The Genesis Open returns to the iconic Riviera Country Club with Bubba Watson as the defending champion. Here is a preview and power ranking to get you off and running with your research.
Riviera CC plays to a par of 71 and stretches out to 7,322 yards. It features a trio of par 5s, as well as a drivable par 4. In fact, that drivable par-4 10th hole is often referred to as the best short par 4 in golf. More times than not, Riviera tends to reward players with plenty of length and strong ball-striking skills.
Given the conditions this weekend appear to call for plenty of rain, length may be at an even bigger premium. While all of the field can reach the par-5 first in two, the pair of par 5s on the back nine are not easy reaches. Soft fairways will limit that even more.
Certain courses have a certain level of class associated with them that recognizes classy players. Riviera qualifies as one of those layouts. Going back to 2003, seven of the tournaments have been won by Masters winners. Those were Mike Weir (2003, ’04), Adam Scott (2005 – unofficial), Phil Mickelson (2008, ’09) and Bubba Watson (2014, ’16). As a side note, 2002 was won by a Masters playoff loser, Len Mattiace.
The weather was mentioned earlier, but it should be reiterated that it could be a real story this weekend. Some reports are calling for several inches of rain. That should be factored into all fantasy lineups, but could especially matter in daily formats like Yahoo!, where tee time waves are worthy of scrutiny.
With that as the backdrop, here is this week’s power ranking!
1. Dustin Johnson – This lines up very well. We have a bomber with an incredible record at Riviera CC that includes five top-four finishes and two runner-ups. Rain? Never a problem for DJ, who has won Pebble Beach in horrible conditions. Class? He won the U.S. Open at Oakmont. He’s the safest play on the planet in any and every format.
2. Jordan Spieth – Has a bit of a speckled history at Riviera, but I’m latching onto his T4 in 2015. Why is that? Because he’s playing like it’s 2015 all over again right now. He cruised to victory at Pebble Beach last week.
3. Hideki Matsuyama – This needs very little explanation. Has gone T23-T4-T11 in his three trips to the Genesis Open. His form is spectacular, as is his class.
4. Adam Scott – Not counting his unofficial 36-hole win, ironically shortened by rain, he has produced a pair of runner-up finishes and four top 10s in eight tries. That includes just one missed cut. The putter is always a question mark, but his length and ball-striking prowess have never been a variable.
5. Phil Mickelson – Lefty has performed very similarly the last two weeks. That is, he’s made lots of bogeys, lots of birdies and faded on the back nine on Sunday. His ability to make birdies still renders him dangerous considering he’s a two-time winner here. Somewhat surprisingly, of his four top 10s, they are wins or runner-ups. It’s somewhat feast-or-famine in that regard.