The 2021 Genesis Invitational at Riviera will mark the second time that Tiger Woods will be hosting the tournament. This year, though, he won’t be in the field after having a back procedure in January that will sideline him for a few tournaments. Woods is almost always a mainstay in this tournament. After all, it’s where he made his PGA Tour debut in 1992.

Expect low scores this week as the winner of this tournament has been in double digits under par every year since 2015 when James Hahn won at six-under par. At the same time, I don’t expect a playoff this week. 2015 was also the most recent year that the tournament was decided in a playoff when Hahn defeated Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson. Without further ado, let’s get into what to expect this week.

Television Coverage

Round One

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 11:45 AM-8:00 PM EST.

Golf Channel: 12:00 PM-8:00 PM EST.

Round Two

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 11:45 AM-8:00 PM EST.

Golf Channel: 2:00 PM-6:00 PM EST.

Round Three

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 1:00 PM-6:00 PM EST.

Golf Channel: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM EST.

CBS: 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST.

Round Four

NBC Sports Gold Featured Groups: 1:15 PM-6:00 PM EST.

Golf Channel: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM EST.

CBS: 3:00 PM-6:30 PM EST.

Players to Watch

Thanks to the host being Tiger Woods, the top players of the world are happy to accept his invitation to play this week. The field includes seven of the top ten players in the world and winners of 19 major championships.

Here are my top three players to watch (odds are courtesy of Vegas Insider, as of February 16, 2021):

Dustin Johnson (+550)

Dustin Johnson is the favorite this week. In four starts on the PGA Tour in the 2020-21 season, Dustin Johnson has three top ten finishes, including a win at the Masters. The world number one also has a win on the European Tour at the Saudi International. When he’s at Riviera, he’s just as good. In 13 starts, Johnson has nine top ten’s, four top three’s, and a win in 2017 at this tournament.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1700)

Bryson DeChambeau makes his second start on the PGA Tour in 2021; his first since the Tournament of Champions. Like Johnson, he has four starts on the PGA Tour with three top ten finishes and a win at the U.S. Open. Though he has not found a win at the Genesis Invitational yet, he improves each time he arrives at this course. Since he debuted in the tournament in 2018, he has tied for 41st, tied for 20th, and tied for fifth, suggesting the only thing left to do is win.

Adam Scott (+3500)

Adam Scott makes my cut of players to watch this week. Scott has been able to find success at Riviera through his career. He has multiple top 10 and top 25 finishes, including two wins at this tournament; last year in 2020 and in 2005*. Thus far in the 2020-21 season, Scott is still trying to find his stride, with only one top 10 finish in six starts.

*The win in 2005 is an unofficial victory for Scott after the tournament was shortened to 36 holes due to rain.

The Course

Riviera Country Club hosts the Genesis Invitational, which it has off and on throughout the tournament’s history, though it has been the host since 1999. Riviera has been host to one U.S. Open and two PGA Championships since 1948 and is preparing to be the host to the 2028 Summer Olympic Games golf event.

The course is a par-71 course and includes three par-fives, four par-threes, and the rest par-fours.

Riviera Country Club’s course includes one of the most unique holes on the PGA Tour. With a bunker in the middle of the green, a birdie on the sixth is doable if you find yourself on the correct side of the bunker. Missing to the other side will force players to decide whether to chip over the bunker or try to putt around it.

Also included is a reachable par-four, though accuracy is vital.

With bunkers surrounding a narrow green, eagles and birdies are doable. Trouble is just as likely.

Picks and Predictions

Pick of the Week: Dustin Johnson

Based on his season thus far, it’s no wonder he’s the favorite this week. With those odds, it’s almost a l**k that he wins this week. Look how dialed in he is:

Bet of the Week: Dustin Johnson Top Five Finish (+120)

I think the best bet is to double-down on Dustin Johnson. If you don’t feel like betting on the winner of the tournament, I understand. Though, if you think he can contend, it is best to take him to finish top five. Again, I don’t want to use the “L” word, but I like his chances.

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Hunter Brown

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