Adam Scott Wins Genesis Invitational
February 20, 2020
Riviera Down Under! 39-year old Australian star, Adam Scott, christened the inaugural 2020 Genesis Invitational tournament by holding off a half dozen golfers in the final round to win the last leg of the West Coast Swing. Scott won his 14th PGA Tour event and the first in four years at the renowned Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.
"It's incredibly satisfying to win a tournament of this stature on a golf course of this stature. It was a wonderful week," said Scott. "It was incredibly enjoyable just being here with the weather like this, the course in perfect condition and a great field. It was not easy and that was most enjoyable to kind of see that my game is holding up to that."
It was Scott's second straight win in consecutive starts as he won the Australian PGA Championship in late December at the Royal Pines Resort Gold Coast, just south of Brisbane. Just as significant, he earned 500 FedEx Cup points for the 11-under par, 2-stroke victory at Riviera to jump from No. 106 in the Standings last week to No. 16 this week. Scott also moved up in the OWGR rankings from 14th to No. 7.
Finishing in a 3-way tie for second place were Sung Kang, Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar. World's No. 1 Rory McIlroy, playing in the final group with Scott and Kuchar, never mounted a charge and shot 73 and finished tied for 5th. His triple-bogey on the par-4 5th Hole and bogey on the noted par-3 6th Hole spelled his doom. Yet, he delighted the packed crowd covering the grassy amphitheatre around the famous 18th with a birdie putt.
Tournament host Tiger Woods finished in 68th place after shooting 76 and 77 for the weekend. He was all smiles while presenting the trophy to Scott during the ceremony on the 18th Green. "From a tournament perspective, it couldn't be any better. We've had perfect weather, people have come out and supported this event," said Woods.
"Our elevation, being a part of the new invitational status. Look at the players that come out and supported this event that have played this week. We couldn't have asked for a more dream scenario. The golf course was fantastic. Everything couldn't have been any better from that side."
As great as the weather was the entire week, the wind kicked up a bit on the weekend, putting a bit more bite into the already, small and quick poa annua greens at Riviera. "It was a pretty difficult day. There wasn't much chat out there between the three of us. We were just trying to concentrate on what we were doing," said McIlroy.
"They set the course up a little tougher today than it has been the last few days, and factoring in that it's a little firmer than it has been. And just with how the weather's been, and a little bit of wind and all of a sudden it becomes a very tricky golf course."
Kuchar described the challenging conditions: "The fifth hole saw Adam and Rory both from the left rough hit really nice shots, chased just over the green and what a terrible place. I'm in the fairway going: "All I want is middle of the green. I'd like a 30-footer here with a 9-iron in my hand." So a lot of today's golf was playing that way, looking for just a 30-footer that you could easily make par with."
Scott made the turn at even-par with an uneven front nine: three birdies, a bogey and double-bogey. A birdie at the 13th followed by a round-saving bogey on the par-4 15th set the stage for his winning birdie at the par-5 17th. "The shot that stood out was deciding to flop the second chip on 15 after I was plugged into the bunker and I kind of knifed it across the green," said Scott.
"I stood there and I wanted to maybe bump it into the fringe, but realistically it was going to be 45 feet past probably. And I thought: "Well, you can maybe win the tournament if you hit a great flop shot here." So I thought I might as well just go for it."
"Yeah, I wanted to birdie 17, absolutely... I didn't hit a particularly good second shot into 17 and the lie was not very good and I had to play out to the left. But it was a great putt. And that putt is almost a winning putt, I feel, at that point."
The win by Scott was his second at Riviera Country Club. However, when he won the event in 2005 when it was known as the Nissan Open, it was later officially nullified. It was determined unofficial because only two rounds could be played due to weather. He beat Chad Campbell on the first hole Monday morning in the rain for the hollowed victory. However, most consider it a legitimate PGA Tour win.
Scott: "This is incredibly satisfying. Certainly we've seen this tournament elevate over the last few years thanks to Genesis and certainly with Tiger coming in."
"It's now an invitational, star field. And it's a big deal and it truly feels like a big deal. Especially we've had incredible weather this week. It's at a great venue and really the crowds come out and enjoy themselves. So it's got a lot going for it here at Riviera, that's for sure. "
On an ending note and likely buoyed by the meteoric success of the Genesis event beginning four years ago, Tiger Woods pensively related about his current playing form and reaction to bad rounds: "Considering the fact that I look at it that this part of my career really didn't exist a few years ago."
"So to be able to do that no matter what I shoot, it's still disappointing. It's still frustrating. I'm still a little ticked. But I also look at it from a perspective, which I didn't do most of my career. That I'm going to, I have a chance to play going down the road. A few years ago that wasn't the case."