Pro-Am Day at the Genesis Open
If you’ve never attended a Pro-Am Day at the Riviera, hear the words of one father who with his 11-year-old son was following golfer Bubba Watson. “We always come on Wednesday,” he said. “You get to see the golfers up closer. On the weekends, my son has trouble seeing past all the spectators.”
At the Pro-Am, a golf professional is teamed up with three amateurs. Another spectator was asked if the amateurs were a distraction. “I love watching them,” he said.
Circling the News and the man watched on hole two as an amateur tried to hit his ball, which had landed next to the driving range and behind trees, off the fairway
“They have to be nervous,” the man told CTN. “But then I like watching them because I say, ‘I can do that.’”
Bubba Watson, the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Genesis Open winner, was one of the first through the course with his group. He was all smiles and laughing as he walked up the fairway on the second hole after a sensational drive.
Later he told the press, “I love it, I love being back here. This is a cool place to be. I love the golf course. Obviously winning makes you love it a lot more, but I loved it even when I was missing the cuts, so it’s always fun to come back here.”
Watson was reminded that in the past he said he might quit after 10 career wins, but that didn’t happen (he now has 14 titles), so he was asked about his long-term goals.
“I would love to make the Hall of Fame,” Watson said. But, “Truthfully, the motivation at this point, honestly, is all for myself. I’m not worried about what anybody says, I’m not worried about praise from anybody, I’m not worried about praise from my wife, I’m not worried about praise from my manager, my right-hand man, my caddie. It’s not about praise from anybody, all it is is about me. I just love the game of golf. I could come out of here and never win again, but I’m still going to play the game of golf.”
Tomorrow, Watson is scheduled to tee off with Dustin Johnson and Cameron Champ on hole No. 1 at 7:11 a.m., and rain is likely.
Johnson, who won the 2017 Genesis and holds six top-5 finishes in this tournament, was asked by the press about the Riviera.
“It’s a golf course that I really like. It’s a place that I enjoy playing,” he said. “I always look forward to playing here every year. It’s one of my favorite golf courses that we play on Tour.”
Johnson was asked about the weather and if it would change his strategy on hole No. 10 and if he’d still go for it. The tenth hole, a 315-yard, par 4, is considered one of the most difficult on the course and is where half the players start the tournament the first two days.
(Editor’s note: “Blair’s-Eye View: No. 10 at Riviera CC” in a special for PGATOUR.COM, explained: “The approach shot into the 10th green is without a doubt one of the trickiest approach shots on TOUR. You’re praying you have a comfortable yardage that will allow you to attack the pin. The green sits at a 45-degree angle and canters from right-to-left, funneling ball after ball into the back-left bunker or into the short left collection area.”)
Johnson responded, “I don’t know if you necessarily try to go for it because over the last 10 years, how many guys have actually hit a ball that went on the green off the tee? You could probably count on your hand, if that many. So just try to hit it into a good spot, which is very hard to do, too.”
He was asked what the spot was and said, “Just left of the green, green high. It’s a very small area, but that’s where I’m trying to hit it.”
Johnson had nothing but praise for the 7,332-yard, par-71 course, designed by architect George Thomas, which opened on June 24, 1927.
“This is a golf course with no trouble and it’s right in front of you, it just always seems to play difficult, but I think that’s just because of the small areas where they put the flags and the speed of the greens, it just plays tough.”
Tiger Woods will tee off on hole No. 1 at 12:22 p.m., paired with Justin Thomas and Rory McIllroy.
Although heavy rains are predicted tomorrow, by the weekend, the Riviera should be a beautiful place to watch the golfers who have made the cut.