Riviera Country Club

The PGA tour’s West Coast swing ends at the Riviera Country Club in California for the 2019 Genesis Open. A very strong field of 144 golfers will compete at the historical course. It is a Par 71 that measures 7,322 yards. Not only is it around 400 yards longer than last week’s event at Pebble Beach, but it can play even longer with some of the uphill shots the golfers have to hit. These are some of the most difficult fairways to hit on tour and it’s generally more important to be on the right side of the hole than it is to be in the short grass.

This event has been around for decades, so we have plenty of course history to lean on at Riviera. It has certainly withstood the test of time, and it’s an all-around challenge for the golfers that choose to play here. The highlight of the course is the par 4 10th hole which has been described as the best par 4 in golf. A 315-yard drivable hole but the fairway and greens are surrounded by well-placed bunkers and a green that canters 45 degrees from left to right.  

The solid all-around tee to green player is someone we need to consider, and course history is also more important this week than we see with some other layouts. With the small greens as well, look for golfers who putt well and save par when missing the greens on approach.

This week DraftKings have increased the prize pool of the feature contest with a $600,000 Mini Winter Classic for a $10 entry fee. A $100,000 Birdie contest for a smaller fee of $3 is also available. Over at Moneyball, the $500 contest once again filled for the Pebble Beach pro-am and increased to $660. Let’s hope a $750 contest in the lobby is not too far away.

Tough this week in my tips so I’ve leaned on course experience in my selections:

Bubba Watson ($9,700 DK $7,800 MB) – If I am going to go off course history, then Bubba is the top of the list. How someone playing in the NBA all-star game last year at Staples could then come out and win the Genesis open is mind boggling. Watson has 3 wins at this course and a T4 at TPC Scottsdale two weeks ago. He is very hard to get away from this week and is the 7th highest salary golfer on the slate.

Rafael Carbera-Bello ($7,800 DK, $6,100 MB) – I am going back to my man RCB after a strong performance at Pebble Beach for the first three rounds. It was a little disappointing to see a 74 on the Sunday and losing his top 10 leader board ranking. Drove the ball exceptionally well at Pebble Beach and if he can improve his greens in regulation stats, then we are getting RCB at a nice discount from last week.

Cameron Smith ($8,400 DK $6,700 MB) – Smith is starting to put together an impressive resume of consistent high finishes this season.  If we are looking at course history, then his performance at this event last year bodes well; T6 last year and 3/3 overall. On that resume is a top 5 ranking in Shots gained in total in this season’s PGA tour.

Kevin Streelman ($7,100 DK $5,700 MB) – Streelman was hot on Sunday at Pebble Beach, carding a 65 and earning a top 10 finish. Going to ride the confidence train and look for Kevin to stay hot here at Riviera. Made the cut last year with a 41st finish and if he makes the weekend then he is a great salary saver. 6 cuts from 10 previous appearances at the event has myself a tad worried but the field is stacked this week and we need to find some value.          

Tiger Woods ($9,500 DK $7,600 MB) – If I am going to stick with my course history strategy, then I need to leave Woods out of my line-ups. He has not won at the course at all since he was a 16yo amateur, despite a couple of runner up performances when he was a young Tiger. Woods hosts this event, so I am thinking that all the social events, media and sponsors could affect his game. Quite possibly he could defy history, but Woods is not for me this week.


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