Jon Rahm holds off Max Homa to win Genesis Invitational

As the gallery cheered a golfer struggling to stay a measly shot under par, Jon Rahm improved his status as the current number one player on the PGA Tour by beating the pesky Max Homa by two shots to win the Genesis Invitational at the held back on Sunday.

The focus of the crowds at Riviera Country Club was of course Tiger Woods, who played his first meaningful golf since last year’s British Open before switching to tournament mode to present the championship trophy to Rahm, whose win in 2023 was his third, fifth in his last nine worldwide starts and 10th on the PGA Tour.

Woods shot two over par on the final lap to finish one under, not an unimpressive feat given his rust and a sore right ankle that left him limping a little more each day and a reminder of his horrific car accident two years ago the day after remains this tournament.

“It was certainly a bit harder than I probably wanted to admit,” he said, smiling. “It usually takes me a couple of holes to get back into the ebb and flow. But then again, the reality is that I really won’t be able to play much.

“It’s hard. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but it’s just not like that – sometimes the body says no, even though the mind says yes.”

Woods said he plans to play in all four majors this year, starting with the Masters in April. The US Open takes place in June at the LA Country Club.

Expect Rahm to remain a force as the Majors roll around with 17-under par 267 after Sunday’s win. He won the 2021 US Open in Torrey Pines and jumped to No. 1 in the world rankings after winning the Memorial in 2020. Now he’s back at the top, edging out Scottie Scheffler, who won the World Championship Phoenix Open a week ago but tied for 12th at the Riviera.

“I’ve never had three PGA Tour wins in one season and to do it so early on is incredible on this golf course,” said Rahm. “Talk about the history of Riviera as a golf course, the history of Tiger Woods as a player, those two combined in this tournament, it’s a pretty big deal. As a historian of the game, being able to win a tournament hosted by Tiger and Jack [Nicklaus] Also, it’s pretty incredible.”

Second-place Max Homa falls to his knees after his chipshot narrowly misses the hole at 18.

Second-place finisher Max Homa falls to his knees after his chipshot narrowly missed the 18th hole in the finals.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Rahm’s victory was his 10th since joining the PGA Tour in 2017. He was met a few steps from the green by his wife Kelley, who presented him with their 22-month-old son, Kepa.

“Max was fighting out there and Patrick gave us a scare,” Rahm said between kisses of his family. “Reaching a milestone with double-digit profits is incredible.

“I kept telling myself after (bogeying on) 12 that this is a really damn difficult golf course, even if it was an unforced error. At that point you just have to change focus and stay positive.”

Rahm took home $3.6 million, almost $2 million more than the $1.625 million Homa made by winning the Genesis in 2021. Why? The PGA Tour’s immediate response to the threat posed by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour is to increase the purses of 13 tournaments. The Genesis Invitational is one of them.

“This is a big year for us, a big year for the Tour and the players’ commitment to staying united to – we’re all working to make this Tour and our product the best it can be,” Woods said. “It’s very important that all the top players come and play these upscale or designated events.”

After his brief par put at No. 18 was met with sustained applause from an admiring gallery, Woods was lively. His only misstep was trying to give Justin Thomas a tampon after passing him on Friday’s ninth hole. Woods apologized for the childish, sexist prank, and the issue didn’t come up again on Sunday.

As Woods finished his round, attention turned to Rahm, Homa and a persistent Patrick Cantlay.

After bogeys on places 10 and 12, Rahm was one stroke behind Homa. Birdies on both par 3 holes calmed him down. Homa missed out on 13th place and ended the race with a battle for pars that allowed him to fend off third-place Cantlay, who was under-14 for the tournament.

Homa’s drives were flawed, but he stayed on the hunt with excellent putting. He was 15 for 15 from four to eight feet in the tournament until he missed from seven feet in 8th place. When Rahm slipped in 10th and 12th place, Homa took the lead in one fell swoop.

Rahm recovered quickly and took the lead in two holes. Both golfers hit the left rough at #13, but Rahm placed his second shot on the green and Homas flew into a log and came to a halt 159 yards from the hole.

On the par 14th with 3, Rahm made a 46-foot birdie putt and he picked up another shot with a birdie on the par 16th with 3 after landing his tee shot less than a yard from the pin.

Homa, who grew up in Valencia and will spend Monday at the junior tournament he sponsors in Beaumont, got emotional afterwards.

“I’m very proud,” he said, fighting back tears. “I didn’t have it off the tee today but man I struggled. I really just wanted to push [Rahm]. I don’t know why this is happening now, I’ve been fine for 15 minutes.

“I wanted to push him. He’s a spectacular golfer. I would say apart from Tiger and I don’t even know, he’s the most consistent player I’ve ever seen.” Jon Rahm holds off Max Homa to win Genesis Invitational

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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