This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
Pacific Palisades, California
Riviera Country Club - Par 71 - 7,322 yards
Field - 120 entrants
Purse - $9.3M
A combination of household names in Daniel Berger, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay provided enough drama near the top of the leaderboard at last week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to make up for the otherwise underwhelming list of attendees, but competition levels ramp back up this week as Riviera Country Club hosts a major-esque field of 120 invitees a week before the first WGC event of 2021. A lengthy par-71 layout that features three scorable par-5s and the iconic par-4 10th hole, Riviera is about as true a test as you'll find on the PGA Tour. Although the kikuyu rough that lines these tight fairways isn't overly penalizing, 10 par-4s measure between 400-500 yards as mid-long iron play becomes a fundamental requirement for success into poa greens. Diverging from off-the-tee strategies at Pebble Beach, the Genesis Invitational caters to bombers as driving distance especially plays a key role in amassing birdie or better opportunities from a DFS perspective here.
Key Stats to Victory
SG: Putting (poa)
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Dustin Johnson - $49
Johnson's grasp on the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking became even firmer with his win overseas a couple weeks ago at the European Tour's Saudi International, which makes it two victories in three starts dating to the Masters in November. Those who are placing outright wagers on Johnson this week at around 11/2 odds against such a strong field might be sipping a bit too much of the DJ Kool-Aid, but paying up for a $49 salary in Yahoo contests isn't remotely as difficult to stomach. In addition to leading the PGA Tour in SG: Approach this season, he paces his peers in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 24 rounds as well as P4: 450-500 efficiency over his past 36. Johnson is an obvious horse for the course, tallying nine top-10s and a win across 13 career visits to Riviera Country Club.
Jon Rahm - $48
Currently riding a streak of 11 consecutive top-25 finishes since the PGA Championship last August, Rahm heads to the Genesis Invitational ranked first in proximity from over 200 yards throughout his past 36 rounds and fourth on Tour in total driving this season. The Spaniard recorded results of T17-T9 in his first two trips to Riviera CC, gaining 11.1 total strokes with the flat stick in the process as his overall putting metrics certainly favor poa surfaces. Gamers will be enticed by a $2 discount to Xander Schauffele ($46) and his elite combination of floor/form, but Rahm harnesses much more win equity and that's pretty important when you're deciding between investments this high on the board.
Patrick Cantlay - $41
Overtaking the aforementioned Schauffele atop the FedEx Cup standings this week, Cantlay translated first-round leader honors into a T3 effort at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where he fired an opening 10-under 62. The Californian ultimately led the entire field in both SG: Tee-to-Green and GIR percentage while ranking top-3 in SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Approach on the way to 20 total birdies and an eagle. Cantlay is fourth in P4: 400-450 efficiency over his past 50 rounds and he placed T17-T15-T4 at the Genesis Invitational since the 2018 edition.
Bubba Watson - $33
It's no coincidence that a lefty with a pair of green jackets in his closet like Watson has found the winner's circle multiple times at Riviera CC. Watson's pattern mimics that of past Genesis champions Mike Weir ('03, '04) and Phil Mickelson ('08, '09). Watson is going to be a popular selection simply based on his course fit alone, but he's also second in SG: Tee-to-Green and seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 24 rounds. On the season, Watson ranks top-25 in SG: Approach, driving distance and par-5 scoring average.
Jordan Spieth - $32
Seemingly incurable issues with accuracy off the tee will likely force Spieth to play a bulk of his approach shots from the rough at Riviera CC, but 2020 champion Adam Scott ranked just T63 among the field in driving accuracy while leading the tournament in GIR percentage en route to victory here last year. Over his past eight rounds, Spieth resides behind only Cameron Davis and Matthew NeSmith in SG: Approach with 11.8 shots gained in this category. Such quality iron play – specifically from 150-200 yards – led to back-to-back top-5s at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he collected a T3 result despite gaining only 0.2 strokes with the flat stick. Additionally, Spieth ranks eighth on Tour in SG: Around-the-Green through 22 measured rounds this season and he's been on the above-average side of driving distance in four of five starts since the Vivint Houston Open.
Marc Leishman - $29
Leishman is turning a bizarre slump throughout the latter half of the 2019-20 season into a distant memory since his top-15 at the Masters in November, corralling additional momentum with recent finishes of T4-T18 at the Sony Open and the Farmers Insurance Open. The Aussie is fourth in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds and eighth in proximity from 175-200 yards with a 36-round sample size. Leishman has reached an overall score of at least 11-under-par in two of his past five voyages to Riviera CC, compiling a pair of top-5s here during this span.
Max Homa - $26
Hailing from the Santa Clarita Valley, Homa returns to the Los Angeles area for what he's described as his favorite venue on Tour due to course affinity and nostalgia at Riviera where he grew up attending this very event as a patron. He tied for fifth at the Genesis Invitational just last year, leading the field in par-4 scoring while ranking T3 in GIR percentage. Assessing recent form, Homa ranks second in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds, but he's also top-30 in SG: Putting on poa and driving distance over his past 50 measured rounds.
Luke List - $20
Rebounding from four consecutive missed cuts from the Vivint Houston Open through the Sony Open around the turn of the calendar year, List has now gone T30-T10-T21 in three showings since the American Express while gaining an average of 5.43 strokes from tee to green per tournament during this stretch. He's also placed top-30 in three straight Riviera CC appearances, and although List is a candidate to burn you with the occasional horrific putting performance, he actually picked up 1.6 strokes on the field with the flat stick at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He's eighth in SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 24 rounds, 10th in proximity from 200-plus over his last 36 and fourth in driving distance over his last 50.
Keegan Bradley - $20
Much like List, Bradley jumps off the page from a ball-striking perspective but has been restricted by a plethora of lousy short-game efforts as of late. However, Bradley managed to collect a top-25 finish at the WMPO where he lost only 0.3 strokes with the putter, marking his best performance on the greens since a top-5 result at the Sanderson Farms Championship last October. He's gained strokes on his approaches in a whopping 11 consecutive measured events, currently residing second to none in this category over his last 12 rounds. Bradley also ranks top-5 in proximity from 150-175 yards and 175-200 yards over his last 36 rounds.