Are you heading out to watch the Genesis Open action at Riviera Country Club in person this week? Then we have the ultimate "Don't Miss" list for you.
1.) Tiger returning to Riviera for the first time since 2006
Tiger Woods played his first professional tournament at Riviera as a teenager in 1992, shooting 72-75 to miss the cut. Once he turned pro he fared a little better, twice finishing second there. But he never won and last played there in 2006. In the midst of his latest comeback, Woods, whose charitable foundation is tied to the event, is coming off a promising tie for 23rd at Torrey Pines.
2.) The Genesis Lounge on the 14th hole
The par-3 14th is a key hole on the course and one of the best spots on the property to watch the tournament thanks to the Genesis Lounge, which combines comfort and luxury with great views of the golf (make sure to arrive early to pick your spot). Here, guests can enjoy unobstructed views from tee to green, and just behind the green this year is The Promenade, where fans can enjoy a host of activities, including food trucks and a giant video board, ensuring none of the action is missed.
3.) The iconic risk-reward 10th hole
Riviera's 10th hole is often described as the best short par 4 on the planet, with architect George C. Thomas giving the PGA Tour stars at the Genesis Open a variety of options on the 315-yard gem. Players can lay up short of the cross bunkers with a mid iron, but that leaves a tricky short iron into a green that slopes hard from right to left. Going for the green isn't necessarily easier, with only a small flat area to land and many shots funneling to a collection area left of the green. It's the definition of an exciting risk-reward hole: anything from eagle to double bogey is in play here.
4.) The Genesis Performance Lab
Powered by TrackMan Golf, the Genesis Performance Lab is also located at the 14th hole, where fans will have the opportunity to get their own putting strokes recorded and analyzed. Participants will take a few putts on a practice green in front of a TrackMan launch monitor and then receive a step-by-step breakdown of their data by a PGA Professional. Based on that analysis, the teaching pro will also give each participant a one-on-one coaching session to help them improve their stroke and gain better results.
5.) The fun fan areas around the 1st and 2nd holes
The tee shot off the first hole at Riviera is must-see theater, with the tee box some 70 feet above the fairway as the par-5 opener plays away from the iconic clubhouse. It's one of the most scenic views on the course. Beyond that, there are The Strip and The Boulevard, fun fan engagements between the first and second holes near the short game and practice areas that feature interactive displays from partners including United, Coca-Cola and Vessel, as well as cool giveaways. New for this year is the William Hill Estate Wine Deck perched above the second green, again offering prime viewing, and don't miss the Longshot Coffee Truck on the first fairway, or the free lanyards at the nearby concierge desk.
6.) Riviera's historic clubhouse
Known as "The Grand Hotel of Golf," Riviera's clubhouse officially opened in 1928 and is home to some of the richest history in the game. It also has deep Hollywood roots, from being featured in films such as Follow The Sun, The Caddy and Pat and Mike, to including a membership that is a who's-who of the biggest box office names from the past hundred years. Among the endless photos of stars adorning its walls is an iconic snap of Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby outside the men's locker room. The clubhouse also boasts 30 guest suites, many named after its legendary visitors, which during the Genesis Open play home to everything from a golf simulator to a sushi bar. (This week, the clubhouse is open to clubhouse-ticket holders only.)
7.) The PGA Tour's toughest grass
One of the more unique features at Riviera is its Kikuyu grass, a thick, wiry grass type that originated in South Africa and isn't often seen on American courses. In the fairway, it will often give a perfect lie, but the longer Kikuyu rough is a beast to hit out of because it's so dense. Strategically, good players tend to avoid hitting bump-and-runs off Kikuyu grass thanks to its propensity for stopping the ball. But there are upsides to grass this tough—it tolerates pretty much anything nature throws its way, including drought, over-watering and poor soil, making it easier to maintain.
8.) Public Wi-Fi Courtesy of Genesis
With Genesis offering complimentary WiFi in select places around the course (such as in the clubhouse, at the Genesis Lounge and at The Bluffs), spectators can stay connected and follow all the action on the event's Twitter and Instagram (@GenesisOpen), as well as post all their favorite moments from this year's event to their own feeds with the hashtag #genesisopen.
9.) The great white Eucalyptus trees
Another unique feature of Riviera Country Club's 92-year-old course is its abundance of Eucalyptus trees. The mammoth, white-barked trees are prevalent throughout the property, and in addition to looking and smelling great, they play a strategic role on several holes. For instance, more than one tour player's golf ball has been completely swallowed by the giant trees on the long par-5 11th. They also come into play on the difficult par-4 12th, lining the right side of the fairway, and again on 13, where the club had to plant the trees along the left side of the hole to soak up water after years of flooding issues.
10.) The Genesis Pavilion
Located just inside the main entrance to the tournament, the Genesis Pavilion offers an upscale fan experience and a great introduction to the 2018 lineup of Genesis luxury sedans, including the G80 Sport—an impeccably crafted balance of power and detail.
To learn more about the 2018 Genesis Open and book tickets for the event, go to GenesisOpen.com.