Starts: 17th February 2022
Course: Riviera CC, California
Length: 7,322 yards
2021 Champion: Max Homa
Designer: Neville and Thomas 1926 with Fazio re-design 2008.
Hosted since: 1973.
Course type: Classical, Tree Lined, Undulating.
Fairways: Narrow to average width, Kikuyugrass
Rough: Kikuyugrass, relatively low.
Greens: Poa Annua, 12 on the Stimp, surrounding run off areas.
Water Hazards: None.
Par 5's: 1st, 11th and 17th.
Premium on: Strong approach play.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
This is the strongest field of the year so far with the world's top 10 teeing it up.
It is particularly hard to hit greens in regulation here so we should expect lots of scrambling needed. Players often struggle with short putting on the greens here.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
The current forecast is light winds all week with sunshine every day.
Thursday: Sunny with winds of 7mph.
Friday: Sunny with winds of 10mph.
Saturday: Sunny with winds of 10mph.
Sunday: Partly Cloudy with winds of 9mph.
Has ranged from -11 to -17 over the past six years. The last four editions have been -11 to -14.
Price of Winner
4 of the last 6 winners have started at 50/1 or less. JB Holmes won at 150/1 in 2019 and James Hahn won at 200/1 in 2015 but the fields have got stronger here in recent years meaning one of the world's best usually prevails. Although Max Homa started at triple figure odds last year, he went on to establish himself as a double winner on tour that year.
Torrey Pines which hosts the Farmers Insurance Open also uses Kikuya grass with Poa Annua greens. There is a clear correlation to success at the Masters and success here with past winners at both including Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson.
This is a course where you need plenty of experience to succeed. 5 out of the last six had at least two top 15's prior to winning and the one that didn't - Max Homa - was 5th the year prior to winning. Side with strong course experience.
2020 winner Adam Scott had won his previous start at the Australian PGA but both runners up, Sung Kang and Scott Brown, missed their previous cut at Pebble Beach. Past winners JB Holmes (2019) and Bubba Watson (2015) had both missed the cut at Pebble prior to winning but had shown glimpses before that. We don't need someone in red hot form though.
Since 2010, we have had 10 American winners and 2 Australian winners. The Kikuyagrass rough used is similar to the rough used in Australia and South Africa.
We are looking for a player with high SG: Off the tee and SG: Approach.
SG: Off The Tee
5 of the last 6 winners ranked inside the top 20. 2021 Winner Max Homa was 2nd in this field last year. Strong driving is preferred.
3 of the past 6 winners have been in the top 6 and all 6 were in the top 21. Approach play is key.
SG: Around The Green
Only 2 out of the last six winners has ranked inside the top 10 which is surprising given the amount of missed greens. We would still like players with a tidy short game.
Max Homa ranked 7th in this category last year. JB Holmes was 1st for this category in 2019 but the 2018 and 2020 winners only ranked 27th and 21st. Tee to green is preferred this week as everyone tends to struggle on the greens a little here.
The par 3 4th, par 4's 12th and 15th plays over par.
The 511 yard par 5 1st is the easiest hole on the course. The driveable par 4 10th and the other two par 5's (11th and 17th) are all very scoreable. The back nine needs to be taken advantage of.
The 16th is a relatively simple par 3. The 17th is a 589 yard par 5, and the par 4 18th is a tough finishing hole requiring a good drive and long iron shot.
Fast or Slow Start
Five of the last 6 winners have all been within 3 shots after round 1 one. Four of the last 5 winners have been leading heading into the final round. You want to be up with the pace here.
2021 Course Notes
Each of the last six course winners have posted a top five in the event before. Side with Course experience.
Five of the top 7 had posted a top 20 in their last start.
All six of the last six winners have ranked 27th or better for SG: Off The Tee in their last two starts. With fast greens, strong driving was crucial this year (Homa ranked 2nd SG: Off The Tee).
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