Genesis Open Preview 2017
Dates: February 13-19, 2017
Where: Riviera Country Club; Pacific Palisades, CA
Field: 144; Format: 72-hole stroke play
Defending Champion: Bubba Watson
Purse: $7,000,000; Winner’s Share: $1,260,000
Bubba Watson Set To Defend Genesis Open Title
- Bubba Watson finished birdie-birdie-par over the final three holes at the 2016 Genesis Open to post a one-stroke victory over Adam Scott and Jason Kokrak. The victory was his second at the Genesis Open (2014) and ninth overall on the PGA TOUR.
- Watson is seeking to become the first back-to-back Genesis Open winner since Phil Mickelson (2008-09).
- Watson will make his fourth start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season (T54-World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, T25-SBS Tournament of Champions, MC-Waste Management Phoenix Open).
- Watson will make his 11th start at the Genesis Open. Here’s a look at his year-by-year results:
Multiple Winners Of The Genesis Open
- Bubba Watson is hoping to join Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer as three-time winners of the Genesis Open. Here’s a look at multiple winners of the event:
- Four-Time Winners: MacDonald Smith (1928, 1929, 1932, 1934), Lloyd Mangrum (1949, 1951, 1953, 1956)
- Three-Time Winners: Ben Hogan (1942, 1947, 1948), Arnold Palmer (1963, 1966, 1967)
- Two-Time Winners: Harry Cooper (1926, 1937), Sam Snead (1945, 1950), Paul Harney (1964, 1965), Billy Casper (1968, 1970), Gil Morgan (1978, 1983), Lanny Wadkins (1979, 1985), Tom Watson (1980, 1982), Fred Couples (1990, 1992), Corey Pavin (1994, 1995), Mike Weir (2003, 2004), Phil Mickelson (2008, 2009), Bubba Watson (2014, 2016).
The Genesis Open And The FedExCup
- The Genesis Open is the 14th event in the PGA TOUR’s wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 47 official events. Over the span of 43 weeks, players vie to become the FedExCup Champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well during the PGA TOUR Season, but also excels through the four-event FedExCup Playoffs, culminating with the 2017 TOUR Championship
- Seven of the 10 winners of the Genesis Open in the FedExCup era have advanced to the season-ending TOUR Championship: Charles Howell III (2007); Phil Mickelson (2008 and 2009) Steve Stricker (2010); Aaron Baddeley (2011); Bubba Watson (2014 and 2016)
- The 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season kicked off with the Safeway Open and included seven events during the fall of 2016, all of which awarded FedExCup points. After a break, the season resumed with the traditional Hawaii swing (both events won by Justin Thomas) leading to the annual transition to the West Coast.
About Riviera Country Club
- The Riviera Country Club is recognized as one of the best courses on the PGA TOUR. The annual site of the Genesis Open, designed by George C. Thomas, opened for play in 1927.
- Riviera has hosted many of golf’s greatest events, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open.
- In addition, it will host the U.S. Amateur Championship later this year (August 14-20).
- The roster of past champions at Riviera Country Club includes Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Tom Watson, Ernie Els, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson.
A Closer Look At The Field
- Eight of the top 10 in the current FedExCup standings, including Hideki Matsuyama (1), Justin Thomas (2), Jordan Spieth (3), Pat Perez (4), Brendan Steele (5), Mackenzie Hughes (7), Hudson Swafford (8) and Charles Howell III (9).
- Eight of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings, led by Jason Day (1), Dustin Johnson (3), Hideki Matsuyama (5), Jordan Spieth (6), Adam Scott (7), Justin Thomas (8), Sergio Garcia (9), Patrick Reed (10).
- FedExCup leader Hideki Matsuyama will be making his fourth start at the Genesis Open, finishing T23 in 2014, T4 in 2015 and T11 in 2016. Matsuyama has won five times since the start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, twice on the Japan Golf Tour, twice on the PGA TOUR (WGC-HSBC Champions and Waste Management Phoenix Open) and one unofficial PGA TOUR event (Hero World Challenge).
- Jordan Spieth comes into the Genesis Open on a roll, having collected his ninth PGA TOUR victory at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his 108th PGA TOUR start (100th as a professional on TOUR) at the age of 23 years, six months and 16 days. The 2015 FedExCup champion Spieth moved from No. 16 to No. 3 in the FedExCup standings with the title. He is the second-youngest player since World War II to win nine times on the PGA TOUR.
- Tiger Woods (23 years, 5 months, 7 days) – 1999 Memorial
- Jordan Spieth (23 years, 6 months, 16 days) – 2017 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- Jack Nicklaus (24 years, 19 days) – 1964 Waste Management Phoenix Open
- A T4 in 2015 represents Jordan Spieth’s best finish in four starts at the Genesis Open (MC-2012, T12-2014, T4-2015, MC-2016)
- Past FedExCup champions: Vijay Singh (2008), Jim Furyk (2010), Bill Haas (2011), Brandt Snedeker (2012), Billy Horschel (2014), Jordan Spieth (2015).
- 2016-17 tournament winners: Brendan Steele (Safeway Open), Justin Thomas (CIMB Classic/SBS Tournament of Champions/Sony Open in Hawaii), Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC Champions/Waste Management Phoenix Open), Cody Gribble (Sanderson Farms Championship), Pat Perez (OHL Classic at Mayakoba), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), Hudson Swafford (CareerBuilder Challenge).
