after following a runners-up finish in Saudi Arabia with a tie for 14th in Phoenix.

With such a strong field at Riviera those performances have not been reflected in a change in the Genesis Invitational odds and Watson can be backed for a fourth victory at 46.00.


Fitzpatrick and Im are 23rd and 24th in the world respectively and come into the event with near-identical recent performances under their belts.

The biggest difference is in their form at Riviera, where Fitzpatrick was 30th on his debut in 2020 and fifth last year.

In contrast Im has missed the cut in both of his last two starts in 2019 and 2020 and the in-form Fitzpatrick is fancied to get the better of Im over 72 holes as the last of our Genesis Invitational tips.

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