FILE PHOTO: Tiger Woods tees off the 9th hole during the final round of the Zozo Championship, a PGA Tour event, at Narashino Country Club in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan October 27, 2019, in this photo released by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS
Tiger Woods is looking ahead to 2020 by committing to play in The Genesis Invitational, the Feb. 13-16 event in which he’ll serve as tournament host.
The tournament, which will be played at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., near Los Angeles, is the first he has announced on his 2020 schedule. Previously known as the Genesis Open, its status has been elevated by cutting the field from 144 to 120 players with a hike in prize money from $7.4 million to $9.3 million.
The winner of the event will receive a three-year PGA Tour exemption instead of the usual two.
With the tourney’s status falling in line with events attached to two of the game’s legendary players — the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament, Woods is pleased with the distinction.
“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 that type of elevation, all the things we want to have happen for the tournament are going to happen.”
Woods, a Southern California native, did not play in the PGA Tour’s Los Angeles-area event from 2007-2017, and he has never won at Riviera in 13 attempts. He tied for 15th last season, when J.B. Holmes erased a 4-shot deficit going into the final round to earn his fifth career PGA Tour victory.
Woods, 43, tied Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record of 82 career titles by winning the inaugural ZOZO Championship in Japan late last month. It’s not known if The Genesis Invitational will be Woods’ first chance to break the record. He often opens his PGA Tour golfing calendar at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.