The PGA Tour wraps up the California swing this week as 120 players are set to take on Riviera Country Club in the 2022 Genesis Invitational. After an exciting playoff finish to the WM Phoenix Open, players will need to reset from the beer showers of TPC Scottsdale as “Hogan’s Alley” has long played as one of the more difficult stops on the tour.
With each of the top 11 players in the world scheduled to take part in the Genesis Invitational, the city of Los Angeles has no time to cater to its Super Bowl hangover. The last half-decade has seen the cream of the crop travel to the City of Angels and this week’s tournament features the strongest field of 2022 to date.
Tiger Woods will play the role of tournament host once again. While he unfortunately will not be in the playing field, the 15-time major champion will receive plenty of airtime before the tournament as well as on the television broadcast.
Though it is a completely different week on the PGA Tour, we will not be seeing a different pre-tournament favorite. Headlining the oddsboard once again is world No. 1 Jon Rahm, who is listed at +1000 at Sportsbook.
The Spaniard, making his fourth appearance in the Genesis Invitational, is a perfect 3-for-3 making the cut with finishes of T-9, T-17 and T-5. Still searching for his first victory since his 2021 U.S. Open win, Rahm should once again play a factor at Riviera as our odds calculator gives him a 9.09 percent chance to come out on top.
Who is Favored to Win the Genesis Invitational?
Odds as of February 15 at Sportsbook
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What Happened in Last Year’s Genesis Invitational?
The 2021 Genesis Invitational featured everything from a near first-time Sportsbook to a quirky weather delay in the third round and a hometown kid eventually claiming victory. That would be Max Homa as the Los Angeles native added his name to City of Champions lore, beating Tony Finau in a two-hole playoff that began on Riviera’s famous drivable par-4 10th hole.
After missing a three-foot birdie opportunity on the 72nd hole, Homa gathered himself as he was immediately given a poor break in extra holes. With his ball against a tree, the now three-time Sportsbook on the PGA Tour was able to save par, matching Finau’s effort. With Finau in the greenside bunker on the par-3 11th, Homa found the middle of the green and later secured his second win after two-putting for par.
While Homa was the victor, he overcame a two-stroke deficit to Sam Burns, who was in control for the vast majority of the week. With Burns cruising, Homa was among a large chasing pack that included not only Finau, but Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson.
Course and Tournament Information
2022 Genesis Invitational Expert Selections
Rory McIlroy +2000 To Win
I would not fault many people for going with someone like Johnson at the top given how he played at the Farmers Insurance Open and his sparkling course history. However, the way in which Rory McIlroy has been playing is going extremely under the radar as he is scheduled to play in his first start of 2022 on the PGA Tour.
Now into the middle of February, the Northern Irishman began his year on the DP World Tour where he carried on his 2021 form. Battling back after a poor Sportsbook round, McIlroy finished in a tie for 12th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship before gifting Viktor Hovland the Dubai Desert Classic. Needing a birdie on the 72nd hole, the four-time major Sportsbook lost his second shot into the closing par 5 into the greenside water hazard.
He eventually finished with a bogey and ended up one stroke out of the eventual playoff, marking yet another close call for McIlroy. In his last 10 tournaments worldwide, the 32-year-old has entered the final round within four strokes of the lead on five different occasions.
After converting only one of those opportunities into a victory, at the 2021 CJ Cup at Summit, McIlroy has been adamant about his 2022 goals and wanting to get into the Sportsbook’s circle six times this season. This is one of his better opportunities as he had collected finishes of T-20, T-20, T-4 and T-5 before an inexplicable missed cut last season.
Marc Leishman +6600 To Win
We have gone to the well with Leishman plenty of times, namely at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and truthfully, he has yet to do anything to deter us. Gaining strokes on the field in all seven PGA Tour starts this season, the Australian is slowly returning to his peak form of 2019.
After he gained strokes on approach in each of those outings and lost strokes off the tee only twice due to his inaccuracy, Riviera should be the perfect melting pot for a player with his statistical profile. A long driver, proficient iron player and a magician on and around the green, the 38-year-old has now been net positive with his short game in seven consecutive starts.
Clearly in terrific form, it has taken some time for Leishman to find a comfort level at Riviera. Riddled with inconsistencies at first, he has now connected on three consecutive weekend appearances, including in 2019 when he finished in a tie for fourth.
Joaquin Niemann +6600 To Win
Joaquin Niemann was caught in the worst of the wind conditions in last year’s Genesis Invitational. Firing rounds of 68 and 67 to kick off his tournament, the young Chilean was inside the top five heading into the weekend.
Battling his best during the windiest of times, however, Niemann posted a 7-over 78 in Round 3 and was unable to fully recover. However, lost in the disappointment was the world No. 32’s second-best around-the-green performance of his career and his best of 2021.
Known to struggle in this department, this is a welcomed sight as Niemann is not only a tremendous driver of the golf ball but a very competent iron player. Posting nearly two strokes gained on the poa annua greens of Torrey Pines en route to a T-6 result in his 2022 debut, this could be a fantastic week for Niemann to have the entirety of his game to cooperate.
Kevin Na +8000 To Win
The lone player in our selections to not fall under the moniker of “bomber,” Kevin Na has found success at Riviera in the past. With three top-four finishes to his name, the American’s best effort to date came in 2018 when he lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson.
While he consistently loses strokes off the tee, it is 100 percent due to his length as he finds fairways with the best of them. From the fairway, one would be surprised just how good Na is with his irons and on some of these longer par 4s. Seeing Na ranked inside the top 20 in this field in both proximity from 150 to 175 yards and par-4 scoring from 450 to 500 yards, it is much clearer why he has been so close in the past.
He arrives this season off a strong Hawaii swing that saw him finish in a tie for 13th at the Tournament of Champions and in a tie for 20th in his defense effort at the Sony Open. Looking phenomenal tee to green and amazing on and around the green, Na rounds out our outright selections for the Genesis Invitational.
Golf is unique for many reasons, but one of them is the significant number of betting props available at weekly tournaments. The Genesis Invitational is no different.
Sportsbooks are offering odds on things like whether there will be a hole-in-one, OVER/UNDERs on the winning score for the eventual champion and odds on which players from specific countries will have the lowest score, to name a few.
Like other sports, betting on props is a fun and unique way to enhance your golf gambling experience.
Live Betting is arguably one of the most exciting ways to bet on golf. If the player you placed a pre-tournament bet on is out of the running at any point during the Genesis Invitational, you can bet on another golfer as the days go by and have another stake in the game.
If there are only a few men in the hunt on the final day, the odds likely won’t be significantly high, but your chances of winning are. We’ve seen this happen multiple times in the PGA Tour’s Return to Golf, as multiple tournaments have gone to a playoff.
These helpful pages will assist you in handicapping your golf wagers: