New to the Genesis Golf Tournament? Head to Hole 4

The Hole 4 tee box is in the distance. Si Woo Kim (off camera) chipped from behind the crowd to reach the green, and Nick Taylor (pink) chipped from the rough next to the crowd.

If this is your first time at the Genesis, which is played on the historic Riviera Golf Course, it can seem overwhelming. There are crowds, volunteers and 129 professional golfers and their caddies on this par 71, 18 hole golf course, located in Pacific Palisades.

Make your life simple go to Hole 4 and settle in by the green. It is one of the best places to see a variety of pros battle on what Ben Hogan called “the greatest par 3 in America.”

This is a tough hole to drive, chip and putt – it doesn’t have trees or water to navigate, but it could be one of the most devilish on the course.

“I’ve been here two hours,” one spectator said. “There have been five bogeys, and no birdies.” The spectator, a golfer, who had been coming to this tournament for at least 20 years said it’s his favorite hole, because “anything can happen.”

From the green, one can see the tee box and watch the golfers drive on this 236-yard, par 3 hole. Occasionally, a drive to the left sends spectators scrambling to get out of the way. It happened twice while this editor was watching.

The hole, on the course designed by George Thomas in 1927, was featured in A 2021 Golf Digest Story (“Why Riviera’s Fourth Hole is One of the Most Fascinating Par 3s on Tour”).

The story explains the green contours, working the ball away from the angle of the play.

“The right-to-left cant of the fairway leading into the green indicates balls that land there will funnel onto the green, but that doesn’t always happen in February when L.A. weather causes the Kikuyu grass to be soft and sticky.”

The story points out that “most shots landing short or right of the putting surface stay there, often above the hole. That means the pros must generally fire directly over the bunker at the green, where the putting surface’s steep right-side contour pushes shots down the slope to the left, often off the edge.”

Over the next hour, Keith Mitchell, Chesson Hadley and Greyson Sigg all snagged pars. They were followed by Troy Merritt, Scott Piercy and Matt Wallace, who all settled for a bogie.  Si Woo Kim chipped over the crowd to reach the green and putted for a par. Nick Taylor chipped from the edge of the crowd and putted for a par. Matt Fitzpatrick had a par. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy had pars, but Tiger Woods had a boogie. Then came Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth and Collin Morikawa, who had pars.

Golfer Phil Mickelson has said, it’s “A tough par-three, but there are options, different ways to play it. If you miss the green to the right, it’s a tough downhill chip. You don’t want to be short because the bunkers are very deep and it’s hard to get close to the pin.”

Tiger Woods waited to putt on Hole 4

ROUND ONE:

After the first round, Max Homa and Keith Mitchell, both finished 7-under 64s. Woods made three consecutive birdies to shoot 2-under 69. He will tee off at 7:24 a.m. playing with McIlroy (-4) and Thomas (-3).

Tickets must be purchased prior to going to the tournament. Visit: genesisinvitational.com.

The Genesis Invitational is underway at the Riviera Golf Club in Pacific Palisades.

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