Five of the best multiple winners of the Genesis Invitational

The Genesis Invitational has a long and storied past – and the roll call of winners reveals a number of high-quality repeat winners.

Originally known as the Los Angeles Open, then the Nissan and Northern Trust Open, the Genesis Invitational is played at Riviera Country Club.

It's a tournament that was established in 1926 on a course designed and constructed in the heyday of golf's expansion across the United States.

As a staple of the PGA Tour the event has welcomed the biggest names in the game.

Incredibly, however, neither Jack Nicklaus nor Tiger Woods have ever lifted the trophy, but plenty of the greats have.

Notably, among their number, are many multiple winners, from MacDonald Smith in the game's early days, to Lloyd Mangrum, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer in the post-World War 2 growth, and Billy Casper, Tom Watson and Lanny Wadkins in the 1970s and 80s.

Here are five of the more recent stars of the sport to have tasted multiple triumphs at Riviera.

Adam Scott

The elegant Australian's first win at Riviera in 2005 was, well, odd.

Organisers had struggled to get even two rounds completed and Monday was looking no better so the two men tied at the top of the leaderboard, Scott and Chad Campbell, had a playoff instead to decide the winner.

Scott got to lift the trophy, but everything else was downgraded - the winner's cheque, the world ranking points he earned, and even the win itself was deemed "unofficial" (and he didn't get invited to the following January's Tournament of Champions).

Little wonder that when he found himself on the brink of a second win last year the subject was raised.

Did 2005 feel like a win? "Not really. You win and you're told it's not a win, that was not so good.

"It was still fun. Fun to take a trophy home and kind of be a champion here.

"But I remember spending the most amount of time ever in a locker room that week."

The trouble was, it was a good story and kept being dragged up whenever he returned.

So it was no surprise when then he converted the second win he said: "It feels good because, although it's fun to poke fun at the 2005 thing, it is 15 years ago, so I've really moved on from it now."

Bubba Watson

Bubba hasn't just won at Riviera twice.

Bubba has won there three times.

He closed with a pair of weekend 64s in 2014 to clinch victory number one, went sub-69 in all fours laps when making it two in 2016, and maintained the trend of winning every other year when completing the hat trick in 2018.

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It's fair to say, though, that he has an oddball record at the tournament.

He's played it 14 times and six times he has missed the cut or withdrawn.

The other eight? He's made the top 20 every single time. Pure Bubba boom or bust.

Ahead of the third win he had endured form and fitness concerns, and his wife Angie had also been ill.

"I was at my lowest in my golf career," he admitted later and the tears flowed as he walked up the fairway of the final hole.

Phil Mickelson

Wins at Riviera often seem to come in spurts.

Watson had his three in five and in 2008-2009 Phil Mickelson became the seventh back-to-back winner of the tournament.

What's more, he wasn't a million miles away from making it three-in-three because he'd lost a playoff to Charles Howell III in 2007.

But he rebounded from that disappointment and in about as good a bounce-back as you can imagine.

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In 2008 a second round 64 gave him a four shot halfway lead and he never relinquished his position.

A year later he opened with a 63, added a 62 on Saturday and held a five shot lead over the field during the final round, but eventually that advantage slipped to one.

Then, in 2012, Mickelson again found himself at the top of the scoring after regulation play, but for a second time he lost out in extra holes, this time bested by Bill Haas.

Mike Weir

Riviera of the 21st century has been dominated by lefties.

Bubba Watson has his three wins, Mickelson his two victories and two playoff defeats, and then there is Canada's Mike Weir.

In one sense he was nothing like Watson and Mickelson, who are both extravagant players, always seeking inspiration and creativity.

Weir, in contrast, was a steady golfer who plotted his path around the course.

In another, he was very like them because all three of them own Green Jackets.

Few, however, would have predicted Weir claiming back-to-back Riviera triumphs in 2003 and 2004 based on his previous visits to the course.

He'd missed the cut in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and didn't even bother entering in 2002.

But a superb final round of 66 in 2003 made up a pre-round seven shot deficit and got him into a playoff in which he defeated Charles Howell III.

Having ground out a 9-under 275 total for the first win, Weir showed his class and adaptability in 2004 by carving opening rounds of 66-64-66 which opened up a five shot lead and he eventually won with a 17-under 267.

Fred Couples

Languid Freddie Couples had exploded onto the PGA Tour with a first victory in 1983 and he followed it up with high grade triumph in THE PLAYERS Championship in 1984.

He would win only once again in the 1980s, however, and would have to wait until the early years of the 1990s to fully blossom.

When he did, Riviera saw him at his best.

The first win came in early 1990, but it was his second victory there, in 1992, that was truly career-defining.

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It was a first triumph of three in a blistering start to the season that also witnessed two second placed finishes, his ascension to the top of the world rankings, and culminated with victory in the 1992 Masters.

He would never claim a third title at Riviera, but long into his career he continued to light up the course and he even held a two shot halfway lead in 2011 at the age of 51.

Final thought - have you noticed a trend? All five of these players are not only experts at Riviera Country Club, they are also winners of the Masters at Augusta National.

Check out Dave Tindall's investigation into this intriguing link.

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