- Players in the field with eight or more PGA TOUR wins: Phil Mickelson (42), Vijay Singh (34 wins), Ernie Els (19), Jim Furyk (17), Adam Scott (13), Dustin Johnson (12), Jason Day (10), Sergio Garcia (9), Bubba Watson (9), K.J. Choi (8), Geoff Ogilvy (8), Brandt Snedeker (8) and Jordan Spieth (8).
- Past champions: Ernie Els (1999), Adam Scott (2005/unofficial win), Charles Howell III (2007), Phil Mickelson (2008, 2009), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Bill Haas (2012), John Merrick (2013), Bubba Watson (2014, 2016) and James Hahn (2015).
- 18 major championship winners are in the field, led by multiple winners Phil Mickelson (5), Ernie Els (4), Padraig Harrington 93), Vijay Singh (3), Jordan Spieth (2) and Bubba Watson (2).
Young Stars Excelling
- With Jordan Spieth’s victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, 10 of the 13 PGA TOUR wins have come from players under the age of 30 during the 2016-17 season including seven straight dating back to Mackenzie Hughes’ win at the RSM Classic.
Additional Player Notes
- World No. 1 Jason Day has found little success in three previous starts at the Genesis Open, missing the cut in his first two starts (2010, 2011) and finishing T62 in 2012. Seven of his eight rounds at Riviera Country Club have been over par, with a second-round even-par 71 the exception.
- In 15 prior starts at the Genesis Open, Phil Mickelson has two victories (2008, 2009) and two runner-up finishes (2007, 2012). This week marks his first start at Riviera since 2013 (T21).
- Adam Scott, who recorded an unofficial victory when the 2005 Genesis Open (his inaugural start) was reduced to 36 holes due to weather, owns six top-20 finishes in eight starts at the event (Won-2005, 2-2006, T69-2007, T14-2008, MC-2010, T17-2012, T10-2013, T2-2016).
- Dustin Johnson has finished inside the top-4 in five of his last seven starts at Riviera Country Club. In all, he owns six top-10 finishes in nine overall starts (4-2016, T2-2015, 2-2014, MC-2013, T4-2012, MC-2011, T3-2010, T10-2009, T59-2008).
- Two weeks removed from his victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, nine-time PGA TOUR winner Sergio Garcia returns for his 11th career start at the Genesis Open. In all, he owns seven top-25 finishes in 10 starts at Riviera, led by T4s in 2012 and 2015.
- In 16 appearances at the Genesis Open, K.J. Choi has never missed a cut, with top-10 finishes in 2016 (T5), 2011 (T7), 2009 (T3), 2008 (T7) and 2003 (T5). He is one of 12 players with at least 16 tournament appearances at the Genesis Open without missing a cut, led by E. Harrison (26 starts).
- Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, a member of the European Ryder Cup team and finished fourth at the Olympics in Rio in 2016, returns to Riviera Country Club where he was medalist at the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship while playing for the University of Illinois. He is hoping to become the 11th player to notch their first PGA TOUR title at the Genesis Open: Victor Ghezzi (1935), Johnny Bulla (1941), Fred Wampler (1954), Phil Rodgers (1962), TC Chen (1987), Chip Beck (1988), Kirk Triplett (2000), Len Mattiace (2002), John Merrick (2013) and James Hahn (2015).
Kevin Hall Earns Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption
- Deaf golfer Kevin Hall, the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption into the Genesis Open, will make his first TOUR start since the 2006 Memorial Tournament. He has missed the cut in all five career TOUR starts. The exemption has been awarded since 2009 and is focused on “representing the advancement of diversity in the game of golf.”
- Past recipients include Harold Varner III (2014), Carlos Sainz (2015) and J.J. Spaun (2016).
- The 34-year-old Hall lost his hearing before his third birthday because of H-Flu meningitis. While enrolled at the St. Rita School for the Deaf in Cincinnati, Hall picked up the game of golf at the age of nine
- The former top-ranked junior player became the first-ever African American to play on a golf scholarship at Ohio State and is currently playing professionally on the SwingThought Pro Golf Tour and Advocates Pro Golf Tour.
- Having first met tournament host Tiger Woods at a clinic in 1999, Hall was also selected by the Tiger Woods Foundation to receive an exemption into the 1999 Junior World Golf Championships.
Collegiate Showcase To Kick Off Genesis Open Tournament Week
- The 2017 Genesis Open kicks off Monday, Feb. 13 (with gates opening at 8:00 a.m.) with the Collegiate Showcase, featuring six college golf programs: Kentucky, Colorado, UCLA, Texas, Washington and Pepperdine
- Teams for the Collegiate Showcase are made up of one PGA TOUR pro, one collegiate athlete and two amateurs representing their alma mater. The six teams will play in two different competitions Monday. Best ball play will pit the teams against each other with the PGA TOUR pro and two amateurs contributing to the best ball scores. Teams play for the chance to win a $50,000 donation to the school’s golf program.
- The professional field is headlined by Jordan Spieth, who helped the University of Texas Longhorns win the 2012 NCAA Team Championship at Riviera. Among others representing their alma mater are J.B. Holmes (University of Kentucky) and Kevin Chappell (UCLA).
- The collegiate athletes will compete against one another in an individual stroke-play competition with the low score earning an invitation to play in the 2017 Genesis Open.
- The Collegiate Showcase is in its third year at the tournament, with Illinois’ Charlie Danielson (2016) and Wake Forest’s Will Zalatoris (2015) having won past exemptions into the tournament.