Why is this week’s annual PGA Tour stop now called the Genesis Invitational? As it turns out, the switch from the Genesis Open this year comes with more than just a name change.
More money: The purse increases nearly $2 million, now totaling $9.3 million. This year’s winner will take home a cool $1.674 million.
Fewer players: For years, the February event near Los Angeles has been plagued by long, trudging rounds and darkness suspensions. Perhaps things will change this year as the 144-player field shrinks to just 120 competitors. While the field is smaller, it is still filled with stars; nine of the top 10 players in the world, including tournament host and eighth-ranked Tiger Woods, are set to compete.
Hello, Jack and Arnie: Woods and his TGR Foundation are now in their fourth year as hosts, but this year is the first time that the event will receive elevated status. This puts the Genesis, now in its 94th year (58th at Riviera Country Club), in equal standing with Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which were raised to elevated-status events in 2016 and ’17, respectively.
What does elevated status mean? Well, in addition to the heightened purse, an elevated-status tournament offers a three-year Tour exemption to the winner. Regular Tour events award two-year exemptions.
What the commish says: “In recognition of Tiger’s place alongside Jack and Arnold as a modern-day golf icon who hosts a home-based PGA Tour tournament, plus the common thread of doing exceptional philanthropic work through his TGR Foundation, elevating the Genesis Open is an important and deserved step toward further cementing Tiger’s legacy in our sport. … Tiger is fully committed to continuing the growth of all aspects of the tournament, a vision shared by Genesis as the title sponsor. We look forward to working with Tiger, TGR Foundation and the team at Genesis to fulfill our common goal.” – Jay Monahan in February 2019, when the news was first announced.