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For the second consecutive week, the PGA Tour treats golf fans with another elevated event.

Forget the reasons the increased funds and prize-money came about, we get the cream of the crop again. As Rory McIlroy says, “When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football. When I tune into a Formula 1 race, I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car.”

Following Scottie Scheffler’s very professional victory at TPC Scottsdale, the new (again) world number one arrives here alongside the best field ever assembled for the Genesis sponsored event, the previous Northern Trust Open, Nissan Open or even the Los Angeles Open that ran here from 1926 until 1994.

After Torrey Pines a few weeks ago, this event is the first accurate guide we have for the upcoming majors, with previous Masters winners Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo on the roll-call of Riviera winners. Whilst those may be obvious as class elements, look at J.B Holmes Mike Weir and Craig Stadler as winners of both, whilst Riviera runners-up Vijay Singh, Keegan Bradley and Justin Thomas all have at least one of the four big-ones on the mantlepiece.

This is a tough gig. Narrow fairways, long greens, tough up-and-downs and the much-derided poa anna greens give away the style needed to succeed here – be an Augusta contender, or at least a major-class golfer, or don’t bother.

*Prices subject to fluctuation and availability


Max Homa Top-20, Jason day Top-30 and Keegan Bradley Top-40 (inc ties)
Jason Day - Main Bet

Jason Day

As expected, with such a powerful field, selecting from the top 20 or so is a task. There can really be no arguing against any selection, although it could be argued that Scottie should be closer to the favourite given his seventh place here last year. That top-10, following his maiden victory at the Phoenix Open, was a pre-cursor to his second victory – at Bay Hill – and he seems to act on all grass types apart from Paspalum.

However, after considering no winner since 2018 has been lower than 50/1, it might pay to look away from those on the double-figure border.

It was a tough choice between Max Homa and Jason Day for the main bet, and they remain the two best bets on the card.

However, at double the price of the other, the Aussie gets the vote despite trailing his rival 0-6 in victories over the past four seasons.

Given his correlative form, it’s hard to fathom why the 35-year-old has such poor results around here.

Torrey Pines brings in players such as Homa, Mickelson and Holmes, and yet Day struggles to improve past a best of 62nd in five sporadic starts.

However, given notwithstanding his two victories and five top-10s at the Farmers and three top-five finishes at Augusta, recent form suggests he is well over the personal and injury problems that saw him drop from the top-50 into a ranking outside the top-150 as recently as September last year.

Since then, the 2015 PGA Championship winner has reversed the slide, going on a run of eight events that include three top-10 finishes, a further trio of top-20s and a 21st, that latest of which, a fifth place in Arizona, was his best of the year and the highest finish since last year’s Farmers.

Over the last three months, Day has ranked in the top-20 for total driving, scrambling, putting average, putting total, par-3 and par-4 performance, plenty good enough to be making a strong challenge here.

With four career wins on Poa Anna, his most successful ‘grass type’ it’s tough to see a negative in his CV for this week.

Max Homa - Danger Bet

Max Homa

Surely a major contender for one of the top PiP payouts (the ‘award’ for social media interaction and other nonsense), 32-year-old Homa is having the time of his life right now, winning five events in his last 45 starts.

Homa now comes to a track that rewards top-class tee-to-green play and about which he says, ” I know the golf course pretty well. I’ve been fortunate to play a few more times since college and it’s the grass I grew up on. Kikuyu, poa annua, it’s very, very comfortable for me.”

Playing a game he notes as “position over perfection” has served the local-born well with his last three event outings showing payout places of 10/1/5, whilst he also brings strong correlative form from both courses used for the Wells Fargo – Quail Hollow and TPC Potomac – and at Silverado, where he beat former Masters winner Danny Willett, and joined Open champion and Masters third, Stewart Cink, on the honours list.

The few events of the 2023 season see Homa’s rank 12th for total driving, 17th for approaches, 14th tee-to-green, 20th scrambling, 18th in bogey avoidance and 16th in putting average.

Whist the Arizona resident made his 11th successive cut at home last week, he has never been the most productive at the raucous venue, and this, more classic course is far more to his liking.

He’s coming down to his bottom-level price nowadays, but when the face fits, there may still be a margin there.

Keegan Bradley - Outsider Bet
Keegan Bradley - top 20 finish

Keegan Bradley

There was a temptation to get with tee-to-green merchant Corey Conners, especially given his three successive top-10 finishes at Augusta, but there is a reason he has missed three cuts in-a-row here and his ranking of third from bottom (129 entries) on poa anna gives it away.

Instead, trust 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley to make a safe run at his first top 20 here since 2015, a run of four that saw him finish runner-up, 16th, 20th and in fourth place, the first of those a three-man play-off after holing a 20-foot putt on the 72nd hole.

The 36-year-old is yet another former major winner that saw his game desert him for a period, and after just one win in nine years, found himself outside the top 100 before a revival in 2022.

Signs were there a year before when second to Sam Burns at the Valspar, although talk was again of the way he couldn’t close out a chance on the final day. However, fast-forward a few months and he ended last season inside the top-25 of the world after victory at the Zozo (beating another reborn player in Rickie Fowler) had backed up top five finishes at The Players and at the Sanderson Farms. two further top-10 finishes, inclusing at the U.S Open, confirmed that the five-time PGA Tour winner was back to his best.

2023 has been steady, with the highlight of four outings being a fast-closing runner-up to Homa at Torrey Pines where he led the putting stats, and a 20th last week at Scottsdale, having been 11th after round one.

Whilst finishes of 48th,60th and 51st around here over the last four years don’t scream out, Bradley was in third place after round one in 2019, 12th after the same 18 holes of 2021 and 14th at halfway last year.

Expect a lot better and a top-20 at the very least around a course that contributes to his ranking of 38th on these grass types.

Thomas Detry was a name to look out for given he struck the ball beautifully during the last round at Pebble but might need the sighter, whilst Sepp Straka is impossible to read but has a tendency to come from off the pace, as he did when 15th here last year (from 60th at halfway), winning at the Honda and when top-10 at Sawgrass. At around 6/1 he wouldn’t be the worst of punts at a price, but with such a strong top dozen, it’s tough to see him get there after a pair of missed cuts.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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