Philip Reid’s lowdown: Genesis Invitational
There are eight players from the world’s top-10 competing including Rory McIlroy
Neither Jack Nicklaus nor Tiger Woods ever managed to win at Riviera. File photograph: Getty Images
Purse: €7.75 million (€1.4m to the winner)
Where: Los Angeles, California
The course: Riviera Country Club - 7,322 yards Par 71 - is a classic course originally designed by George C Thomas Jnr and William P Bell, although Ben Crenshaw and design partner Bill Coore conducted upgrading in the 1990s. Located in the Santa Monica Canyon, and a short distance away from Sunset Boulevard, the iconic course has an association with the PGA Tour dating back to its first staging of the LA Open in 1929 and Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead are among the roll of honour of winners. The fourth hole was reckoned by none other than Hogan to be the “best Par 3 in America.”
The field: A stellar field at the invitational tournament, which is headed by world number one Dustin Johnson. In fact, there are eight players from the world’s top-10 competing including current Major champions: Johnson (Masters), DeChambeau (US Open), Morikawa (US PGA). The depth of the field is reflected in an official world rankings strength of 613 (68 points to the winner). Adam Scott is the defending champion.
Quirky fact: For all of their dominance in different generations, Jack Nicklaus never managed to win at Riviera (his best finish as runner-up in 1978) while Tiger Woods, the tournament host but not playing this year as he recovers from surgery, has also failed to win at the venue (with a best finish of runner-up in 1999).
Quote-Unquote: “The course is, for the setup and just having no real OB or hazards anywhere on the property, really difficult. I think all of us appreciate the challenge” - Xander Schauffele, the world number four, who has gone 5-2-2 in his three outings on tour so far this year.
Irish in the field: Rory McIlroy is in a group with US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Champ (off the first, 7.43pm Irish time); Pádraig Harrington tees off from the 10th alongside Brian Stuard and Russell Henley (8.38pm Irish time).
Betting: Dustin Johnson, a winner in 2017, is the market leader but, even allowing for his love of the course, seems a bit tight at 11/2. Xander Schauffele has struggled to close the deal in his last two tournaments but two runner-up finishes indicate his form and he looks well priced at 14/1, while Joaquin Niemann, who also has two runner-up finishes so far this year, is a tempting each-way at 35/1.
On TV: Live on Sky Sports from 7pm (Featured groups from 2.45pm).