In possibly the least surprising news of 2019, Tiger Woods has committed to The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club next February. Woods, who hosts the event in Los Angeles, announced the news this week as he starts to piece together his 2020 schedule.
This is not a surprise given Woods’ role as host, but it is noteworthy because any time Woods commits to any event, that event immediately becomes more important than it was without him in it.
Last year this event was called the Genesis Open, but for 2020 with Woods as host it has received elevated status to the level of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament (hosted by Jack Nicklaus). This is Woods’ version of those two events, hosted by two of the best to ever play the game.
So what does elevated status mean?
It means smaller fields, more prize money and a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour for winning the tournament instead of just two. It’s more exclusive and a bigger deal when you start to look at the most prominent PGA Tour events beyond the four major championships. There are no regular season events in the U.S. that aren’t majors, WGCs or the Players that have bigger purses than the $9.3 million that will be dished out here.
“It’s an honor for us to be in the same category as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer,” Woods said in a statement. “Those are two legends of the game. For us to have this type of elevation, all the things we want to have happen for the tournament are going to happen. On top of that, to be able to host the tournament each and every year at Riviera, where it all started for me, it’s come full circle.”
As for Woods’ 2020 schedule leading up to the Masters, here’s what it could look like.
- Farmers Insurance Open (Torrey Pines): Jan. 23-26
- The Genesis Invitational (Riviera): Feb. 13-16
- WGC-Mexico Championship (Club de Golf Chapultepec): Feb. 20-23
- Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bay Hill): March 5-8
- Players Championship (TPC Sawgrass): March 12-15
- WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (Austin Country Club): March 26-29
- Masters (Augusta National): April 9-12
That’s a fairly heavy slate, but Woods played in all of those last year except for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the dates were roughly the same. So maybe he drops Bay Hill again this year (possible), or maybe he skips the match play (doubtful) or the WGC-Mexico Championship (probably the right one to drop now that he’s in the top 10 again and doesn’t need the world ranking points).
Either way, he’ll be at Riviera in February, where he finished T15 a year ago just two months before maybe the most shocking victory of his entire career on April 14 in Augusta, Georgia.