Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What To Look For: 2020 Genesis Open

Nick Taylor had a wire-to-wire victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Taylor was at 200/1 odds and was ranked 43rd on my list of probable winners. But Pebble Beach once again proved that it’s still very much a putter’s course. Taylor ranked 38th in Strokes Gained – Putting last year and is currently 60th this year.


Now the Tour returns to one of my favorite Tour stops, The Genesis Open at Riviera CC.

LA has so many incredible private clubs with not only Riviera, but the newly renovated Hillcrest CC, Bel-Air, Sherwood, Virginia, MountainGate, Wood Ranch, Wilshire and numerous others. The signature of private golf in LA is these big, broad elevated tees right near the clubhouse on the first tee and it just never seems to get old for me.

The courses are very much like the vibe of the city, very laid back and informal. You’re not sweating out drives that could easily end up in a hazard like you do in Florida, nor are you dealing with ferocious winds of Texas or the waste areas of Arizona. And even though the clubs are built with housing surrounding it, it’s usually amazingly peaceful as people have other things going on besides blaring music and swimming in their pools while you’re out golfing.

The city is eclectic as well. I find it fascinating of the vastly different cultures that reside in the LA metropolitan area. People from the valley are vastly different from people living on the beach. And even people on the beach, in say Venice are very different from people living in say Manhattan Beach. And all of those people are very different from people living in Hollywood and Burbank which is a different group of people from those living in Beverly Hills who are extremely different from those living in say, Pasadena.

Pacific Palisades is usually very quiet and looks much like small town, upper middle class America although most of the residents make very high incomes. It’s the type of place where you could park your car and take a nice casual walk thru the area on the sidewalk and it be very peaceful.

That’s one of the reasons why I usually take a vacation to LA almost every Spring. It’s fairly cheap airfare at usually $200 roundtrip. LAX probably has the most inexpensive car rentals of any airport in the country and I can stay over in South Bay which is only 15 minutes from LAX. And there’s always things to do besides play golf. I plan on getting over there in May and work with my man, George Gankas, on my golf swing.


Riviera is great event because there’s a good correlation between winners at Riviera and how well they perform at The Masters. There’s some similarities between the two courses in that there’s a high 3-putt percentage and much of the strokes gained/lost are on long approach shots. And it also helps to have some distance at Riviera.

The 3-putt percentage is due Riviera having a low make % in general due to the old school greens with large slopes, but being much larger than your typical old school greens. And given the difficulty of the approaches, it often means a lot of long birdie putts.

While the final critical hole on the golf course is the 18th, the hole that will get the most attention is the short par-4 10th hole.

It only plays to 315 yards, but it really plays more like 290 yards with the elevated tee. In the past, the green was so firm that the best play was to go for the green when the pin was in the middle or in the front left location and then lay-up left if the pin was in the back right.

In recent years the green has softened considerably and now the best play is to aim for the left front edge of the green with a driver regardless of pin location. If the golfer goes long and doesn’t feel comfortable hitting a flop to the back right pin location, they can simply chip to the center-front of the green and try to 2-putt from 50+ feet.

There is no chance of rain this week with winds projected to be under 7 mph. Temperatures should have highs of 70 degrees which is very typical in LA this time of the year.



Rory McIlroy +800
Justin Thomas +1,000
Jon Rahm +1,000
Patrick Cantlay +2,000
Xander Schauffele +2,200
Hideki Matsuyama +2,800


Bryson DeChambeau +5,000
Joaquin Niemann +8,000
Corey Conners +10,000
Sepp Straka +40,000



PFP said...

What’s the Straka fascination? Thought u might go with a west coast guy for a dark horse?

Rich H. said...

His numbers are pretty good and fit the course. He's been very inconsistent this season, but has show the ability to get into contention.

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