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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2022 Genesis Invitational

Hello PGA DFS family and welcome back to Horse For The Course! The WM Phoenix Open is always one of the most fun events of the year and it did not disappoint, as we saw a bit of everything at TPC Scottsdale this weekend. A star-studded leaderboard resulted in a sudden-death playoff between Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay, with Scheffler eventually emerging victorious for the first win of his PGA Tour career. What a fun week!

We now head to Los Angeles for another terrific event...the Genesis Invitational.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!


2022 Genesis Invitational

We hop from one of the most fun events of the year in Phoenix to one of the most classic in Los Angeles. Riviera Country Club is about as iconic as it gets and serves as one of the longest-standing stops on the PGA Tour schedule. This year's Genesis Invitational signifies the end of the 2022 "West Coast Swing", as the Tour will migrate to Florida next week and set up shop for a month in the Sunshine State.

We didn't really need the PGA Tour to tell us that the Genesis is an important event, but they did it anyway a few years ago by designating the Genesis as an "elevated status" event. This puts the tournament in rarified air alongside the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial, as events that offer a three-year exemption to the winner and a very large prize pool. The 2022 edition of the Genesis features a massive $12 million total purse with the winner taking home over $2 million!

Due to the tournament's invitational format, we have a field of just 120 golfers this week. But don't let the smaller size fool you, as it is elite by anyone's standards. Hometown L.A. kid and defending Genesis champion, Max Homa, will have a tough task repeating at Riviera against a field that includes superstars such as Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Dustin Johnson, as well as a pair of players in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy that will be making their first starts of the year in the continental U.S. after electing to get their 2022 campaigns underway abroad. All told, we have every single one of the OWGR's top-10 players in attendance this week!

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: The Riviera Country Club

Par 71 - 7,322 Yards, Greens: Poa annua, Designed By: George C. Thomas Jr. & William P. Bell

The Riviera Country Club is a legendary track and one of the classiest courses on the PGA Tour schedule. Its Hollywood history only adds to the club's intrigue. Opened in 1927, Riviera was an instant classic and has long been a favorite of L.A.'s celebrities and golf course aficionados. It was famously dubbed 'Hogan's Alley' after Ben Hogan logged three wins on the course in 18 months.

In addition to all the history, Riviera still stands out as a great golf course in the modern era. The 315 yard, drivable Par-4 10th hole is one of the best on the PGA Tour. It is 'risk/reward' at its finest and offers players a chance to drive the small green for an eagle opportunity. However, a miss on 10 can quickly turn disastrous, as shots from around the green are extremely tricky. Riviera places an emphasis on ball-striking and shot-making, especially from 175+ yards out. I will focus on ball strikers that have previous experience at Riviera this week.

Check out RotoBaller's PGA Premium Course Breakdown by Josh Bennett for an in-depth breakdown of this week's golf course!


Recent Genesis Winners

  • 2021: Max Homa (-12)
  • 2020: Adam Scott (-11)
  • 2019: J.B. Holmes (-14)
  • 2018: Bubba Watson (-12)
  • 2017: Dustin Johnson (-17)


Event Notes

  • Every player ranked inside the OWGR top-10 is in the field this week.
  • Limited field of 120 golfers with a 36-hole cut to top-65 and ties. This translates to a larger percentage of the overall field making the cut, which means we should see more 6/6 lineups on this DFS slate.
  • Three of the last five winners at Riviera have been former Masters champions and 10 of the 20 Genesis winners since 2001 own green jackets.
  • Riviera ranked as the 10th-toughest course on the schedule last season and was one of only 11 courses with a scoring average that was over par.


The Horse

Dustin Johnson

Notable Course History: T8 (2021), T10 ('20), T9 ('19), Win ('17)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

After showing us his true ceiling down the stretch in 2020, Dustin Johnson undeniably regressed in 2021, as it marked his first calendar year without a win on the PGA Tour since 2014. Despite the underwhelming-by-his-standards season (he did pick up a win at the Saudi International early in the year), there were some positive signs toward the end of the year, as Johnson posted respectable results in both the U.S. and British Opens, and closed the 2020-21 season with top-10s in three of his last four starts.

Perhaps because of his disappointing overall play last year, DJ has been pretty "out of sight, out of mind" since then, with a forgettable outing at the CJ Cup marking his only start during the fall. His absence from the winners-only Sentry event to kick off 2022 felt jarring.

He finally made his first start of the year at the Farmers Insurance Open - a tournament that isn't normally on his schedule - and while the final T25 result might look ho-hum, Johnson's stats from the week are very encouraging, as he gained a massive 8.3 strokes T2G at Torrey Pines - a mark that was the second-best in the field - with positive numbers in every major strokes-gained metric for the week other than putting (-2.2 SG: Putting). He followed that outing with a trip to the Saudi International event that resulted in a T8 in tough, windy conditions.

