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Genesis Open Preview

What: Genesis Open
Where: Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, CA
When: February 15th-18th
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson
FedEx Cup Points and Purse: 500 and $7,200,000

Last week it was Ted Potter Jr. taking the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for his second career PGA victory. Staying in California, next up is the Genesis Open, where Dustin Johnson took the victory by five strokes last year. DJ was in a great position to take the victory last week, as well, as he started his week off with 67-64 but finished Saturday-Sunday with 70-72.

Last Week’s Results

Top Picks

Spieth – T20
Day – T2
DJ – T2

Second Tier

Rahm – T26
Mickelson – T2
Reed – CUT

Third Tier

McIlroy – CUT
Snedeker – T20
Woodland – CUT


Mahan – CUT
Furyk – DNP
Streelman – 6th

A bit of a gaff on my part, as Furyk didn’t make an appearance at this event. I’d like to see fewer missed cuts, but to be fair, the cut line was at 3-under.

Headlining the Genesis Open this week, on Thursday and Friday, we are going to see Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas in the same grouping. Oh boy. Tiger won’t be on this list, but if he is at the minimum in your salary league and you roster more than eight golfers, he is probably worth a shot.

The Genesis Open calls for long drives, good scrambling, and the ability to tackle its very speedy greens. It is a lengthy par-71 coming in at 7,350 yards.

This Week’s Picks

Top Picks

Dustin Johnson – An obvious pick, of course, DJ solidified himself last year as the tournament’s all-time earnings leader. In 10 appearances, he has never finished outside of the top-10 and owns six top-4s here. There are a lot of good value plays this week, so pay up for him. The fact that his T2 last week feels like a disappointment speaks volumes.

Jordan Spieth – Spieth is undoubtedly good enough to handle these greens even though he’s been iffy with the putter lately, and he keeps it very accurate scrambling-wise. He is a great course manager, with three top-25s in five starts here.

Phil Mickelson – Continuing his west coast run, Lefty is on fire lately. Half of his appearances this season have ended in top-3s, and he is coming off a T5 and a T2 in Phoenix and at Pebble, respectively. Mickelson ranks fifth in strokes gained: putting, firth in putting average, and 12th in strokes gained: approach the green.

Second Tier

Tommy Fleetwood – An off-the-tee bomber, Fleetwood is making his tournament debut here, but I am all in. He closed out 2017 in Europe with three straight top-6s, he then won at the Abu Dhabi to open 2018, and he followed that up with a T6. He leads the entire European Tour in greens in regulation. His putter leaves something to be desired, but he has had success on similar greens like the ones at the WGC-Mexico.

Rory McIlroy – After debuting here two years ago and finishing finished T20, Rory will look to avenge that missed cut last week as he gets into the swing of things in North America. His price probably didn’t creep up that much, so it’s hard to pass on a guy like him at this point of the season. Expect last week to be a fluke.

Paul CaseyA full second-tier of United Kingdom residents? It’s a coincidence, I promise. Around the world, Casey has not missed a cut in over a year, yet people don’t seem to realize. He had a very quiet top-10 finish last week, and he hasn’t finished outside the top-30 in the calendar year. Casey is your security blanket for the week.

Third Tier

Justin Thomas – Thomas has not finished any better than T39 here in four appearances, but we can’t start ignoring him just yet, as he has made all five of his cuts, which include a top-25 in each. He has been outside the top-11 in his last three events, but we can keep rolling him out. Thomas is 9th in driving distance, 8th in birdie average, 9th in scoring average, and 15th in putting average.

Matt Kuchar – Kuchar probably won’t be a popular pick this week with so many other great options available, but he has looked good lately. With a quiet T5 in the WMPO two weeks ago, he is no stranger to Riviera. Kuchar has five top-25s here and hardly ever misses cuts.

Ollie Schniederjans – Schniederjans quietly posted two top-10s already this season at the Sony Open and the WMPO, which were among a surprising five top-25s this year. Ollie had four rounds under 70 last year and finished 8th. A missed cut at Torrey Pines may turn people away, so now could be a good time to jump on him. This course may be too long for his driver, but if he can be on the money with his long-irons, he will be in good position to deliver a victory, which is something we have been hoping to see for a little over a year already.


Adam Hadwin – The Canadian is 3-for-3 with two top-25s here, with a rounding scoring average of 70. He even led last year’s event in scrambling. He is a mid-level scorer in terms of strokes gained, but he is perfect on the year with seven cuts and is looking to work some of his T3 magic from the CareerBuilder a month ago. You can bank on a top-25 finish.

K.J. Choi – An insane 17-for-17 in cuts made at this event, Choi has placed in the top-35 15 times, which includes nine top-25s. He qualified in 2001 for this tournament and hasn’t missed an appearance, believe it or not. He seems to deliver his best at Riviera.

Tony Finau – Finau’s price probably isn’t in sleeper territory, and he is gaining popularity on TOUR. This course fits him well, although the fact that the greens could beat up him makes him a classic boom-or-bust option this week. It’ll be hit or miss in terms of who owns him and who doesn’t (expect his ownership to be on the lower side), but Finau has that long drive to excel here. He ranks second in Driving Distance, first in Par-5 scoring gained over a sample of 50 past rounds, and surprisingly has been in the positive numbers in strokes gained: around the green in his past five events. Putting may always be what gets in the way of him winning, but the chance for a scorching hot week is too good to pass up.

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