The Genesis Invitational: How will Tiger Woods get on in his return to action

By Bryan Nicholson

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14 February 2024

Nick Taylor edged out Charley Hoffman in a playoff in Scottsdale and with that qualification for the next Signature Event was wrapped up. We'll see all this year's tournament winners and last year's FedEx Cup top 50 at the Tiger Woods’ hosted Genesis Invitational. We'll also get a look at numbers 51-60 from last year's FedEx Cup, and the new Aon Swing 5 qualifiers will be hitting the fairways at Riviera Country Club.

The tournament host himself, Tiger Woods, will also be playing for the first time in a while. The Aon Next 10 now resets before the next Signature Event where the top 10 in the 2024 FedEx Cup ranking (not already exempt) book their ticket.

Inevitably, the market is led by Scottie Scheffler, 8.6, and Rory McIlroy, 14.0. These two have quite a modest record around Riviera and it may pay to back against them this week. Viktor Hovland, 20.0, and Max Homa, 26.0, are two players whose course profiles are ideal for Riviera, but they’ve had a quiet start to the season.

The Course

A stellar field lines up to play arguably the next best venue on the rotation after Augusta and it is a ball striker's playground, famously fitting left-to-right players and big hitters. Expect 3-putts galore and duffed chips around the Poa Annua surfaces and Kikuyu surrounds respectively. 

Coming from the rough in spots at Riviera (further down) is better than the fairway to be able to access some tucked pin positions behind deep greenside bunkering guarding elevated surfaces. We are looking for a tee to green machine who can ball strike his opponents into submission. The premium is on ball striking and key metrics like long irons, while par five performance will be key.

The Contenders

It may pay to look somewhat back-to-form with Collin Morikawa to win at 22.0 or t10 at 2.86, who sees everything from left to right and ranked eighth in fairways hit in 2023. Collin is one of the best iron and approach players in the game, ranking second in approach last year. The former Open champ has finished second and sixth the last two renewals here which tells its own story. 

The American was t14 at Pebble Beach and is rounding into form again after winning the ZOZO Champs late last year. Morikawa sits ninth in tee to green performance this season.

It was very interesting to see Adam Scott, to win at 40.0 or t10 at 4.4, back on form last week at the WM Phoenix Open. Scotty is arguably the player most suited to the Riviera track where it's a case of outstaying your opponents from tee to green. The Aussie was a winner here in 2020 and has a handful of near misses besides. He owns six top 10s at the course. After a strong end to the 2023 season back home, he started 2024 where he left off with form of 7-20-8. He's 22nd in strokes gained off the tee, fifth in strokes gained tee to green, and ranks third in proximity to the hole.

Big Tony Finau, to win at 40.0 or t10 at 4.3, has been a staple feature of my betting through the years at the Genesis Invitational and his course fit profile is perfect. A couple of runner-up finishes in the last handful of years backs that up. Finau is a big hitter who dominates par fives, plays with a fade, and has an excellent short game around the greens. His struggles continue with the flat stick but on these surfaces the better putters’ advantage is negated. The big man looked like he was going to win at Torrey Pines a few weeks back before faltering down the stretch.

Wyndham Clark, to win at 50.0 or t10 @ 4.8, is another power fader who has some pedigree at Riviera with a top 10 and a top 20 here. The newly crowned major champ has been doing some work with the flat stick which led to a third round 60 and a win at Pebble Beach. Confidence is high for the world number six, and he took his form over to the Phoenix Open.

Recommended Bets

Back Collin Morikawa to win @ 22.0 or t10 @ 2.86
Back Adam Scott to win @ 40.0 or t10 @ 4.4

Back Tony Finau to win @ 40.0 or t10 @ 4.3
Back Wyndam Clark to win @ 50.0 or t10 @ 4.8 

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