Wednesday, February 28, 2024

2024 Genesis Invitational predictions, picks, odds, field rankings, golf best bets for Tiger Woods’ return

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The third signature event of the 2024 PGA Tour season will have a couple wrinkles to it. The 2024 Genesis Invitational will be the first to feature a 36-hole cut as the field of 70 men will be trimmed to 50 players and those within 10 strokes of the lead at the halfway point. Not only will the field shrink in size, it will (at least initially) include a certain 15-time major champion in Tiger Woods.

Woods is set to tee it up at Riviera Country Club for the second straight season; the Pacific Palisades gem similarly served as his comeback location a year ago. Tiger will play on the PGA Tour this week for the first time since the 2023 Masters, and he will play in a 72-hole competitive setting for the first time since the Hero World Challenge in December.

There is plenty of optimism surrounding Tiger’s latest return as his surgically repaired ankle held up well in the Bahamas, and Woods himself suggested a busier playing schedule could be ahead. This may be the first of perhaps a half dozen times we see Woods this season between the regular tour stops and the four major championships.

The 48-year-old will have to contend with the best the game has to offer as nine of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are in the field this week. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler headlines after just missing out on successfully defending his WM Phoenix Open title for a third straight year.

Scheffler has gone 11 months without a win on the PGA Tour, but he’s been playing far too well for that streak to continue. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy earned a trip to the winner’s circle already this season with a victory in Dubai on the DP World Tour. Although his finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was disappointing, the Northern Irishman should be a factor this weekend at Riviera.

California natives Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Sahith Theegala aim to grab victories in their home state. Homa has struggled these past two weeks but has shown a strong liking for Riviera as showcased by his win three years ago and runner-up finish in 2023.

Ryder Cup participants Viktor Hovland, Ludvig Åberg, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Wyndham Clark round out the star-studded at the final California stop of the PGA Tour season. 

2024 Genesis Invitational schedule

Dates: Feb. 15-18 | Location: The Riviera Country Club — Pacific Palisades, California
Par: 71 | Yardage: 7,322 | Purse: $20,000,000

2024 Genesis Invitational field, odds

  • Scottie Scheffler (13/2): Scheffler admitted before the Phoenix Open that there is frustration every time he does not cross the finish line in first. Holding the lead on Sunday, the world No. 1 ultimately placed tied for third, his seventh podium finish since May. The ball striking cannot be talked about enough, yet despite some glimpses of competence on the greens, the putter was the cause of his shortcomings. He has played well at Riviera in recent years with four straight top-30 finishes including back-to-back top 12s.
  • Rory McIlroy (10-1): It was a weird tournament the last time we saw McIlroy as he shot out the gates at Pebble Beach only to immediately throw it in reverse. He finished T66 in the shortened Pro-Am but should be in line for a nice rebound at Riviera. Only two starts removed from victory, McIlroy first in driving distance and third in strokes gained off the tee over the last six months. He had a chance at this title back in 2020.
  • Viktor Hovland (14-1): Hovland took last week off — after originally being in the field for the Phoenix Open — to work on his swing. It is clear the Norwegian is not pleased with the current state of his game as he has started 2024 with a T22 at The Sentry and T58 at Pebble Beach. The iron play has been sloppy and the short game has regressed. The good news for the world No. 4 is Riviera has been kind to him with finishes of T5, T4 and T20 in three tries.
  • Justin Thomas (16-1)
  • Xander Schauffele (16-1)
  • Patrick Cantlay (18-1)
  • Collin Morikawa (18-1)
  • Max Homa (20-1): It’s been a relatively slow start to 2024 for Homa, who has thrived in the months of January and February in recent years. After a pair of top 15s, he struggled at Pebble Beach and missed the cut at his hometown event in Scottsdale, Arizona. He now returns to the city where he grew up in search of some form. Homa has rattled off four straight top-10 finishes at Riviera, including a win in 2021 and runner-up result last year.
  • Ludvig Åberg (20-1)
  • Sam Burns (22-1)
  • Jordan Spieth (28-1)
  • Tony Finau (30-1): The ball-striking has been awesome for Finau across his last three starts, but the putter has been equally as poor. Contending at the Farmers Insurance Open and making only one putt from 4 feet to 8 feet all week, Finau ultimately finished T6. Torrey Pines has always been a place where Finau has thrived, just like Riviera. Twice a runner up since 2018, Finau will need the putter to start cooperating if he expects to get over the hump.

2024 Genesis Invitational expert picks

Who will win the Genesis Invitational, which longshots will stun the golfing world, and where will Tiger Woods finish? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected leaderboard and best bets, all from the model that’s nailed 10 golf majors and is up more than $9,000 since June 2020.

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