2019 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 Genesis 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 on 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 7,322 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.

Hey-O!  Two in a row!  After spot on nailing Rickie Fowler to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open two weeks ago, I also pegged Phil Mickelson to win last week at Pebble (in Twitter form–no blog post last week).  A 3-peat ya say?  Let’s do it!

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

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Phil WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER)


Dustin Johnson– Am I concerned whatsoever about DJ’s uncharacteristic t-45th at Pebble last week (a course he usually dominates at)?  Nope, not in the slightest.  The weather sucked and he was likely still jet-lagged from Saudi Arabia the week before.  If anything, that makes me like his chances even more this week, a course where he has a whopping 6 top 5s, including a win just two years back.  DJ for the LOCKZILLA 3-peat!  

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Glover t-7th)


Patrick Cantlay– The local UCLA boy loves him some Riviera, as evidenced by his t-4th finish here last year.  WD’d pre-tourney last week at Pebble due to an illness, but who knows how real that was with a plethora of other WDs by other players as well last week due to the crummy weather.  Wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever to see him vault into contention again this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Kuchar t-22nd)


Jordan Spieth– The Spiethster has made it a point to play here at the Riv each of the past 5 seasons, with no wins, but a t-4th and t-9th to show for it, so the familiarity is certainly there.  But what’s not there at the moment is his putting stroke, or his mental game, or really any confidence whatsoever.  Stay on the fade train with Jordan (for now) and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Rodgers MC)


Jason Kokrak– Certainly no stranger to this spot, I’ve been on the Kokrak bandwagon for a long, long time now.  I joked the last time that I picked him here that he’s my definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.  Welp, that’s me, as I continue to believe that he’ll win on the PGA Tour, and not just any ‘ol event, but perhaps a marquee, stacked field, non-major like the one on our hands this week at Riviera.  Recent form has been solid, with 3 straight top 20 finishes so far in 2019.  Oh yeah, and the fact that he’s 6 for 7 in career cuts made here, including a t-2nd in 2016 = Jason Kokrak is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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