PGA Picks: Genesis Invitational Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Canada's Nick Taylor led wire-to-wire last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, finishing at 19-under 268 for his second career PGA Tour win and the first Canadian to ever win that tournament. Taylor's first career victory was as a rookie at the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship when that was an opposite-field event.
Taylor went 146 starts on the PGA Tour until his next victory, and Taylor now will get to play the Masters for the first time in his career. In his sixth year on the PGA Tour, Taylor has played only two majors as a professional. Taylor started the final round Sunday at Pebble with a one-shot lead over Phil Mickelson, but Lefty shot a 74 to finish third at 14 under.
Got Jason Day at +300 for a Top 10 at Pebble - the Aussie finished fourth despite a final-round 75. My value pick at +8000 to win was Scott Stallings but he missed the cut following rounds of 73-73-68.
This week, the Tour's West Coast Swing comes to an end with the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. There's a trip to Mexico next week for a WGC event (also an opposite-field tournament in Puerto Rico) and then the Florida Swing begins.
If you happen be a tournament host on the PGA Tour, obviously your dream is to host a U.S. Open, PGA Championship or Ryder Cup. The next tier down would be a World Golf Championships tournament or FedEx Cup playoff event. Down another tier are a few invitationals, and the Genesis was granted that status for the first time in 2020. Essentially, fields are limited in invitationals (120 for this one) with no Monday qualifying, the purses are higher and winners get a three-year Tour exemption instead of two.
Riviera Country Club is one of the best-known courses in California, created in 1927 and host to many a movie star over the years. The par 71 measures around 7,300 yards and has hosted a U.S. Open, two PGA Championships and will be the location of the Olympic golf tournament in 2028 when Los Angeles hosts the Games. Riviera's nickname is "Hogan's Alley" with Ben Hogan winning the Los Angeles Open - which it originally was called starting in 1926; Riviera didn't host until 1929 and went full-time in 1999 - three times and the 1948 U.S. Open at the track.
The Tiger Woods Foundation runs the course, so Woods plays here pretty much every year when healthy. Perhaps Tiger presses as the host because this is the only Tour venue he's played more than four times professionally without winning.
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The defending champion is American J.B. Holmes. He was second after 54 holes by four shots to Justin Thomas last year, but Holmes shot a final-round 70 and Thomas ballooned to a 75. Thomas had 19 putts on the back nine Sunday. Shoot, I could do that. Holmes and Thomas had to play 34 holes Sunday because of a long weather delay in Round 1.
Golf Odds: Genesis Invitational Favorites
New world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is the +800 favorite to win here for the first time. Even though neither he nor Brooks Koepka (+2000) played last week, Rory jumped Koepka for the top spot in the world. It's Rory's first time at the top spot since 2015, and his 53-month gap is a record for longest time between a player losing and regaining the No. 1 spot. McIlroy's best finish here is fourth last year.
Jon Rahm and Thomas are each +1000. Rahm debuted here with a ninth-place finish in 2019. Thomas had that runner-up and a T9 the year before. Dustin Johnson is +1200 and Tiger +1800. Woods has been second here a couple of times. His next win would be a record 83rd overall.
Johnson won in 2017 and has a handful of other Top 10s, including two seconds. Koepka, who had been No. 1 since winning the PGA Championship last May, is +2000. He missed the cut in his only visit here a couple of years ago.
Golf Odds: Genesis Invitational Picks
To qualify for next week's big-money WGC-Mexico Championship, Mickelson needs a strong result here because he's currently outside the Top 50. Anyone in the Top 50 now or after this event qualifies. Lefty is 55th. He jumped from 72nd last week with that third-place finish. Mickelson has won here twice and is +4000. Don't like him for a victory, but we'll roll with a Top 10 at +500. Also like Rory (-110) and DJ (+175).
Our value pick to win is Kevin Na at +8000. He played pretty well last week with a T14 and has a second, third and fourth here.