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Genesis Invitational: Odds, Players to Watch and Course Overview

David Caraviello for Bookies.com

David Caraviello  | 8 mins

Genesis Invitational: Odds, Players to Watch and Course Overview

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Genesis Invitational Picks

Max Homa To Win Outright +1800 (18/1)
Jon Rahm Top 5 Finish +190 (19/10)
Jason Day Top 10 Finish +360 (18/5)

Welcome to the biggest golf tournament of 2023 so far, a power-packed event at the historic Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Twenty-three of the top 25 players in the world are in the starting field for the Genesis Invitational, among them the sport’s leading triumvirate of Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and John Rahm.

And then there’s Tiger.

As if the “designated” PGA Tour event needed any more star power, tournament host Tiger Woods is slated to tee it up for his first start since the 2022 Open Championship last July, and his first non-major since the ZOZO Championship in China in October of 2020. While it may be too much to expect Woods to contend, it still shapes up as a blockbuster weekend where Rahm is the +650 (13/2) favorite with golf betting sites, ahead of +900 (9/1) McIlroy and +1000 (10/1) Scheffler.

Among the top 25 players in the world, the lone absences are No. 4 Cameron Smith and No. 23 Joaquin Neimann—also the event’s defending champion—who have both defected to LIV Golf. Nevertheless, this remains a major-quality field on a course that’s hosted three major championships, all combining to create golf’s biggest weekend until The Players Championship next month.   

Genesis Invitational Odds

Genesis Invitational Course Overview

Opened in 1926, Riviera Country Club in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood was designed by architects George C. Thomas and William P. Bell, the latter also one half of the team behind Torrey Pines. Playing for the pros as a par-71, 7,322-yard layout, Riviera is famous not just for its celebrity membership, but also its compact design, and elevation changes—the first tee offers one of the sport’s more iconic views, looming 75 feet above the fairway—and the spongy Kikuyu rough that grabs club heads and stops balls dead in their tracks.

Much like Torrey Pines, this is a classic layout with inherent design challenges capable of leveling the field between the big hitters and everyone else. You’re not going to just bomb Riviera into submission; winning at the Genesis Invitational requires accuracy off the tee and a short game that’s capable of getting up and down from the thick stuff. Since dense Kikuyu grass also surrounds the greens—making bump-and-run shots all but impossible—every chip shot is an adventure.

While the list of recent champions may indicate anyone can win at Riviera—let’s face it, James Hahn and John Merrick aren’t exactly household names—everything has changed now that the Genesis Invitational has been named a “designated” event by the PGA Tour, meaning bigger money and a far more star-studded field. Much like the Phoenix Invitational last week, where Scheffler won for the first time since the 2022 Masters, expect the cream to rise to the top.

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Genesis Invitational Previous Winners

2022: Joaquin Niemann

2021: Max Homa

2020: Adam Scott

2019: J.B. Holmes

2018: Bubba Watson

2017: Dustin Johnson

2016: Bubba Watson

2015: James Hahn

2014: Bubba Watson

2013: John Merrick

Genesis Invitational Betting Angles

It’s hard to argue with Rahm as the odds favorite on betting sites, given the streak he’s been on as of late. The Spaniard continued his good form with a solo third last week in Phoenix, and now has finished eighth or better in nine straight starts, with four victories in that span. And though he’s never won at Riviera, Rahm has played very well there, with a T5 and T9 the best among his four career starts. Among players with more than one career start, only Viktor Hovland and Wyndham Clark own better average finishes in the Genesis Invitational than Rahm’s 13.0.

McIlroy had also been enjoying a hot streak, with eight straight finishes of eighth or better (including three wins) until he plummeted back to earth with a T32 in Phoenix last week. McIlroy has finished as high as T5 at the Genesis Invitational, where he tied for 10th last season. The world No. 1 and somehow overlooked Scheffler has now finished top 10 in five of his last six tournaments, and his T7 last year at Riviera marked his best result in four career Genesis Invitational starts.

The best average finish of any player with more than one career start at Riviera belongs to +2500 (25/1) Hovland, who’s been T4 and T5 in L.A. the past two years, although he’s been in the 70s in six of his last eight rounds and finished T42 at Phoenix. A +1500 (15/1) shot on golf betting apps, Xander Schauffele has been competitive in all five of his career Riviera starts, with a best finish of T9 in 2018. The X-Man has also been playing very well as of late, with a T3, T13 and T10 his last three times out.

Speaking of regular contenders at Riviera: +1800 (18/1) wager Max Homa has gone T10, win and T5 in his last three Genesis appearances, and the Torrey Pines winner is historically at his best in his home state of California. And last year’s runner-up, +2000 (20/1) wager Collin Morikawa, had finished sixth, second and third in consecutive starts before hitting a speed bump and missing the cut in Phoenix.

And as for Woods? USA sports betting sites have priced up the GOAT at +11000 (110/1) to win at Riviera, where despite his status as host he’s cracked the top 10 just four times in 14 career appearances. He missed the cut in last year’s Open Championship after shooting 78-74, and withdrew from his January exhibition in the Bahamas due to plantar fasciitis. Riviera is a hilly, tough walk that could be challenging for Woods, so watch him with an eye on a potential wager at Augusta.

Genesis Invitational Predictions

Max Homa to Win, +1800 (18/1)

We’re not going to let a T39 in boozy, broiling Phoenix deter us from backing the California Killer, who’s scored four of his six career PGA Tour victories in the Golden State. One of those came three weeks ago at Torrey Pines, which shares several classic design characteristics with Riviera, where Homa also won in 2021. While the Big Three of Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy are getting all the attention, Homa has risen to second in the FedEx Cup standings and 12th in the world. And at 32, he’s just hitting his stride. 

John Rahm Top 5, +190 (19/10)

Expectations are so high for Rahm, that a seventh-place finish like the one he recorded at Torrey Pines is considered a huge disappointment. Although he couldn’t mount a final-round charge to catch Scheffler at Phoenix, his four 68s in the desert offered a return to form just in time for a Genesis Invitational that’s been very good to him in the past.

Jason Day Top 10, +360 (18/5)

The Jason Day renaissance is in full swing after the Australian followed up his T7 at Torrey Pines with a solo fifth at Phoenix. While Riviera isn’t historically his best course—in two career Genesis starts, his best finish is a T64—he hasn’t played the event in three years, and he’s finally again showing flashes of the major champion he once was. 

How to Watch The Genesis Invitational

Thursday and Friday, Golf Channel 4-8 p.m. EST; Saturday, Golf Channel 1-3 p.m. and CBS 3-7 p.m.; Sunday, Golf Channel 1-3 p.m. and CBS 3-6:30 p.m.

About the Author

David Caraviello for Bookies.com
David Caraviello
Veteran sports journalist David Caraviello has covered college football, college basketball, motorsports and golf, covering all three US golf majors, the Daytona 500 and SEC football.