PGA Preview: The Genesis Invitational

By Chris Havlicek

Updated 2/14/24 12:54am ET

The PGA Tour heads back to Southern California, outside of Los Angeles, for The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. with a loaded field that includes the tournament host, Tiger Woods.

The “signature” event boasts a $20 million purse with $4 million awarded to the winner. Unlike the previous two signature events this season, the Genesis will have a 36-hole cut to the low 50 players and ties.

Host Tiger Woods, who made a record 142 straight cuts from 1998 to 2005, will be trying to make the cut himself, marking his first official PGA Tour start since last year’s Masters. Woods last played at the PNC Championship in December. His odds to win this tourney are 120-to-1 and Woods is +330 to finish in the Top 20.

What: 2024 Genesis Invitational
Where: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
When: Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 15-18
Purse: $20 million ($4 million winner’s share)
Defending champion: John Rahm

The Course:

One of the PGA TOUR’s most famed and historic tracks, The Riviera Country Club is a 7322-yard par 71 layout. Riviera has been providing Hollywood-level theatre for almost a century, with an iconic bunker in the middle of a green, a natural amphitheater, and one of the world’s most recognizable short par 4s. Nicknamed ‘Hogan’s Alley’, it is a classical course that features tight, uneven tree-lined fairways, plus fast green complexes that average 7,500 square feet with plenty of surrounding run-off areas for overly aggressive or wayward approach shots.

The Field:

With Tiger’s return and the tournament being a Signature Event, it’s no surprise to see a remarkable 70-player field this week at Riviera. Nine of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings are here, led by World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. Other notable names include Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele, Wyndham Clark, Patrick Cantlay, and past champion Max Homa. Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Brian Harman, Ludvig Aberg, Sam Burns, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Cameron Young, Sahith Theegala, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Rickie Fowler.

Odds: 2024 Genesis Invitational betting odds (Top 10 – Courtesy of FanDuel)

Scottie Scheffler (+650)

Rory McIlroy (+1000)

Viktor Hovland (+1400)

Justin Thomas (+1600)

Xander Schauffele (+1400)

Collin Morikawa (+1800)

Patrick Cantlay (+1800)

Ludvig Aberg (+1800)

Max Homa (+2000)

Sam Burns (+2200)

Keys to Victory:

The course itself favors longer hitters, where finding fairways is extremely difficult – although the penalty tends to be the danger of blocked approach shots into deep bunkers rather than thick, lush rough. The course features some of the deepest bunkers on Tour and fairway positioning is key as trees can block approach shots. Every season Riviera plays as one of the hardest courses to hit greens, and putting is difficult, especially from 10 feet and in on the fast Poa Annua greens.

Course familiarity is also key, as Riviera is the third-most predictive course on the PGA tour.  Players with experience, who hit it long and are comfortable on the slick Poa Annua greens, should thrive this week.

Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock

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