Xander, Morikawa, Sungjae Im Among 2023 Genesis Invitational Locks

The PGA Tour's "West-Coast swing" concludes with the 2023 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades, Calif.

This is the second straight "elevated event" that became more prestigious when tournament host Tiger Woods announced he'd be in the field at this week's Genesis.

Along with Tiger, 19 of the Official World Golf Rankings top-20 players will tee it up at Riviera Thursday. Absent from the field is defending champion Joaquin Niemann who defected to the LIV Tour.

The 2023 Waste Management (WM) Phoenix Open, and World No. 1 golfer, Scottie Scheffler is in the field and finished T7 at last year's Genesis.

The 2023 WM Phoenix Open wasn't my best effort of the season. I did cash bets on Justin Thomas to finish Top-5 and Top-10 as well as Top-10 and Top-20 bets on Sungjae Im.

My 2022-23 PGA Tour betting balance fell slightly by -0.6 units (u), down to +28.73 units this season. The recap of my 2023 WM Phoenix Open bet slip is at the bottom of this post.

Before we diving into the Genesis Invitational card, we'll go over tourney details, do a brief course breakdown and I'll give me key performance indicators (KPIs).

Genesis Invitational Intel and KPIs

Riviera is a par 71 that plays at 7,322 yards. There are four Par 3s, three Par 5s, and 11 Par 4s and Poa grass greens. The average winning score of the last five Geneses is 14-under and the average cut-line is 1- to 2-over.

Comp Courses

KPIs pulled (over the last 50 rounds aside from putting)

Genesis Invitational 'horses for the course'

Xander Schauffele

Xander is 1st in my Genesis Invitational power rankings: 3rd in KPI model, 6th in total SG over the last 24 rounds, 4th in both Riviera history and comp course history, and 5th in SG: Putting on Poa greens. 

He is 3rd in GIRs Gained, 5th in Bogey Avoidance, and 4th in SG: APP. There are slightly more bogeys than birdies at Riviera and the GIR% is much lower than the PGA Tour average.

Xander has finished 18th or better in 12 of his 14 events dating back to last season. This includes two wins and eight top-10s with a T15 or better in the three majors since May 2022.

In five Geneses, Schauffele’s worst finish is T23 in 2020 and his best is T9 in 2018. He placed T14 last season at the Genesis and all four rounds were under par.

My hesitation with Xander is he has never won a major or been in contention at the Genesis on a Sunday. However, as far as locks go, a Schauffele Top-20 bet feels lock-ish.

I’m going to be a little greedy and take Xander Schauffele to Win and Top-10 (something he has only done once at the Genesis Invitational).

These are the best odds I found and bet for Xander Schauffele:

Collin Morikawa

I’m abandoning my model slightly because Morikawa is 11th in my Genesis power rankings but he has roughly the 8th-best odds to win this event. Morikawa is ranked 11th because he’s a terrible putter.

But, whenever Collin is picking up strokes on the greens, he’s a threat to win. He placed 2nd at last year’s Genesis partially because Morikawa gained nearly 7 strokes putting. Morikawa also picked up strokes last year at Riviera in the five most important golf metrics.

While Riviera is a 2nd-shot course, you need to be on the fairway to make hitting the GIR a possibility. Morikawa is 3rd in this field for driving accuracy, 8th in SG: APP, 6th in PROX: 150-175, 10th in PROX: 175-200, and 8th in GIRs Gained. 

Since Riviera is one of the difficult courses on Tour, I’m looking for players that excel at tough events. Morikawa is +1.73 SG per round on the field at courses with difficult scoring conditions. Collin was 5th in both the 2022 U.S. Open and Masters.

He missed the cut at last week’s WM Phoenix Open but he generally bounces back from poor showings. Morikawa collapsed on the final day of the Sentry Tournament of Champions last month. Collin responded with a 3rd-place finish at the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open.

After missing back-to-back cuts at the 2022 Genesis Scottish Open and the Open Championship, Morikawa finished 5th in the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship. That 5th-place finish at the 2022 U.S. Open was after missing the cut at the Memorial Tournament. 

As stated above, the Farmers is played at Torrey Pines South, the Masters is at Augusta National, and the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club, all are comp courses to Riviera.

