Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Genesis Open

Riviera Country Club hosts many of the world's best golfers this week. Here's what you need to know to prepare for the Genesis Open.

After another rotational event, the PGA Tour returns to a sense of normalcy this week, as golfers will contend with Riviera Country Club for one of the most challenging tests of the young season. Riviera is a 7,233-yard par 71 in the Pacific Palisades, CA and is hosted by Tiger Woods' foundation. The field is routinely among the strongest of the season for non-majors, and this year is no different. Six of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking will tee it up this week, not to mention the host himself.

This is a full field event of 147 golfers, subject to change with any Monday qualifiers. The top 70 golfers (and ties) after 36 holes will stick around for the weekend.

Researching past results is key for DFS players every week, so be sure to note that prior to 2017 this event was known as the Northern Trust Open. Genesis Motors took over sponsorship of this event that year and Northern Trust assumed naming rights to the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Make sure to focus on Riviera rather than the event name when diving into course history.

Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.

Course and Tournament Info

Course: Riviera Country Club
Par: 71
Distance: 7,233
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Kikuyu grass
Greens: Poa annua

SeasonParYardageAverage ScoreAvg O/U ParRank

Riviera is always in the top half of scoring relative to par but occasionally pops as one of the most challenging courses on Tour. The course stretches pretty long for a par 71, and chilly temperatures depress ball flight. The winning score will likely end up in the 15-under par range, give or take a couple strokes.

The forecast includes some wet spots, and a soft course means less rollout on drives and slower putting services. Golfers who have played in the prior California events should be gaining some familiarity and comfortability with the climate and otherwise infrequently seen poa annua greens. Last year, each of the golfers who finished in the top five had played in at least two of the prior three events on the PGA schedule. Of the 18 top-five finishers in the last three years, 16 had played in that many lead-in events.

Key Stats

These stats have proven vital to success at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club.

Key Stats for the Genesis Open at Riviera CC
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Par 4s (400-500 yards)
Opportunities Gained
Scrambling Gained

Strokes gained: approach once again rates out as the most important individual element for success, independent of a variant hot or cold putter. Top-10 finishers gain more than twice as many strokes on approach as they do off the tee or around the green, according to statistics provided by Fantasy National Golf Club. Players who miss the cut also tend to lose the most ground with their irons. Riviera yielded the lowest percentage of greens in regulation on the entire Tour last season and has ranked in the top-five lowest GIR in three of the last four years, making that second shot even more important this week.

In light of the significance of the approach, opportunities gained and scrambling gained make sense as correlated stats. If a golfer is a high-caliber iron player, he likely generates a lot of scoring opportunities on either the green or fringe from 15 feet or closer. If he can't knock it close, he darn well better be able to get up and down.

Of the 11 par 4s at Riviera, 6 fall between 450-500 yards and 4 between 400-450. More than half the holes on the course are in this range, so targeting golfers who excel on them is a solid strategy for DFS lineups this week.

Course History Studs

Bubba Watson is the defending champ, his third win in the last five years. Besides the wins, he withdrew in 2017 and was T14 in 2015.

Dustin Johnson finished T16 last year and, other than a missed cut in 2013, has finished T4 or better every other year since 2012. He won the event in 2017.

Jordan Spieth has done well here in the past as well, with finishes of T9, T22, MC, T4, and T12 over the last five years.

Martin Laird pops this week with three straight finishes of T11 or better. The Desert Classic through Genesis is the strongest part of Laird's schedule year in and year out, and a few lackluster finishes in that stretch so far this year bodes well for some regression at Riviera.

Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.