Starting next year, the Genesis Open will see an upgrade in its status. That means more money, fewer players and higher status for the Tiger Woods tournament, as indicated by PGA Tour officials and tournament organizers at a press conference on Wednesday. This new status will elevate the Riviera Country Club event to the rank of Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial (Jack Nicklaus event), each hosting 120 players.
After Woods' friendly on Wednesday, he answered media questions before being joined by TGR Vice President Mike Antolini, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Brand Genesis Manfred Fitzgerald. Commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan.
Here are some details presented on Wednesday:
-120 players (instead of 144)
Increase in the stock market (from $ 7.4 million to $ 9.3 million)
-Exemption of three years for winners (instead of two)
"This will give us a week and an opportunity each year to reflect on this man's amazing achievements on the golf course and his amazing philanthropic contributions," said Monahan. Woods and the TGR Foundation stepped in in 2017 to host and operate the Genesis Open. This relationship will now continue for the foreseeable future.
"We are honored to be included in this category and to have the opportunity with Genesis to be able to do something like this and do it here, where I grew up, and do it here where my career started, "added Woods. "We are so excited to be able to present what we have been doing as a foundation for over 20 years and this elevation status will certainly help."
Woods cited Monday's Celebrity Cup as an example of a "new and different" type of event he hopes to create with TGR Live. Nick Jonas, Mark Wahlberg and Reggie Bush were among the participants on Monday. But the connection with two of the biggest players in the sport has clearly excited Woods.
"To go alongside Jack and Arnold, I was lucky to have won both events. For me, it's so special to be able to leave these greens and see these two gentlemen. To be able to have this event in the same breath as the two guys I've watched in all of my career, it's really very special. "
Monahan quickly put the kibosh on any other tournament having a similar rise anytime soon.
"It's very simple," he said. "All you need to do as a host-player is to win 60 times on the PGA tour. And if you can find someone who can do that, we are open to conversation. But what is really serious is the criterion that led us to this position and that's what makes it so special. "
At the end of the press conference, Monahan asked the microphone to reiterate its enthusiasm for the future of the event. "I would invite you to find another athlete on the planet who has done as much for young people as Tiger Woods," he concluded.