Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Genesis Open

Which stats stand out at Riviera Country Club, the host of this week's PGA event?

On the PGA Tour, pretty much anything is possible. Ted Potter, Jr. reminded us of that by winning last week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am despite a loaded field.

For us PGA DFS players, we march onward toward the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, one of the PGA Tour's tougher courses.

Course and Tournament Info

This week, we'll have 144 golfers in play, so it's a pretty big field. The top 70 plus ties make the cut after two rounds.

As for the course itself, the 7,300-yard par 71 tends to play difficult relative to par.

Year Difficulty Rank Course Par Yds Avg Score Avg O/U Par
2017 23 Riviera CC 71 7,322 71.012 0.012
2016 21 Riviera CC 71 7,322 71.027 0.027
2015 5 Riviera CC 71 7,349 72.592 1.592
2014 24 Riviera CC 71 7,349 71.209 0.209
2013 13 Riviera CC 71 7,349 71.850 0.850
2012 7 Riviera CC 71 7,349 72.622 1.622
2011 10 Riviera CC 71 7,325 71.833 0.833
2010 20 Riviera CC 71 7,325 71.120 0.120
2009 32 Riviera CC 71 7,279 70.602 -0.398
2008 13 Riviera CC 71 7,279 72.110 1.110

The past winners have been -17, -15, -6, -14, and -13, though, so you won't be winning by going even par.

Key Stats

Key Stats for the Genesis Open at Riviera CC
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Putting (on Poa)
Driving Distance
Course History

This course requires solid play pretty much everywhere, based on the historical data.

With narrow fairways and some sticky rough to avoid, driving accuracy matters, but so does distance on the longer holes. Dominating the 503-yard par 5 first is vital, as it's played 0.88 strokes below par among golfers finishing inside the top 10 since 2003, per FantasyGolfMetrics. To account for the combined distance and accuracy, I'm weighting strokes gained: off the tee most heavily of the driving stats.

Approach play to reach the small greens in regulation has also proved vital based on the past data. Steven Bowditch has called Riviera the easiest PGA course to chip on.

Putting splits on poa greens should be factored in, as they tend to play fast.

Finally, everywhere you look, you see golfers discussing that course knowledge matters, as you overcome the difficulty by knowing how and where to place the ball. Consider bumping down first-timers and those who struggle here and bumping up course history studs. Like these guys...

Course History Studs

Dustin Johnson will defend his title this week, but his other recent finishes at Riviera are sparkling, too: since 2009, his finishes read 10th, 3rd, cut, 4th, cut, 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 1st.

Phil Mickelson won in 2008 and 2009 and was 2nd in 2007 and 2012. In his only try since 2014, Mickelson finished 34th a year ago. Bubba Watson's past five finishes at this event include two wins (2016 and 2014), a 13th (2012), a 14th (2015), and a cut (2013).

KJ Choi has 12 straight top-33 finishes at this event. Sangmoon Bae was 8th, 12th, and 8th in his only three tries (2013 through 2015).

Both Martin Laird (11th, 8th) and Adam Scott (2nd, 11th) have consecutive top-11 finishes.

Thomas Pieters won the 2012 NCAA Championship here and finished 2nd at last year's Genesis.