2021 Genesis Invitational Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter at Riviera?

2021 Genesis Invitational Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter at Riviera? article feature image
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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryson DeChambeau

The PGA TOUR’s West Coast swing makes its final stop at historic Riviera Country Club to play the 2021 Genesis Invitational. This event is consistently one of the best tournaments of the year at one of the most iconic golf courses in America.

Riviera Country Club is a Par 71 measuring 7,322 yards. The fairways and rough consist of Kikuya grass and the greens are Poa annua.

The Genesis Invitational field will consist of 121 players and is absolutely stacked at the top. Seven of the top 10 and 20 of the top 30 players in the world will be teeing it up at Riviera this week, including Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlory, Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth.

We’ve backtested past tournaments at Riviera Country Club to see which metrics matter most this week.

Past Winners at The Genesis Invitational

  • 2020: Adam Scott (-11)
  • 2019: J.B. Holmes (-14)
  • 2018: Bubba Watson (-12)
  • 2017: Dustin Johnson (-17)
  • 2016: Bubba Watson (-15)
  • 2015: James Hahn (-6)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Riviera Country Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Ball Striking

I rarely use Strokes Gained: Ball Striking in these models, but this week I find it to be especially important. Riviera requires golfers to play well in all facets of their game.

Ball striking includes both off the tee and approach, as one or the other will not be enough this week. Golfers will need to excel with the driver and irons this week if they want to contend.

Total Strokes Gained: Ball striking in past 24 rounds

  1. Dustin Johnson (+48.6) (+550)
  2. Keegan Bradley (+37.6) (+17500)
  3. Jon Rahm (+34.6) (+1200)
  4. Bubba Watson (+33.8) (+5000)
  5. Joaquin Niemann (+33.1) (+5500)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

While off the tee is included in the ball striking stat, I am double dipping here by incorporating SG: Off the Tee. Driving distance is very important as the course is long and there are many fairway bunkers that require length to carry. Driving accuracy is also important as the Kikuya rough can be quite penal.

SG: OTT round in past 24 rounds

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+26.4) (+1700)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+22.8) (+1300) 
  3. Sergio Garcia (+21.5) (+8000)
  4. Jon Rahm (+19.0) (+1200)
  5. Cameron Champ (+18.2) (+25000)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Poa and Fast)

Riviera’s fast and firm greens are notoriously difficult. Putts from 10 feet and in are far from a guarantee and this is an area we will see many golfers struggle this week.

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SG: Putting (Poa and Fast) last 24 rounds

  1. Kevin Na (+20.0) (+9000)
  2. Vaughn Taylor  (+19.8) (+27500)
  3. Daniel Berger (+17.7) (+3000)
  4. Adam Hadwin (+17.0) (+17500)
  5. Patrick Rodgers (+16.9) (+27500)

3-Putt Avoidance

Poa can get really bumpy late in the day, making tough par saves late in the tournament even more difficult. Average 3-putts per round are much higher at Riviera than TOUR average. 

3-Putt avoidance: Gained in past 24 rounds

  1. Brendon Todd (+8.66) (+15000)
  2. Cameron Tringale (+7.78) (+10000)
  3. Peter Malnati (+7.39) (+25000)
  4. Brandt Snedeker (+7.30) (+27500)
  5. Matthew Wolff (+6.85) (+8000)

Strokes Gained: Around the Green

This event will be far from a birdie fest. As previously mentioned, Riviera is a true all-around test. With fairways relatively difficult to hit, playing out of the rough will create a lot of missed greens. Golfers will need to make some tricky up and downs to get away with par at Riviera.

SG: ARG: past 24 rounds

  1. Patrick Cantlay (+14.1) (+1800)
  2. Si Woo Kim (+12.7) (+10000)
  3. Dylan Frittelli (+11.2) (+20000)
  4. Jordan Spieth (+10.7) (+4000)
  5. Justin Thomas (+10.3) (+1400)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

Last week at Pebble Beach, Daniel Berger was first in the model and was the winner. Six of the top 16 on the leaderboard were in the top nine of the model.

These rankings are comprised of SG: BS (28%), SG: OTT (24%), SG: Putting Poa and fast (17%), SG: ARG (17%) and 3 Putt avoidance (14%).

  1. Dustin Johnson (+550)
  2. Jon Rahm (+1200)
  3. Bryson DeChambeau (+1700)
  4. Xander Schauffele (+1600)
  5. Si Woo Kim (+10000)
  6. Carlos Ortiz (+9000)
  7. Tony Finau (+2200)
  8. Bubba Watson (+5000)
  9. Justin Thomas (+1400)
  10. Rory McIlory (+1300)

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