These are the best odds I found and bet for Collin Morikawa:

Sungjae Im

What do you want me to say? Sungjae is one of "my guys". He keeps winning me money and keeps being underrated by the market. I cashed bets for Im at the 2023 WM Phoenix Open and Farmers Insurance Open.

The bottom line is Sungjae has the roughly 11th-best odds to win the Genesis according to oddsmakers wheras I have Im 6th in my power rankings. Sungjae is 4th in my KPI model, 3rd in total SG over the last 24 rounds and at comp courses used.

Im won the 2021 Shriners and finished 7th in October. He placed 2nd at the 2021 Masters and 8th last year. Sungjae was 6th at last season's Farmers and 4th this year. Im finished 6th at last week's WM Phoenix Open and it felt like a letdown.

He is good throughout the bag and doesn't have leaks in his game. Im is picking up strokes in the five most important golf metrics — APP, Tee-to-Green, Off-the-Tee, Putting, and ARG — in his career.

These are the best odds I found and bet for Sungjae Im:

Si Woo Kim

Technically, Si Woo Kim is another one of "my guys" because I hit a 45-1 bet on Kim to win the 2023 Sony Open. Kim is priced below Sahith Theegala and Taylor Montgomery but literally won a month ago and those guys have never won a PGA event.

Si Woo's weakness is putting but he's been hot with the flat-stick lately. Over his last four events, Kim is +3.01 SG on the greens on average. He has picked up strokes putting in three of his four Geneses, which includes a T3 at the 2019 then-Genesis Open.

It's tough to hit the greens at Riviera but Kim can make up for missed greens because he is 4th in this field for SG: ARG. But, Si Woo is 12th in driving accuracy so he should be approaching from the fairway.

Riviera's dangerous bunkers forces golfers to be strategic off the tee. This leads to a bunch of approach shots from 150-200. Kim is 1st in PROX: 175-200, 30th in PROX: 150-175 and 26th in SG: APP.

Si Woo has trailed off since winning the Sony Open last month with a 22nd at the 2023 American Express, 25th at the Farmers and 23rd at the WM Phoenix Open. But, Kim has too much game to be 100-1.

These are the best odds I found and bet for Si Woo Kim:

Tiger Woods

I'll have something on Tiger Woods in every tournament he plays for the rest of his career. I'm taking insurance with a Tiger outright by betting him to "Make The Cut" at +150.

Truth be told, I don't think either will happen. The only reason Tiger is playing is because he hosts the event. But, I'm going to save my Tiger bet slips as souvenirs and I'd be sick to my stomach if he won and I missed out.

These are the best odds I found and bet for Tiger Woods:

Genesis Invitational Head-to-Heads

Tom Kim (-110) > Tyrrell Hatton

Kim is 10th in my Genesis power rankings and almost made my card. He is 15th for SG in this field at comp courses pulled and 13th in total SG over the last 24 rounds.

Whereas Hatton is 45th in my power rankings, 83rd for this field in SG at Riviera, 25th in total SG over the last 24 rounds and 115th in comp courses used.

More importantly, Kim's game fits Riviera better than Hatton's. Kim is 3rd in my KPI model and Hatton is 31st. Hatton is 93rd in this field for driving accuracy and 96th in PROX: 175-200. Kim is 3rd in driving accuracy and 3rd in SG: APP.

Adam Hadwin (+100) > Taylor Montgomery

I'm fading Montgomery in these "elevated events" or majors until he shows me something. Montgomery is one of the best rookies on Tour but he is still a rookie. Riviera is one of the toughest courses on Tour and this is Montgomery's 1st Genesis Invitational.

Hadwin is 13th in my Genesis power rankings, 18th in total SG over the last 24 rounds, and 10th in comp courses. Montgomery is 44th in my power rankings and 24th in total SG over the last 24 rounds.

Montgomery is 83rd in my KPI-model and Hadwin is 25th. Hadwin ranks 31st in this field for driving accuracy, 29th in SG: APP, and 37th in GIRs Gained. Montgomery is 75th in driving accuracy, 124th in SG: APP and 117th in GIRs Gained.

Genesis Invitational Final Bet Slip

2023 Waste Management Phoenix Open Recap (-0.6 units)