2017 Genesis Open Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

There are a select few non-major tourneys that every player on the PGA Tour covets to win in their careers.  The PLAYERS Championship of course immediately springs to mind, as does the Tour Championship.  Throw in Jack and Arnie’s events and no doubt there are some premiere non-majors, highlighted by their indelible tracks.

This week’s Northern Trust Open belongs in that top-of-the-notch mix, as its host track Riviera CC is one of the most venerable on Tour, having hosted multiple major championships and being dubbed “Hogan’s Alley,” as the Hawk Ben Hogan himself won the LA Open here three times and also took home the trophy at the 1948 U.S. Open this same track.  No doubt, history just oozes from the stunning Riviera clubhouse that sits atop the fantastically awesome natural amphitheater that surrounds the 18th green.

Riviera is a par 71 that stretches up to 7,349 yards from the tips.  Scoring averages typically range in the mid-71s per round, making it one of the toughest non-major tracks that these guys play annually.  Its small poa greens are headache-city and the thick, bunchy rough swallows up golf balls like nobody’s business.  It’s a course that truly equalizes the playing field, as bombers + bashers like Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are leveled with plodders and game-managers like Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar.  It’s the epitome of great design and a wonderful host venue for an annual PGA Tour event.

My picks last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am were mighty solid, as all 3 made the weekend, including Lockzilla Dustin Johnson notching a solo 3rd finish and Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week on Jason Kokrak charging back from an opening round 77, then shooting 68-69-67 over the next three rounds to jump up to a t-23rd finish.  I also spot on nailed my BUST pick again this week, as I correctly picked Matt Kuchar to miss the cut.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: DJ 3rd)

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson
– I pegged DJ in this same spot last week at Pebble and he came through with a solo 3rd place finish and I expect him to match or even improve upon that finish this week at a track where he has five finishes of t-4th or better in his career.  He’s on a roll right now, stay aboard the DJ train.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Blixt t-58th)

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley
– The Keegster strongly let me down in Phoenix two weeks ago, but let’s just say that his mind may have been a wee bit distracted with his beloved Patriots playing in the Super Bowl.  Now he comes in fresh to a tourney that he absolutely loves, with a P2, t-4th and two other top 20s to boast in his six appearances.  Roster him with confidence this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Kuchar MC)

Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel
– Has never missed a cut here in 4 appearances, including a solo 5th in ’14 and a t-3rd in ’13; however, he comes in on the heels of a missed cut last week in Malaysia and for one reason or another, I feel he’s in for a downer of a year in 2017.  Stay away and thank me later as I keep this BUST pick heater going.


Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka
– It almost feels like cheating putting a player of Koepka’s pedigree in this spot, but with relatively poor recent form and no course history here, he’ll be mighty overlooked this week.  I’ll keep this short and say don’t make that mistake.  Roster him up with confidence, and let others kick themselves later.

Joel Harrington


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