The Boys Come To Play In LA: Genesis Open at Riviera Preview

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The LA Open, folks. They can call it the Genesis Open; they can call it the Northern Trust Open; they can can call it the “Tiger Woods withdrew from a damn press conference Open”; but this week will always be the LA Open.

Since 1926, the LA Open has been a cemented, cherished stop on Tour. It’s served for much of that span as the finale on the “West Coast Swing,” and been played out at Riviera Country Club nearly every year since 1973.

Classic southern Cal weather, gorgeous views, celebrity cameos, and a top-notch golf course are the underlining themes here. The players love it — 8 of the top-10 in the world rankings are teeing it up. Should be fun.

History

General view

Tiger Woods made his Tour debut as a high school sophomore here in 1992; he missed the cut, but fashion fer dayz.

Tiger Woods

Sup high school Tiger.

Recently, Bubba Watson has won here twice (2016 & 2014). Must be something in the water/side of the ball you stand on, because Phil and Mike Weir have both won here twice, and both back to back (Phil 2008 & 2009; Weir 2003 & 2004).

Curiously, nearly every big name in the history of the game has won here save for Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods (Tiger lost in a playoff in 1998, then finished runner-up again in 1999; Jack finished second in 1978).

Arnie won here three times — RIP King.

The Track

7,322 yards. Par 71. Rating 75.6. Slope 137. Riviera is a pristine golf course universally loved by the players. Host of one U.S. Open and two PGA Championships, it clearly possesses the quality of an elite test.

It’s also hosting this year’s U.S. Amateur. It’s stood the test of time well.

Notable Holes

First off, I must say: Fantastic first tee. One of my favorites.

6th, 199-yard par 3

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The sixth is that hole with a bunker in the middle of the green. That’s the best way to describe it. “Hey look there’s a normal golf hole except there’s a pot bunker right smack dab in the middle of the green.” Not sure if I love or hate that but it’s there and makes this 199-yard 3-par stand out.

10th, 315-yard par 4

Yes it’s short. Yes it’s drivable. Yes it’s hard, as Scott Piercy shows us:

At just 315, and often with the tees up and playing shorter, it’s reachable for basically everyone in the field. You either rip one up near the green, knowing it’s damn near impossible to hold it, or lay up out to the left and pitch one in there.

If you do decide to pooch one out there short and left, here’s your view. Not a massive target, but about the best look you can possibly find into this little thing.

The best short 4-par on Tour, many people have been saying.

18th, 475-yard par 4

One of the most naturally theatric finishing hole stages in all of golf.

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At 475 it’s obviously a beast of a 4-par, but the longer guys can move one out there pretty good and get a shorter iron in their hands. Then this is your view coming home.

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Right out in front of you. Long. Great theater. What more can you want for a finishing hole?

Clubhouse

Northern Trust Open - Final Round

Speaking of finishing/theater, look at this puppy. Majestic. Towering. It’s got a strong southern Cal/Spanish architecture vibe, but I don’t hate that.

Riviera Clubhouse = 8.1.

The Field

As aforementioned, 8 of the top 10 in the world are here. It’s a strong field; a top-of-the-line golf course will do that. Add in the Cali weather and a fun little trip to LA and, yeah, the guys shows up.

Here’s a quick look at the betting odds.

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Lots of strong names. Spieth, DJ, Sergio, Hideki, JT, Adam Scott, Lefty, JDay, Bubba. Tough to pick one when there are a handful of RED HOT, top-tier guys that could easily take this thing down.

My inside source (random guy who DMs me all the time) says this is a bombers’ course. We like DJ at +800 and Adam Scott at +2500. When those two both win, you’re welcome. Cassh me at the collector’s window.

Predictions

Winning Score

-15.

Winner

Dustin Johnson.

DFL

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Steven Bowditch.

Coverage

Golf Channel Thursday & Friday, 2 – 6PM EST.
Golf Channel weekend, 1 – 2:30PM EST.
CBS weekend, starts 3PM EST.

Weather

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Final Thoughts

50 days until the Masters. Shit’s starting to get real. Last stop out West then we hit the Florida swing.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s “Fore Play” featuring host of Golf Channel’s “The Golf Fix,” Michael Breed. Honestly an incredibly interesting, energetic, and nice guy. One of our favorites — thanks to Michael for taking 30 minutes to talk with us idiots.

Enjoy Riviera folks.