Riviera was created in 1926 and designed by renowned architect, George C. Thomas. It has hosted 3 PGA Tour majors and will also be the site for the 2017 US Amateur. This is one of my favorite Tour stops because the Tour is more or less done with playing events on multiple courses like Pebble Beach and Palm Springs. But, I also enjoy the history of the even and even more the design of Riviera.
Old school courses (pre-1980) were usually designed with small greens that were very undulated. They usually feature much less water and more straight forward and simple hole designs as well as being able to get in trouble off the tee, but still find the ball. Modern designs feature greens almost twice as large and much flatter surfaces. There's a premium on making picturesque holes, so we see more tricky hole designs which often bust more than they boom. And there's a higher odds of lost golf balls and with the golf ball market so pricey, I think it adds to less participation and slower play.
Riviera is a hybrid of those theories. It has some very small greens and then some very big ones. The make percentages on the greens are usually lower than normal, but not horrifically low as they are at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach. It also has some tricked up holes like the 6th, 8th and 10th holes.
The 6th hole features a bunker right in the middle of the green.
The 8th hole features a split fairway.
Years ago, the course used to have a good mix of golfer skill sets that could win here. It had enough holes to favor long hitters. The greens could favor the better putters and the approach shots could favor the good ballstrikers that don't hit it long.
Some renovations have been done over the years and that has made the course more of a bomber's course.
The Tour players generally like the course and getting out to LA with all of the history, Hogan's Alley and Bogart's Tree. However, the course conditions are not always up to snuff and nobody likes the LA traffic.
The course conditions make this a difficult course to project statistically because if the course is firm, the scores rise and it favors the shorter hitters. If the course is soft, the scores are low and it favors the long hitters.
The weather forecast is calling for heavy rain in the next few days.
Projected Winning Score: -11
Jordan Spieth +750
Dustin Johnson +800
Hideki Matsuyama +1000
Byeon Hun-An +6600
Shane Lowry +7000
3JACK’S DARK HORSES
Pat Perez +7500
Webb Simpson +8000
Ollie Schneiderjans +10000
Seung-Yul Noh +12500
Graham DeLaet +15000