The Genesis Invitational - Final Round
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The PGA Tour's West Coast swing has come to an end, and the Tour is now headed to Florida after a quick stop in Mexico for this week's Mexico Open. After the seven-week stretch in Hawaii, California and Arizona, it's time to hand out some awards. This list of winners and losers is not comprehensive but rather a look back at the best of the best and the worst of the worst from the first seven events of 2024.

It was not a great West Coast swing for the Tour, which is unusual because this portion of the schedule normally crushes. Between bad weather, long shot winners and a couple of LIV Golf events that played out a bit better than most expected, the PGA Tour had a tough run. 

It's still early, though, and even though it wasn't a great stretch, it was a good month and a half for a few players. We'll look at those and dive deep on what could have gone differently for a few others in this year's edition of west coast swing winners and losers.

PGA Tour West Coast swing winners, losers

Tiger Woods: I know the withdrawal from Riviera is not back related, leg related or anything like that, but Woods has now withdrawn or missed the cut at four of his last six events across two years. It doesn't really matter why it's happening, only that it's happening. And in a year where there was real optimism about how Woods' body was feeling, he had to WD with the flu in his first PGA Tour event since the 2023 Masters. He just does not get enough reps elsewhere for any of this to work. And while he will still enter events and be an interesting draw, he is not playing enough good golf (or enough golf at all) to truly contend for a major or even a regular PGA Tour event at this point in his career. Verdict: Loser

Sam Burns: Wait ... Sam Burns?! You might not have noticed, but Burns racked up his fourth consecutive top 10 at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday. And while a 71 to lose the American Express to an amateur stings, you could argue that, other than Scottie Scheffler, nobody is playing or scoring better than Burns. It was a fairly quiet stretch, too. Before the Genesis, I probably would have put Justin Thomas into this spot, but J.T. missed the cut while Burns notched another top 10. Now he'll head to Florida where he's been a standout on the greens. He's in an intriguing spot going into the next few weeks, perhaps most specifically at the Players Championship where he has decent showings over the last two years. Verdict: Winner 

Patrick Cantlay: The No. 6 player in the world popped up on leaderboards early at the American Express, Farmers Insurance Open, Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Genesis Invitational. He could not close out a victory in any of the four, however. As my colleague Greg DuCharme pointed out on the First Cut Podcast on Sunday after Cantlay's loss at Riviera Country Club, his scoring averages by round this season are somewhat astonishing.

RoundRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4
Scoring Average





PGA Tour Rank1st41st100th148th

There is some noise there in Round 3 and Round 4 because some golfers only have one or two weekend rounds played, but the trend is still not good for Cantlay. 

Is this officially a thing for him yet? Maybe it should be. It's slightly unfair to critique Cantlay for not winning when other top guys like Matt Fitzpatrick didn't even come close. But top 10 players in the world deserve to be evaluated from every angle, and Cantlay kicked away several tournaments in a row by the way he played over the last few days of those tournaments. He also completely disappeared with finishes outside the top 50 after good starts at Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines in a way that, say, Burns did not.

Broadly, I give Cantlay the benefit of the doubt when it comes to closing events. He has entered the final round of tournaments inside the top three a total of 24 times as a professional, and overall he's gained an average of 1.8 strokes on the field. That's a good performance. In the eight times where he's led after three rounds, though, he's gained just 0.6 strokes. Combine that with his recent trend, and it paints the picture of somebody who needs to close out a tournament to keep the chatter from ratcheting up. Verdict: Loser

Nick Dunlap: At the start of the West Coast swing, Dunlap was embroiled in figuring out college accounting. By the end of the West Coast swing, he could afford to hire somebody to do all of that. His win at the AmEx was extraordinary and without question the best moment of the first two months of the season. The image of Dunlap in total disbelief with his hands on his head and his mind in the clouds after becoming the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event in 33 years was a great one. And while he's been terrible since then, it doesn't really matter because of what he accomplished in Palm Springs. A career changer. Verdict: Winner

Rory McIlroy: The No. 2 player in the world had two lackluster performances on the West Coast: a T66 at Pebble Beach and a T24 at the Genesis. He's driving it quite well, at least statistically, but he's struggled a bit with the scoring clubs. His approach play at Pebble was awful (partly because of a bad drop and two-stroke penalty that cost him several strokes on one hole), and at Riviera it was his play around the greens. In both tournaments, he was undone early by a massive number. At Pebble, it was a bogey-triple-bogey finish in Round 1. At Riv, it was a double-triple-birdie-bogey finish. He never got back in the tournament after either of those. 

While his mediocre play on the West Coast across seven rounds is offset by a win in the Middle East on the DP World Tour to start the year, his play is always worth keeping an eye on in February and March because of what's on deck for him -- and everyone else -- at the beginning of April. Verdict: Loser

PGA Tour: The West Coast swing normally rules, but this one lacked. Part of that is because LIV raided the cupboard and many of the stars on which the PGA Tour have leaned are gone. Nowhere was that more apparent than Riviera where four of the last eight champions -- Jon Rahm, Joaquin Niemann, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson -- going into this year's edition were absent. Another is because the superstars that are left did not step up. The shortest winner of a West Coast event this year was Hideki Matsuyama at 60-1. The shortest!


Chris Kirk

The Sentry


Grayson MurraySony Open400-1
Nick DunlapAmerican Express300-1

Matthieu Pavon

Farmers Insurance Open


Wyndham Clark

Pebble Beach Pro Am


Nick Taylor

Phoenix Open


Hideki Matsuyama

Genesis Invitational


These numbers seem impossible in retrospect. And while Tour proponents will tout the depth of the league and praise the fact that anyone can win at any point (which is a good thing!), the reality is that golf -- as is true with all individual sports -- is a star-driven entity, and the stars -- other than Matsuyama and depending on how you feel about Clark -- were nowhere to be found when it came to raising trophies on the West Coast this year. Verdict: Loser

Will Zalatoris and Hideki Matsuyama: It was the 2021 Masters all over again at Riviera on Sunday, but this time it was with two guys who had not been at their best over the last few months. Matsuyama had his worst statistical year in 2023 but bounced back as emphatically as one can with an historic 62 on Sunday to win Riviera. 

Hideki matsuyama SG by year Data Golf

Zalatoris started the Sony Open with a missed cut and plenty of questions. Would the back surgery he had last year affect his swing? Would a change to his swing affect his game? Early on, after poor performances at the Hero World Challenge and Sony, the answer to those questions seemed to be up in the air. Zalatoris earned the benefit of the doubt with his terrific play at majors over the last several years, though, and a fair timeline seemed to be giving him until this year's Masters to sort everything out. He needed about half that as he nearly stole Riviera from Cantlay and Xander Schauffele before Matsuyama stole it from him. Verdict: Winner(s)