So, while we only have the two-tournament sample size, it at least feels as though DJ's game is trending in the right direction as he heads to a Riviera layout on which he's been dominant throughout his career. The South Carolina native has displayed a consistent mastery of the legendary L.A. course, winning at Riviera in 2017 and recording a remarkable nine additional top-10s over his 14 career starts at The Riv. Johnson leads this week's field of entrants in both career scoring average (69.29) and SG: Total at the Genesis.


The Ponies

Patrick Cantlay

Notable Course History: T15 ('21), T17 ('20), T15 ('19), T4 ('18)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

Patrick Cantlay ended 2021 on a heater that resulted in a FedEx Cup championship and it doesn't appear as though he intends on slowing down in 2022. Cantlay has jumped off to a fast start in the new year. He heads to L.A. off a playoff loss in Phoenix, a performance that was preceded by a pair of top-fives and a top-10 over his first four starts.

The native Californian has now gained strokes T2G in each of his last eight starts stretching back to last August and ranks first among this week's elite list of entrants in SG: Total over his last 24 rounds.

That complete game has served him well in previous trips to Riviera, one of the most demanding courses on the PGA Tour schedule. After a couple of missed cuts at the very beginning of his career, the UCLA alum has performed beautifully at the historic layout, finishing inside the top-17 in each of his last four Genesis starts.


Cameron Smith

Notable Course History: 4th ('21), MC ('20), T49 ('19), T6 ('18), T28 ('27)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

There's a noticeable crossover of success between Riviera and Augusta National, with half of the last 20 Genesis winners also being Masters champions. While Cameron Smith has yet to slip on a green jacket, the young Aussie has already begun to make his mark at both Augusta National and Riviera.

Smith already has a Masters runner-up, as well as two top-10s on his resume. It's no surprise that he's also found some success at Riviera, posting a fourth-place result last year to go with a T6 outing in the 2018 edition of the Genesis. He's now made the cut in five of his six Genesis appearance and owns an under-par 70.27 career scoring average at Riviera, which is no small feat on a course that routinely ranks as one of the toughest on the PGA Tour schedule.

He heads to this year's Genesis in perhaps the best form of his career. After closing out 2021 with top-15 results in five of his last six starts, Smith opened 2022 with a dazzling performance at the Sentry TOC. He held off a charging Jon Rahm to emerge victorious at Kapalua with an eye-opening final score of 34-under par.

He's long-possessed one of the best short games in the world - a skill set that is certainly helpful at Riviera - but the catalyst for Smith's recent run has been his noticeably improved ball striking. The Aussie has gained strokes in every major statistical ball-striking category (T2G, OTT, and Approach) on average over his last 20 tournaments.



Did you know RotoBaller has a Premium DFS PGA subscription?

Like what you read today? You can show your support for Joe by using the discount code NICE when purchasing a PGA Premium Pass. You get 10% off and full access to all of our Premium PGA articles, DFS tools, and Lineup Optimizer! You also get access to weekly betting picks from Spencer Aguiar, one of the top betting minds in the industry. Spencer is absolutely crushing out of the gate in 2022!


Talor Gooch

Notable Course History: T12 ('21), T10 ('20), T20 ('18)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

In a field full of superstars, it might feel a bit to list Talor Gooch as a true priority, but his combination of course history at Riviera and recent form should put Gooch high on your consideration list this week.

The OSU alum has been sterling in all three of his career appearances at Riviera, with a T20 in 2018 serving as his worst performance in the Genesis. His success at Riviera isn't a huge surprise when considering that many of Gooch's best career performances have been on some of the PGA Tour's toughest layouts, with outings at TPC Sawgrass, PGA National, Quail Hollow, and Colonial coming to mind as courses where he's had some success.

In addition to his strong track record at Riviera, Gooch heads to this year's Genesis playing the best golf of his career. He capped off a fall season that included four top-11 finishes with his first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic. There hasn't been much let up in 2022, as he's opened the year with top-30 results in five of six starts and a T26 in the WM Phoenix Open doesn't accurately reflect just how well he played last week.


Bubba Watson

Notable Course History: Win ('18, '16, '14)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

No course history review of Riviera would be complete without mention of Bubba Watson, a three-time winner on the legendary L.A. track. Watson's eccentricities are well known by this point, with perhaps his most noteworthy trait being his propensity for repeatedly playing well on a small handful of courses on the schedule that suit both his eye and his game. The mercurial Watson's 12 career PGA Tour wins have been spread across just seven different golf courses.

We've noted throughout this week's HFTC the crossover success between the Masters and the Genesis. That's obviously the case for Bubba, who has won twice at Augusta National and three times at Riviera. If we wander even deeper down that narrative avenue, we find that all three left-handed players that have won the Masters - Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir - have also won at Riviera multiple times.

Bubba is about as unpredictable and unreliable as they come - as evidenced by the fact that he has five career missed cuts and two WDs to go with his three career wins at the Genesis - so utilizing him in fantasy, OAD, or the betting market comes with legitimate risks this week. However, he has flashed some strong form as of late, with a runner-up finish at the Saudi International, as well as a nice T14 in Phoenix over the last two weeks.


Win Big With RotoBaller

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