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Ah, Riv week. Ask any player on the PGA Tour, and they’ll tell you Riviera Country Club is one of their favorite stops on the schedule every year. It’s no coincidence Tiger Woods is choosing this week to make his season debut.

That’s right, the Big Cat is back for the 2023 Genesis Invitational, and he’ll headline a stacked field that includes 23 of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. Are either of our golf experts confident enough in Tiger to pick him to contend this week?

Let’s find out.

2023 Genesis Invitational predictions

Max Homa hits a drive during the WM Phoenix Open.
Max Homa plays a shot from the fifth tee during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Here are a few predictions for the 2023 Genesis Invitational from Sportscasting golf experts Luke Norris and Jack Dougherty.


Luke: Viktor Hovland

Outside of the 20-player Hero World Challenge, it’s been more than a year since Viktor Hovland has won a golf tournament. But I like that drought to come to an end this week at Riviera.

The world’s 11th-ranked player has played the Genesis each of the last two years and has finished in the top five both times, tying for fifth in his debut in 2021 and tying for fourth a year ago. In eight rounds at Riviera, Hovland has never shot over par, and his cumulative score is 21-under. Yeah, that works for me.

Jack: Max Homa

There’s nothing Max Homa likes more than California golf. The Burbank native has won six PGA Tour events in his career, and four of them came in his home state. Just last month, Homa won the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego to notch his second victory of the season.

In six official starts this season, Homa has two wins and four top-five finishes. He also won the Genesis Invitational in 2021 and has finished 10th or better in each of his last three starts at Riviera. His combination of recent form and course history will be tough to beat this week.

Biggest sleeper

Luke: Adam Scott

Perhaps calling a two-time winner of this event a sleeper is a bit of a copout, but former world No. 1 Adam Scott comes to the Genesis with 55-1 odds, which I consider sleeper territory. Sure, that first win at Riviera was all the way back in 2005.

But the second was just three years ago. And he tied for fourth here just last year. The Aussie hasn’t played his best golf thus far in 2023, but I see him changing that this week.

Jack: Beau Hossler

Once a top-ranked amateur, Beau Hossler hasn’t lived up to the hype on the PGA Tour. The Texas product has recorded just three top 10s in the last two seasons combined, and he hasn’t yet picked up his first professional victory.

But Hossler is has put together two strong showings in a row with a T11 at Pebble Beach and a T14 at TPC Scottsdale. He’s also played well at Riviera of late with seven scores of par or better in his last eight rounds here. Don’t be surprised if he’s near the top of the leaderboard on the weekend.

Most likely bust

Luke: Jon Rahm

Perhaps it seems a bit foolish to pick against Jon Rahm these days, especially seeing as he hasn’t finished lower than eighth in his last nine starts worldwide, a stretch that includes four victories. But one has to think he has to slow down at some point, right?

Rahm has played the Genesis each of the last four years, and while he’s never missed the cut at Riviera, he’s also never truly been in contention here. Sure, he tied for fifth in 2021, but it took a final-round 66 to get there. And he still lost that tournament by five strokes. He tied for ninth in his first appearance here in 2019 but finished seven strokes back.

And in his other two outings at Riviera, he tied for 17th in 2020 and tied for 21st a year ago. Can Rahm win this tournament? Absolutely. But at the risk of looking like an idiot for the second straight week (I had Scheffler in this spot a week ago), I say he doesn’t even come close.

Jack: Scottie Scheffler

It’s impossible to feel confident fading Scottie Scheffler right now. The Texan is coming off an impressive title defense at the WM Phoenix Open, and he’s finished 11th or better in each of his last five starts.

Anything worse than a top-10 finish would be a bust for the new World No. 1 right now, and that’s what I’m banking on this week. In four starts at Riviera, Scheffler has one top-10 finish and a missed cut. He’s recorded as many rounds of par or worse as he has under-par rounds at the Genesis, so I’ll go out on a limb and say he won’t be in contention on Sunday.

Make-or-break hole

Luke: No. 18

The iconic 475-yard, par-4 18th hole at Riviera is one of the most unique finishing holes on the PGA Tour. Players face a blind tee shot from below the fairway and an approach into a kidney-shaped green that’s part of a natural amphitheater below the clubhouse.

Simply put, one should never expect to make birdie here. In fact, in the 48 rounds played by the top 12 finishers at the Genesis a year ago, the 18th only yielded eight birdies, none of which came during the final round.

Jack: No. 10

The par-4 10th hole at Riviera is one of my absolute favorite holes to watch on the PGA Tour. It looks like an easy birdie at just 315 yards, but the thin, angled green surrounded by bunkers is no walk in the park. Players will decide whether to lay up short or go for the green off the tee, and both options can bring double and triple bogey into play.

This hole can create two- or three-shot swings in one round alone, which makes it one of the best driveable par 4s in the world.


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