Pro Golf Weekly

Ranking The Field: 2018 Genesis Open

The PGA Tour stays in California this week, making the still relatively-lengthy trek from Pebble Beach to L.A. for the Genesis Open.

Held at Riviera Country Club, the field boasts an impressive mix of both PGA and European Tour stars.

1. DUSTIN JOHNSON

The defending champion of the Genesis Open has finished in the top four of each of the previous five editions. In addition to tremendous course history, DJ has also held at least a share of the 54-hole lead in all three tournaments he has entered in the new season.

There could be questions about his mental state as he squandered the lead in two of those, including last weekend, when he was decidedly outplayed by the world’s 245th ranked player, but he is the best bet to contend of anyone in the field.

Odds: 5-1
World Rank: 1st
Field Rank: 1st
2017 (Genesis Open) Finish: 1st
Last Seven Starts: 2, 9, 1, 14, 2, 1, 17


2. PHIL MICKELSON

Phil’s runner-up finish at Pebble Beach was his second top-five in as many weeks, as he posted a T5 the week prior in Phoenix. Phil is clearly feeling it, and this is another tournament that he has positive history at, winning in 2008 and 2009 and finishing runner up in 2007 and 2012.

If his putting keeps form, as it usually does, there is a great chance he snags his third stellar result in a row, maybe even a win.

Odds: 25-1
World Rank: 35th
Field Rank: 18th
2017 Finish: 65th
Last Seven Starts: 2, 5, 45, MC, 15, 3, 20


3. TOMMY FLEETWOOD

The reigning Race to Dubai Champion is making his 2018 U.S. debut this week at Riviera. Fleetwood lost some momentum as 2017 went on, but still kept it together well enough to win the European Tour’s yearlong Race to Dubai title.

In three tournaments in Europe this year, Fleetwood has a win against a strong field at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and two T6s. He came very close in some big PGA events last year, and everything seems set up for him to break through in the U.S. soon. This could be the week.

Odds: 28-1
World Rank: 13th
Field Rank: 5th
2017 Finish: DNP
Last Seven Starts: 6, 1, 3, 6, 21, 10, 23


4. RORY MCILROY

Rory was a dud in his 2018 U.S. debut last week, shockingly missing the cut at Pebble Beach. He is healthy, however, and has been killing it in Europe recently. With his talent, we are willing to take the chance on last week being an anomaly.

Perhaps he had more rust to shake off. Three of his four career rounds at Riviera have been phenomenal, starting 67-69-67 in 2016 before the course bit back with a Sunday 75.

Odds: 11-1
World Rank: 10th
Field Rank: 4th
2017 Finish: DNP
Last Seven Starts: MC, 2, 3, 63, 2, 58, MC


5. CHEZ REAVIE

Reavie was looking very close to winning on Tour for the first time since 2008 with an impressive string of top 25s covering about a dozen events going back to last season. He then looked even closer the past two weeks, finishing runner-up at both the Phoenix Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

His putting has been hit-or-miss, but tee-to-green he is playing as well as anyone on Tour right now. He missed the Genesis Open cut last year, but was solo-7th in 2016, and is playing the best golf of his career lately.

Odds: 33-1
World Rank: 43rd
Field Rank: 20th
2017 Finish: MC
Last Seven Starts: 2, 2, 36, 18, 14, 24, 15


6. JUSTIN THOMAS

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year has been somewhat underwhelming since his October victory in South Korea. Had one of the strangest rounds in PGA Tour history two weeks ago in Phoenix when he started his third round with six straight birdies, but somehow finished at even-par, his worst round of the week.

The early birdie explosion was very encouraging, however, and Thomas bounced back with a bogey-free 5-under 66 in round 4.

Odds: 16-1
World Rank: 4th
Field Rank: 3rd
2017 Finish: 39th
Last Seven Starts: 17, 14, 22, 11, 1, 17, 2


7. JORDAN SPIETH

His putting was less abysmal at Pebble Beach than it has been in his other more recent starts, improvement that he credits Steve Stricker and his caddy for, but we have a hard time being too confident in his chances until those putting yips are gone for good.

The rest of his game has been clicking though, and he has proven repeatedly that his A game is well-rounded enough to win anywhere.

Odds: 12-1
World Rank: 3rd
Field Rank: 2nd
2017 Finish: 22nd
Last Seven Starts: 20, MC, 18, 9, 3, 8, 7


8. PAUL CASEY

If you’re looking for a guy likely to finish high on the leaderboard without ever really contending, Paul Casey is your guy. He has been an absolute GIR machine over the past eight months, which has led to an impressive collection of high finishes, but his putting consistently stops him from nabbing that surprisingly elusive first PGA Tour win since 2010.

Casey has posted matching T39s in the last two editions of this tournament, but was runner-up in 2015, when he and Dustin Johnson lost to James Hahn in a three-man playoff.

Odds: 28-1
World Rank: 17th
Field Rank: 9th
2017 Finish: 22nd
Last Seven Starts: 8, 9, 11, 19, 7, 5, 33


9. TIGER WOODS

Why not? His short game was on point three weeks ago at Torrey Pines, his first Tour appearance in a year, and he finished T23 despite looking ghastly with his driver.

He has never won this tournament, surprisingly, but if he is only somewhat of a liability off the tees at Riviera, he could be in line for his first top 10 in over two years.

Odds: 40-1
World Rank: 550th
Field Rank: 130th
2017 Finish: DNP
Last Seven Starts: 23, 9, WD, MC, 15


10. BRIAN GAY

With the attention that Mickelson and Reavie have gotten for their high finishes the past two weeks, it has gone under-the-radar that Gay placed in the top-10 of both of those tournaments. Feeling as healthy as he has in years, Gay has three top-8 finishes in his last four events, and has reached double-digits under par in his last three.

If he earns at least $7000 this week, he will have earned more in 10 events this season than he did in 25 last year, and more than he made in both 2016 and 2015. Gay is nowhere near as long as Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, the last two winners of the Genesis Open, but the way he is playing his approaches and the way he is playing on and around the greens, he should be confident that he can contend here.

Odds: 125-1
World Rank: 140th
Field Rank: 72nd
2017 Finish: DNP
Last Seven Starts: 8, 9, 42, 58, 3, 25, MC


Next Five: Haotong Li, Marc Leishman, Pat Perez, Daniel Berger, Tony Finau


Credits: OWGR, Getty Images


Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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