Hogan's Alley and kikuyu grass! Get read to hear plenty of mentions of both as the PGA Tour heads to (historic) Riviera Country Club for the Genesis Open (formerly the Northern Trust Open).
The 90-year-old Pacific Palisades par-71 gem remains one of the toughest tests on the PGA Tour, routinely ranking as the most difficult par 71 the pros play. Riviera's small greens are difficult to find, and the venue always presents with some of the lowest field GIR numbers.
Thus, proximity, particularly on long approach shots is key. And as you might guess based on that fact, finding the fairway is of premium importance so players can have maximum control over their approach shots (and avoid the sticky kikuyu rough). Alternatively, the ball tends to sit up in the kikuya grass fairways, allowing for premium contact and shot control.
Putting is exceedingly difficult at Riviera, particularly from close range, which levels out the field in that regard. You win at Riviera with your driver and iron play. An average putting performance is more than enough to carry the day on the tricky bentgrass/poa annua-blend greens.
Creme de la Creme
Dustin Johnson: $11,400
With your highest-priced player, you're trying to pick the winner. So paying up for Jordan Spieth at $12,600 doesn't make sense given the probability of back-to-back wins. Dustin Johnson has recorded top-10 finishes in four of his last five PGA Tour starts and top-five finishes in four of his last five Genesis Opens. DJ is the Tour leader in strokes gained: off-the-tee (1.562), so he'll consistently put himself in position to handle the Riv.