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2024 PGA Tour Preview: The Genesis Invitational

The Genesis Invitational is one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour, having been held since 1926. It's the third Signature Event of the season, after The Sentry and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. This year, it serves as the end of the PGA Tour's “West Coast Swing,” as next week, the Tour heads to Mexico before going to Florida for the start of the “Florida Swing.” The past two champions of the event, Jon Rahm and Joaquin Niemann, will not be in attendance, as they have both since joined the LIV Tour, but many high-profile players, including nine of the top 10 players in the OWGR (except third-ranked Rahm) and recently announced playing host Tiger Woods, will be in attendance.

The Course

The Riviera Country Club plays host this week, and the course is well-known to the players and is also set to host the golf tournament in the 2028 Olympics, and the course is one of the toughest the players face regularly. Last year, the course ranked as the 17th-toughest on the PGA Tour, but most years, it ranks in or near the top 10. The course has some tough holes, with hole 12 ranking as the 24th-toughest hole on the PGA Tour last year at .336 shots over par on average. Hole 6 is the best-known hole on the course, as the par-3 with a bunker in the middle of the green creates a unique situation for players to conquer. Overall, the winner this week will be a deserving one, as they will have to conquer one of the toughest courses ever created.

The Field

The third signature event of the 2024 Tour season, the Genesis Invitational, is set to host a field of 70 players. Set to introduce new changes, the tournament will feature a 36-hole cut, with just 50 golfers earning the right to play the weekend. Highlighted by the return of Woods, the 15-time major champion is making his first appearance since the 2023 Masters. He missed the cut at Riviera a year ago following a second-round 74 on Thursday afternoon. Current world number one Scottie Scheffler is looking to pick up his first victory of the season after knocking on the door over the past few weeks. Coming off a T3 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, he has placed inside the top ten in three of his last four starts.

Chris Gallagher and Everett Davidson contributed to this article.

Chris’ Genesis Invitational Picks

Favorite: Collin Morikawa

After a disappointing season a year ago, Morikawa won the ZoZo Championship in October. In better form to begin his 2024 campaign, the 27-year-old finished fifth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions before a T14 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM. Still one of the best ball strikers on the planet, the former Open Championship winner ranks ninth on Tour in Strokes Gained Tee to Green (1.594), seventh in driving accuracy (70.0%), and 12th in Greens in Regulation (77.78%). Furthermore, he is 21st in Bogey Avoidance rate (9.88%). A Los Angeles native, Morikawa played his college golf at the University of California and has experience on the Poa annua greens present in the state. With a runner-up and sixth-place finish during his career at the Genesis Invitational, look for him to be in the mix again this week.

Favorite: Sam Burns

Burns led the American Express with two holes left to play before falling to rookie Nick Dunlap. Along with this, the Louisianna native finished T3 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the heels of a final round 64 on Sunday afternoon. Over his last ten rounds, the LSU product ranks 18th in Strokes Gained off the Tee (0.630) and 34th in Strokes Gained Approach the Green (0.501). Moreover, Burns ranks 15th in putting average (1.712), allowing him to navigate Riviera's tricky and speedy greens. Playing well at this event in the past, Burns held a five-shot lead at the 2021 Genesis Invitational heading into the weekend before being tracked down by Max Homa.

Sleeper: Nicolai Højgaard

Højgaard is a name on the rise on Tour as we approach the eighth event of the year. The Denmark native has missed only one cut in his last 14 starts while racking up six top-ten finishes. He was a winner at the DP World Championship in November. Højgaard carded three rounds in the 60s, including a final round 64 to capture the victory. Additionally, the 22-year-old placed second at the Farmers Insurance Open. An elite iron player who also excels on the greens with his flat stick, the five-year pro has gained strokes on both his approach play and his putter during his last two appearances. Listed at 55/1 to capture the tournament, the current world number 30 offers excellent value.

Everett's Genesis Invitational Picks

Favorite: Max Homa

Homa won here in 2021 after a playoff against Tony Finau, and last year, he finished solo second and two strokes behind winner Jon Rahm. Homa hasn't won since the Farmers Insurance Open last year, but he is still ranked eighth in the OWGR and is still one of the best players in the world. Homa comes into this week as one of the favorites, as he should be, but he could potentially be viewed as THE favorite after World Nos. 1 and 2 Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy. Watch for Homa to be in contention on a stacked leaderboard come Sunday.

Favorite: Adam Scott

Scott is a two-time winner here, with wins in 2005 (in a playoff after 36 holes due to rain) and 2020, which is his most recent win. He additionally has two runner-up finishes at Riviera in 2006 and 2016, and he finished tied-fourth in 2022. Simply put, Riviera is a course that Scott loves, and he is almost always in contention. The 43-year-old Australian has been playing well to start this year, with a tied-20th finish at Pebble Beach and a tied-eighth finish last week. Scott is looking to end his four-year win drought this week, and there isn't a better place for him to break through than the place where he has won twice before and that he calls one of his favorite courses.

Sleeper: Kurt Kitayama

Kitayama won his first PGA Tour event a year ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, and he has been playing well to start the year. He hasn't missed a cut this year, and he was in contention until the back nine last week, eventually finishing tied-eighth. Kitayama has been trending upwards, and he seems due for another win at some point. Don't be surprised if this is the week he gets his second PGA Tour win.

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